By Robin Whitten
Signing audiobooks? You bet! Brilliance Audio draws the crowds with the best of them and has an impressive lineup for the Chicago show floor, including Amy Tan, Elizabeth Berg, Rochelle Krich, T. Jefferson Parker, Joe Konrath, and the unlikely pair of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, who have co-authored Peter and the Starcatchers, a prequel to Peter Pan. The Brilliance audiobook will be read by Jim Dale, the celebrated narrator of the Harry Potter audios (August release). If its the narrators' signatures and voices you're after, Barbara Rosenblat will be signing at the Blackstone Audiobooks booth. Her reading of Stuffed is an Audie Finalist, and Rosenblat is also a contender for the top Female Narrator award for her reading of The Nazi Officer's Wife. Also signing at the Blackstone booth, where his reading of Lincoln Child's upcoming Death March will be featured, is Barrett Whitener.
If samplers are your preference, Time Warner Audio's booth will be headquarters for CD samplers, including one of David Sedaris' Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, a June release. And TW's First Fiction sampler offers picks of spring '04 fiction including Bergdorf Blondes; Good Grief; PS, I Love You; and The Breathtaker.
Want to take a break from the show floor? Get a ticket for Saturday afternoon's "The Heard Word" Audiobook & Author Tea featuring Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Augusten Burroughs, and (just announced) Alex Kotlowitz. All of these authors have a special connection to audio as they each have had a turn behind the microphone recording their own audiobooks. Several lucky booksellers will walk away with door prizes including an Otis MP3 player. The co-sponsoring Audio Publishers Association will also have a packet of merchandizing tips for all attendees. [Tickets are still available at www.bookexpoamerica.com or by calling (203) 840-5614.]
At the Recorded Books booth, you'll see new audios for the Book Sense Audio series including new CD versions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Scarlet Letter, and Frankenstein. The audios in this Book Sense series offer booksellers outstanding classics -- both the titles and the exceptional audio performances are fundamentals for audio selection.
A few more audiobooks you'll want to check out at publishers' booths:
Doctored Evidence and Uniform Justice by Donna Leon, from Audio Partners.
I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe, from Audio Reniassance.
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, from Listen & Live Audio.
The Tarnished Eye by Judith Guest, from Blackstone Audiobooks.
The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs, from HighBridge Audio.
Messenger by Lois Lowry, from Listening Library.
Here's a little crib sheet to help with your BEA audiobook shopping:
Audio Renaissance (Booth #1524/25); Audio Partners (#4640); August House (#2306); Blackstone Audiobooks (#4639); Brilliance Audio (#4444); Full Cast Audio (#4641); HarperAudio (#1501/1601); Hay House (#3667); HighBridge Audio -- at the Penguin booth (#4431); InAudio (#4643); Listening Library (#2231); New World Library (#3937); Oasis Audio (#1546); Penguin/Putnam Audio (#4631); Penton Overseas (#1540/1640); Random House (#2231); Recorded Books (#1726); Simon & Schuster Audio (#RC19); Sounds True (#2473); Topics Entertainment (#4637); Time Warner Audio (#2312/2412).
Robin Whitten is the editor and founder of AudioFile magazine, the source for comprehensive reviews, news, interviews, and comments on audiobooks (www.audiofilemagazine.com).
Comments and suggestions for future "Speaking of Audio" columns may be e-mailed to Robin@audiofilemagazine.com.