Kris Wiley new mug

Kris Wiley

Audiobooks are a fun and versatile way to experience a book, and they are growing in popularity.

According to Publishers Weekly (July 17, 2019), audiobook sales increased 24.5% in 2018 compared with 2017. More than 91% of those sales were in digital format.

The most popular genres were general fiction, mysteries/thrillers/suspense and science fiction/fantasy. Nearly 33% of sales were in nonfiction categories with general nonfiction, history/biography/memoir and self-help the most popular.

Here at Roseburg Public Library, we recognize that audiobooks are a growing market, and we offer three options for users to borrow them.

First, the library continues to purchase audiobooks on CD. Our physical collection of audiobooks comprises 3.5% of our total holdings, and it accounts for 5% of all checkouts. We purchase audiobooks for all ages with an eye toward bestsellers and classic children’s books.

Second, the library provides downloadable audiobooks through the cloudLibrary platform. For mobile devices such as Android phones and tablets, as well as iPhones and iPads, download the cloudLibrary app from your app store and log in with your library card number; the default password is your phone number, including area code.

Patrons also may listen to audiobooks on a computer. Up to three items may be checked out at once for three weeks.

Third, OverDrive is available through Oregon Digital Library Consortium’s Library2Go program. Download the OverDrive or Libby app from your app store, and log in with your library card number and password; the default password is your phone number, including area code.

A computer also may be used. Up to six items may be checked out at once with checkout times ranging from seven to 21 days, depending on your preference.

Don’t hesitate to stop by the library for assistance with your devices. We’re here to help!

For veteran listeners or newcomers to audiobooks, I highly recommend the Armand Gamache mystery series set in Three Pines, Quebec, by Louise Penny. Most of the books were narrated by the late, award-winning Ralph Cosham; the recent titles were narrated by Robert Bathurst. Both wonderfully capture the unusual cast of characters and the emotional weight of some of the storylines. I encourage you to start at the beginning with “Still Life.”

I tend to listen to more mysteries than any other genre because I like the pacing that a narrator provides, and I had a delightful ride with the first two books in the Hawthorne series by Anthony Horowitz. The author makes a fictional version of himself the main character, an at-times bumbling foil for investigator Daniel Hawthorne, in a traditional mystery setting.

Narrator Rory Kinnear kept me so engrossed through “The Word Is Murder” that I immediately followed that with “The Sentence Is Death,” and now I have to wait and see if there will be a third book in the series.

No matter your literary taste, there is bound to be an audiobook for you. After all, Publishers Weekly reported that 44,685 audiobooks were produced in 2018, a 5.8% increase from the previous year.

Stop by the library or go online and check one out.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached at 541-492-7051 or kwiley@cityofroseburg.org.

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