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Audio is a phenomenally useful delivery method for topics like business and productivity. For time-crunched professionals, adding an audiobook to a commute, workout, or routine task may be the only way to squeeze reading time into full days and evenings. Here in the audio pages of Booklist, we do review popular and engagingly narrated business titles, but we can never review enough to satisfy the avid listeners who use audiobooks to improve their management styles, get the lowdown on savvy investing, maximize their multitasking brain power, or learn from the latest business psychology guru. Here are my top five tips for selecting business and productivity titles to your audio collection.
1. Look to the stars.
Yes, space in the audio section for business titles may be limited, so don’t skip over the business reviews in the print section. Pay special attention to starred reviews, and use our end-of-year Starred Review special issue to catch up on any titles you might have missed during the year. If you would buy it in print and expect a hold list, buy it on audio, too.
2. Look to the other stars.
There are starred reviews, and then there’s superstar power. Stay attuned to the people who show up on the morning shows, whose blogs are the talk of social media, and who have their own podcasts. Authors with a following will often narrate their own audiobooks, which is exactly what your patrons want.
3. Get into the mindset.
Browse magazines, blogs, and other popular media directed at a business and management readership to learn which books, e-courses, and perspectives are being advertised. Use this not just for titles, but for topics. Is “agile” still a buzzword? What keywords and terminology do you see repeated? Look for updates on the classics and regularly check to make sure your audiobook section is in sync with the zeitgeist in this rapidly shifting field.
4. Go digital.
Focus your collection development dollars on the digital over the CD version when it comes to business and productivity titles—and be sure to bring your readers’ advisory efforts online as well. The busy multitasking listeners who seek these titles are tech savvy and will appreciate the efficiency of 24/7 downloads.
5. Trust the content.
Though it pains me to say it, this is one section where a gorgeous narration isn’t as important as the content of the book. Because people are listening for the content more than for the pure joy and artistry of the delivery, it’s OK to take a chance on an audio even if you haven’t seen the audio version reviewed. Is it risky? Perhaps. You may hear from a patron that they didn’t particularly care for the narration, but if you’re buying based on the informational needs of your patrons, it is a risk worth taking.
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