Podcasts That Book Fans Can Groove On

Some­what unex­pect­ed­ly, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of audio pod­casts has been a boon for book lovers and writ­ers. Look­ing around the dig­i­tal land­scape, you’ll dis­cov­er a num­ber of pod­casts that enhance the expe­ri­ence of read­ing good old fash­ioned books. Let’s quick­ly have a look at the lay of the land.

The New York Times now notably puts out a pod­cast (iTunesFeedWeb Site) that com­ple­ments its beloved Sun­day Book Review sec­tion. Host­ed by Sam Tanen­haus, the Book Review edi­tor, this pod­cast runs about 20 min­utes, and it gives Sam a chance to have sub­stan­tive chats with authors, edi­tors and crit­ics who fig­ure into
the week­ly print edi­tion. Along some­what sim­i­lar lines, NPR Books (iTunesFeedWeb Site) brings togeth­er the net­work’s many book reviews and author inter­views in a nice audio col­lec­tion. C‑Span’s After Words (iTunesFeedWeb Site) serves up inter­views with impor­tant authors of recent­ly pub­lished hard­back non-fic­tion, and Slate spon­sors an Audio Book Club (iTunes —  FeedWeb Site), although it unfor­tu­nate­ly updates the pod­cast rather irreg­u­lar­ly. Mean­while, over in the UK, The Guardian (iTunesFeedWeb Site) pro­duces a quite robust pod­cast that fea­tures reg­u­lar talks with well-known authors, many of them British. The Times, anoth­er Eng­lish paper, does the same (iTunesFeedWeb Site), but its col­lec­tion is not­i­ca­bly slim­mer, though good.

Quite smart­ly, pub­lish­ers and book­stores have also start­ed churn­ing out pod­casts for the literati, using the dig­i­tal medi­um as a mar­ket­ing tool for their paper goods. Simon & Schus­ter pro­duces Simon Says (iTunesFeedWeb Site), a week­ly pod­cast that fea­tures new books and audio books com­ing out of the New York pub­lish­ing house. Ran­dom House (iTunesWeb Site) sim­i­lar­ly lets lis­ten­ers check out excerpts from new releas­es. And then on the book­store front, Barnes & Noble presents Meet the Writ­ers  (iTunesFeedWeb Site), a pod­cast that fea­tures authors dis­cussing their favorite books, influ­ences, and the rea­sons they write. And sim­i­lar­ly Ama­zon Book Clips (iTunesFeedWeb Site) lets you keep tabs on both best­selling and up-and-com­ing authors. You can find oth­er Ama­zon pod­casts here.

Last­ly, the book lover always has access these days to a grow­ing list of free audio books. We’ve sift­ed through many of them and includ­ed the clas­sics in our Audio Book Pod­cast Col­lec­tion. You can also find a broad­er, more exten­sive col­lec­tion over at Lib­rivox.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.