Monday, July 28, 2008

Who says YA audiobooks are dead? Maybe YA listeners are waiting for the death of CDs!

Are audiobooks dead media for teens? Au contraire! Random House Audio announces that Breaking Dawn will have an initial audio print run of 35,000 copies - admittedly less than the 3.2 million copy print run, but numbers that put a stake in the heart of nearly all adult titles. I will be interested to see the number of downloads of the much-anticipated August 2nd release that are purchased from Audible, iTunes, eMusic, or Random House. The comparison between Breaking Dawn CD sales and download sales will give a good snapshot of YA listening trends.

Most YAs I know don't own a CD player, and merely use an audiobook on CD as a vehicle to rip the title onto an MP3 player. Adults who look at the usage of audiobooks on CD to make assumptions about the potential for YA use of audiobooks neglect the reality of YA media use. For many YAs, the CD is just as dead as the cassette. Be sure to read the July 28 New York Times story Say So Long to an Old Companion: Cassette Tapes - good coverage of slow death of audiobooks on cassette, featuring Hachette's cassette wake. In the Times article, Recorded Book's
Brian Downing predicts the cassette's last gasp will be in three year's time. Oddly, three years is my prediction of when cell phones will be the primary audiobook player.

So many predictions and marketing decisions about audiobooks are focused through an adult's eye - which, like my own, are often wearing reading glasses! I'd love to see more decisions based on the input of teens & kids - perhaps using the model of ALA's participation of teens in the deliberations of the Best Books for Young Adults committee meetings. Here's a great VOYA article on YALSA's Power of Radically Trusting Teens.

I've got a question that I will be asking my student audiobook listeners: "When you rip an audiobook on CD to your iPod as a single audio file, how do you feel about the side tag announcement?" I'm betting that the disruption of the audiobook by the announcement "This is the end of CD one" is a major annoyance for listeners who live totally in the digital world, and have not developed their audiobook listening habits on cassettes whose format necessitated such tags.

And just for fun... For those of you who have lost your heart to Edward:
I found a date through zombie harmony - one of the best free dating sites for zombies
Created by (Dating for non-zombies)

No comments: