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So, who's the narrator???

I’ve spent much of the last week searching for bloggers who review audiobooks and reading through hundreds of reviews, from about 50 different blogs that were new to me. I’ve found a few good reviewers, quite a few more with potential, and some that just don’t get it, as their “reviews” are shorter than most publisher blurbs and less useful. This leads me to an ongoing pet peeve of mine among blogger/reviewers.

If one is reviewing an audiobook, why wouldn’t they mention the narrator and also evaluate the performance? Sometimes, both elements are missing and the only reason I know it was an audiobook was because it was tagged as such. Sometimes, the narrator is mentioned in the header and no where else. Sometimes, glowing comments are made about the performance, but the narrator’s name is no where to be found.

In the music world, the writer of a song (music or lyrics) usually takes a backseat to the performer. When writing a review of a song, or album, I can’t imagine failing to mention the performer and the performance. Once the audio element is introduced to the written word, the nature of the experience changes. Reading and listening are not the same, even though it is the exact same words. I can’t evaluate listening to a song such as the great Lennon/McCartney penned song “Come Together” without noting whose performance version I was listening to and the quality of the performance. I haven’t done justice to the review by just evaluating the lyrics and sheet music. Was the performance by the Beatles, Aerosmith, Diana Ross, Herbie Mann, Ike & Tina Turner, Kate Bush, Eurythmics, Michael Jackson, Soundgarden, Tom Jones, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Godsmack, or any number of garage and bar bands?

Performance matters in music and in audiobooks. In audiobook reviews, the performer should be clearly identified and the performance should be evaluated relative to the overall reading with ears experience.

I now seem to have a song idea in my head with a working title of “Narrator Blues.” --JEFF


Audiobook Lexicon

This article by Mary Burkey was originally published in AudioFile Magazine in 2007. It offers words to describe how narration sounds. We think it may be useful for reviewers.

Talking the Talk: An Audiobook Lexicon


SOPA/PIPA - Bad legislation

Why would we at the Jukebox care about the SOPA/PIPA bills making their way through Congress? After all, Audiobook Jukebox only posts links from roughly 300 blogs, not the actual reviews. Under these bills, we would become responsible for policing the blogs where the reviews reside for any unauthorized copyrighted material. We would have to actively monitor every site we link to, to ensure it doesn't host infringing content. Any link to an infringing site could put us in jeopardy of being forced offline. We don’t have the resources to do this monitoring.

In our social media and blogging experience, it is difficult to find many blogs that at one time or another haven’t posted copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner. That copyrighted material may include YouTube videos, photos, songs, song lyrics, comics, graphics, sports logos, and so forth. These bills are threats to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TwitPic, Google, and pretty much all blogs as we now know them. The unintended consequences of this poorly drafted legislation are huge. If you oppose these bills, please contact your Senators and Representative to let them know you oppose this legislation. There are a number of petition sites out there that will allow you to do this. Social media is a major force in this country and the world. No wonder some entrenched and very powerful people want to act as censors.  --JEFF



I'm posting this only for clarification. We consider the Jukebox as a business start-up and at some point we will be selling advertising to support the site. So far, we have not asked for any money from anyone and have not received any money from anyone in any context relative to audiobooks in any way related to this site. Susan does receive a minimal payment for her reviews published at Tor.com.

When we feel we have sufficiently piloted all of our desired programs for the Jukebox and have set up the business with all legally required state and federal licenses and registrations, including a FEIN, we will directly solicit advertising from publishers. In our view, we still have a lot to do before we accept advertising. ALL publishers will have the opportunity to advertise. All publishers currently have the opportunity to participate in our Solid Gold Reviewer program.

We have never and will never ask any blogger for a "good" review in any context. They own their copyrights and we only link to their reviews. The guidelines for our reviewer program deals with form only, not the substance of reviews.


What I like to see in audiobook reviews