April 11, 2016

Help audiobook fans find the perfect listen

Listen up, can you hear that? It’s the sound of the exploding popularity of audiobooks. In 2015, 55 million Americans listened to an audiobook -- that’s 41% of all Americans. In 2014, over 25,000 audiobook titles were published. And those numbers keep growing. Audiobooks are on the rise, and there’s no sign of slowing down. Given the growing popularity of audiobooks, libraries are taking steps to make sure their audiobook collection is not only visible and accessible, but also reflecting the trends and wants of audiobook listeners. NoveList can help.

Listening In

Are you in tuned with what the audiobook listeners in your community want? 94% of public libraries report that patron requests are a driving factor in their audiobook selection decisions, so it’s clear that, in general, libraries are listening to their community. 65% of public libraries report that the narrator affects their audiobook selection decisions, and only 9% cite special features like musical accompaniment, full cast, or sound effects. But these things are important to listeners, and impact the decisions they make when checking out an audiobook from the library. Of course, you can’t listen through every audiobook in your collection to check for narration style or other effects. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

You already know that NoveList Plus displays appeal terms for every record, but did you know we have appeal terms for audiobooks too? Terms like Full cast, Audio drama, and Multiple narrators help listeners identify specific aspects of the production, while terms like Distinctly voiced, Emotionally connected, Comedic, and Resonant describe a narrator’s voice or overall performance. If a listener still needs that extra push deciding if they will enjoy the audiobook, NoveList Plus also features audiobook samples for titles -- perfect for listeners who make choices based on narrator style.

And if that isn’t enough, listeners can scroll further down the page to read both professional and reader reviews to see what other listeners thought.

You and your readers know NoveList for our read-alike recommendations -- did you know we have listen-alikes too? The same expertise and care that we’ve always used to recommend print books is now applied to audiobooks. Listen-alikes help guide listeners to audiobook titles that are similar to those they already know and enjoy. Hone in on your audiobook searches -- check out our search strategy on finding audiobooks for every listener and watch a quick video tutorial on searching for audiobooks.

With all these great features, even the pickiest of listeners is sure to find something they’ll enjoy, as well as a list of what they’ll be picking up on their next trip to the library.

Get the (Spoken)Word Out

So, you’re confident you have what listeners want. Now how can you get the word out? Many audiobook lovers in your community may not even be aware they can get audiobooks from their local library.

The NextReads Audiobooks newsletter is a great way to let subscribers know about recent audiobook releases you have in your collection. This monthly newsletter available to LibraryAware subscribers is curated by the audiobook experts at NoveList and details all the hot titles listeners will be clamoring for. Make sure the link to sign up is visible and easy to find on your library’s website so that patrons are encouraged to subscribe -- and be sure to check out our guide for promoting your NextReads newsletters.

Showcase the Audiobooks newsletter on your homepage with a widget made in LibraryAware. It’s crazy easy to take this (or any NextReads or library-created newsletter) and transform it into an attractive, professional-looking widget you can add anywhere you want on your website. Set it to link to the newsletter issue or directly into your catalog so that listeners can place a hold or download the audiobook in a flash!


Feature your audiobook collection for a month with a variety of flyers, reading maps, bookmarks, and shelf signage. These print items are great accompaniments to book displays and even just pinning on the bulletin board. Sounds like a lot of collateral to make, but LibraryAware makes it quick and easy. As summer approaches, you’ll be getting requests from parents looking for audiobooks for long road trips that the whole family will enjoy. Check out and download the ready-to-go flyers shown above featuring audiobook choices for different genres and age groups that are sure to satisfy on long road trips and minimize the “Are we there yet?”

Want to learn more about audiobook trends and issues, and get inspiration for creating an engaging, responsive audiobook collection for your library? Watch the recording of our recent webcast: The Exploding World of Audiobooks and Listeners’ Advisory.

Cassi Hall is the Communications Specialist at NoveList.


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