by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Audiobooks are the fastest-growing reading format in the U.S. According to the Audio Publishers Association’s 2019 survey, 50% of Americans age twelve and older have listened to an audiobook, the highest percentage ever. Our e-book supplier, Overdrive, is also seeing substantial growth in downloadable audiobook checkouts nationwide. Checkouts have increased an average of 32% a year since 2012.
The most common location to listen to audiobooks is in the car, but listening at home is almost as popular. More than half of all audiobook listeners say they’re finding time in their lives to add audiobook listening to the time they spend reading print books, making it possible for them to finish more books. The typical audiobook listener is between the ages of 18 and 45 and a fan of podcasts.
Pioneerland Library System offers downloadable audiobooks for checkout through our Overdrive service. There are currently 1,484 downloadable audiobooks in our collection. These can be accessed through the Pioneerland website on a computer or through the Overdrive or Libby app on a phone or tablet. They are free to check out with a Pioneerland library card, and they never incur late fees.
One of our newest downloadable audios is The Chain by Adrian McKinty. This New York Times bestseller is a psychological thriller with a chilling premise: a stranger has kidnapped your child in order to get their own abducted child back. To get yours back alive, you must pay a ransom – and kidnap someone else’s child.
Another new offering in Pioneerland’s downloadable audios is The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz. The Tonight Show featured this book among the finalists in its summer reads contest. A young woman returns to her childhood home in the Mississippi Delta for the first time since her father’s death when she was four years old. She finds the isolated shack she inherited unsettling to visit, and she begins to unravel the mystery of her father’s accident.
We also have audiobooks on CD at the Litchfield Library and all of the libraries in the system. The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo is one of our newest additions. This bestseller was one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club selections. Young dressmaker and dancehall girl Ji Lin accidentally finds a severed finger that’s being sought by an 11-year-old houseboy to bury with his master’s body, leading them onto dangerous crisscrossing paths. Every reviewer commented on the way the author vividly created 1930s colonial Malaysia.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams isn’t a new book; it was published in 1979. The library recently added the audiobook version on CD, read by Stephen Fry. This wacky story of an ordinary British man who is rescued from the destruction of Earth by his undercover alien friend is a classic the family can enjoy together – at least teenagers and older.
Other new audiobooks on CD at the Litchfield Library include 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear, Inspired by Rachel Held Evans, and Plum Rains by Andromeda Romano-Lax. Pick one up, or download one, and maybe you’ll become an audiobook fan, too.