Friday, March 24, 2017

Week 11 Prompt Response

Ebooks and audiobooks are a part of our landscape. What does the change in medium mean for appeal factors? If you can't hold a book and feel the physical weight of it in your hands, how does that affect your knowledge of the genre? How about readers being able to change the font, line spacing, and color of text - how does that affect pacing and tone? How about audiobooks? Track length, narrator choice, is there music?  

Ebooks and audiobooks have definitely changed the landscape of readers' advisory librarianship. I don't think that the change of medium really changes many appeal factors, with the exception of the aesthetic ones like feel, weight, smell, etc. The biggest problem that I have with eBooks in relation to readers' advisory is that there is so much that comes out that isn't reviewed, or isn't marketed widely, so I don't know of its existence. I ran into that issue with my romance annotation for Covalent Bonds. Had I not won a copy of that eBook, I wouldn't have even known it existed. It's not really the fault of the publisher. They're small and are doing all they can, like giving out ARCs. As difficult as it is to know all about your collection and everything in it, it's even harder to know about eBook only releases and where they fit in. Access is another big issue. Sometimes eBooks aren't available for titles that patrons request or we only have 1 license for them and there's a huge waiting list. But seeing how waiting lists for actual books take much longer than eBooks, it's not quite as bad. 

To be honest, I never thought about being able to change the font and spacing being a huge issue, but it makes sense. I don't think the font or color will make that big of a difference -- BUT... when you alter the text so that the page breaks happen in different places, you'll lose the pacing and elements of surprise for sure. There are times when I'm reading and the author is building to a climax or reveal, and I have to turn the page. I always go, " more page," and I can see that draw and excitement getting lost if you're turning pages all willy-nilly. 

Audiobooks aren't hugely popular at my library, but I've listened to a few really good ones in my day. A fan made Lord of the Rings audiobook is out there and it's totally incredible. While not available for libraries, I cite example because audiobook creators need to take note. This fan did all of the narration and used different voices and accents for different characters. He added sound effects (such as swords clanging, horses galloping, etc.) and used music from the films. It's beautifully done and I think if all audiobooks were created with this much care, they'd be much more popular with everyone. Of course, they'd also probably cost twice as much. A good narrator will make or break an audiobook for sure. David Tennant does a fantastic job reading How to Train Your Dragon and the audiobook for Jackaby by William Ritter is really great too. (So sorry these are YA recommendations, but I just got hired as a YA librarian so it's kind of swirling around in my brain right now). 

I will always prefer real books to digital ones, but I read eBooks on occasion for ARCs, or just because I need something super fast and can't wait at the library/for it to ship from Amazon, etc. Audiobooks, however, are showing up in my life a lot more. There's something so satisfying about listening to books in the car while I'm driving or when I'm exercising. I can see the appeal of this format moreso than eBooks. It feels like I'm integrating reading into my life rather than just staring at another screen. 


  1. Laura, congratulations on your new YA position. That is so exciting. I like how you say audiobooks make you feel like you are integrating reading into your life. That is something I took away from the Mediatore article, that people who listen to audiobooks are already avid readers. They just are finding other ways to integrate reading with what they are doing.

  2. Congrats on the new position!! I'm so happy for you! Fantastic prompt response! You hit the nail on the head. Full points!

  3. Congratulations!! I agree with you about narrators. It's really hard to enjoy a story if you do not enjoy the narrator.