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Publishing Update

Now Hear This

Publishing Update Written by Kathy Casper

The Talking Books Directory recently made its debut on the Web, complete with audio files featuring the authors' recorded messages about their books. The audio files are available as True Speech files, or in Windows WAV format.

The Talking Books Directory, established in 1994 by David Knight, is a 24-hour telephone book promotion service based in Sherman Oaks, CA. Callers identify the book or author in which they are interested and hear a 3-5 minute message prerecorded by the author. The author's message may be a description of the book, an excerpt from the book itself, or information about upcoming book tours.

The recently launched Web site offers more than a dozen new or recommended books, plus indexes by author (nearly 80!) and subject category. There is also a link to download the True Speech Player - which took an extra 15 minutes or so at 28.8 baud, but it was worth it. I listened to John Gray, Ph.D. discuss communication between men and women, the topic of his book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. The sound quality was fair and his message was interesting. I also listened to portions of Barbara DeAngelis' message about her book, Real Moments for Lovers, and Jack Canfield's message about the book he coauthored with Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul.

The only feature I found lacking was a method to actually order the books - maybe The Talking Books Directory will link with one of the many on-line bookstores to provide this service. Looks like an excellent sponsorship scenario to me!

While I was in an audio mood, I looked around to see what is available in the way of audio books. Terry Pogue, a radio talk-show host in the Washington, D.C. area, has a terrific resource called simply Terry's Audiobooks. Her index offers links to a wide variety of Web sites, audio booksellers and publishers (both on-line and off-line), and audio book reviews. There is also information about audio book clubs, and rental services.

Green Island Spoken Audio Cooperative Library is another rich resource, offering a topical index and all sorts of spoken word productions, in addition to books. Recordings of lectures, interviews, and studio presentations may be purchased, rented or even borrowed, if you are a member of their subscriber service. This is a very user friendly site, with no distracting (or slow-to-load) graphics, and in the more extensive categories, there are two options for viewing descriptions, a long format with rather detailed information, and a short format with just the essentials.

For comedy and humor, you'll get a kick out of Stuffed Moose Audio. They offer selections by Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. Stuffed Moose is a very entertaining site done by George Plumley and his Vice President, Juniper. Be sure to read the Message from the Vice President, and look at the Moose FAQ, both of which you will find by linking to About Us. (The Fun Stuff link was a trip, too!)

Tangled Web Audio specializes in mystery audio books about Sherlock Holmes, and by spooky authors like Edgar Allan Poe and William Bankier. There are audio clips provided in both AU and AIFF formats, plus a message board for readers. Order forms are available to print out and mail to Tangled Web Audio, and there is a nice selection of links to other sites of interest to mystery readers.

If you want to improve your business skills or seek motivational guidance, you may want to visit Plum Choices Audio Book Catalogue. There you will find audio books by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Napoleon Hill and The PowerTalk Series by Anthony Robbins. Abridged and unabridged versions are identified, and most of the books are read by the authors themselves. Plum Choices also offers a printable order form, or you may order by email.

For children's audio books, try Audio Book World, which also has two stores located in North Carolina, if you're in that area. They stock over 7,500 titles and feature two Top Ten lists on their Web site, one of which is exclusively for children's audio books. There is a toll-free number for ordering, or you may request further information via email.

Audio books are a great time-saver, whether you listen while driving, working or just relaxing. They also make a great gift for folks who have difficulty reading or simply don't have the patience. Many libraries offer audio books on loan, so even budgetary constraints need not be a hindrance to enjoying the latest best sellers.

Who was it that said, "Enjoy a book - words to live by"? Oh, that was me! ;-)

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