Here at Speaking of Audiobooks, we have bragged on Audible in the past, encouraged others to give Audible a try, alerted listeners to Audible specials, and followed Audible’s romance releases day by day – reporting back to fellow listeners, both here and our affiliated Romance Audiobooks Goodreads group, those unexpected releases we know will cause excitement. And we have wondered out loud many times just why Audible doesn’t provide a comprehensive Coming Soon list for all genres and romance in particular.

Well, change is a coming. A few months ago at Audible, I started noticing a few future releases (with preorder ability) tucked in a corner here and there if the book was part of an ongoing series. Good. Then I noticed Audible had increased their Coming Soon section on their Home Page with the ability to sort by genre. Better. And then I realized you could preorder those Coming Soon titles. Even better. Among those fourteen titles on Audible’s romance Coming Soon list as of October 30th, I found publishers who have held tightly to their upcoming release information (meaning no notification of future audios) such as Harlequin (and Carina Press), Simon & Schuster, Blackstone, and AudioGo. There is also one Brilliance title (who has reliably notified us of upcoming releases at Amazon for years). Five of the fourteen titles are two hours and under in length. Another three are under seven hours. So, it can definitely be called a start.

My reaction to this news can best be described as guardedly excited. I see it more as a signal of things to come. A week ago when we first discovered the ability to preorder (and the sortable, enlarged Coming Soon list), there were twenty titles on the list. Still missing were many upcoming audios found at either the publisher’s site or Amazon, such as sure-to-be-successes like Karen Marie Moning’s Iced and Pamela Clare’s Extreme Exposure. At this time I hope (and fervently wish) to see Audible’s list expanded to include all upcoming titles. Of course, that will require those publishers supplying the titles to be on their toes as well.

The Coming Soon list actually has greater meaning to me than the ability to preorder. For those of us who purchase our audiobooks rather than borrow from a library, budgeting is important. How can I plan ahead if I don’t know what will be available? Amazon’s list of upcoming audio releases is admirable but it has historically been made up of only those audios that will be released in hard copy. We have seen little, anywhere, of those titles that will be offered only as a digital downloads.

Unless I’m completely confident in a narrator, I doubt I’ll be preordering as I’m big on listening to a sample sound before purchasing. Of the fourteen narrators on today’s (Tuesday’s) Coming Soon list, I know four and of that four, there are only two who rate a “preorder without hearing sample” status. That leaves ten completely unknown narrators. These may be more experienced narrators hiding behind a pseudonym or, more likely, a truly new narrator. I’ve been burned too many times by unknown narrators to buy blindly, so you’ll always find me waiting for a sound sample. However, I should point out that the lack of a sound samples for preorders looks to be a common practice across the industry.

Still, I’m smiling with enthusiasm at Audible’s latest effort to offer us more. I hope you will join with me in giving Audible a round of applause for their Coming Soon list and preordering ability. Why not drop them a note and tell them so along with a request for even more?

Other News

Last week Tantor released an All About Romance Audio webinar – a panel discussion between four romance audio experts that included author Jennifer Probst, narrator Antony Ferguson, librarian Robin Bradford, and yours truly as a representative of the romance audio community. I was honored to participate and many thanks to Tantor for their interest in what we, as romance listeners, want to hear. I encourage you to listen – just follow the link. Since it is a webinar, you will be asked for your name and email address as well as your company or library. Feel free to list Speaking of Audiobooks as your company or library.

Ending Notes
The first audio in Pamela Clare’s I-Team series, Extreme Exposure, was released on Monday. Narrated by new-to-me narrator Kaleo Griffith, the praise is already coming in from fellow listeners. I’m about two hours in and find myself thoroughly enjoying the writing as well as Griffith’s performance. I think this is one series we will want to watch as it unfolds this fall.

Check out our Speaking of Audiobooks Facebook page to see romance audio updates, industry news, and links to articles of interest.

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, be sure to check out our audio archives for further recommendations and discussions.

Our affiliated Goodreads group – Romance Audiobooks – has been growing by leaps and bounds. In the last eight weeks, we have added over 100 new members. Come join us for discussions in between columns.

Enjoy your listening!

– Lea Hensley