Penguin Random House Audio

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO Wins Audiobook of the Year at the Audies

Penguin Random House Audio won the top prize – Audiobook of the Year – for George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO (Random House Audio) last night at the 23nd annual Audie Awards® in New York. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) annually presents the premier awards program for audiobooks in the United States, recognizing excellence in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, narrated by Saunders, Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, and 163 other voices, was produced by Senior Exectuive Producer Kelly Gildea, who accepted the award on stage along with Amanda D’Acierno, Senior Vice President and Publisher, Dan Zitt,Vice President of Content Production, other Penguin Random House Audio team members, and several narrators.. On Wednesday, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO received the Indies Choice Audiobook of the Award at the Celebration of Bookselling & Author Awards Luncheon at BookExpo. Penguin Random House Audio won more Audie Awards in these categories: Nonfiction: AMERICAN WOLF by Nate Blakeslee, narrated by Mark Bramhall and produced by Linda Korn   (Random House Audio) Fiction: ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman, narrated by Cathleen McCarron (Penguin Audio) Mystery: THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE by David Lagercrantz, narrated by Simon Vance and produced by Aaron Blank   (Random House Audio) Middle Grade: SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS by Jack Cheng, narrated by a full cast and produced by Karen Dziekonski (Listening Library) [caption id="attachment_10899" align="alignright" width="150"] (left to right) Vicki Tomao, Heather Dalton, and Rob Guzman[/caption] Big congrats to the authors, narrators, producers, marketers and the entire award-winning PRH Audio team.In addition, Penguin Random House Audio won an Excellence in Marketing Audie Award for “Transform Your Commute,” the NYC campaign that encouraged listeners to turn a sour commute sweet with audiobooks. Pictured at the Audies are several members of the marketing team who created the initiative (left to right) Vicki Tomao, Heather Dalton, and Rob Guzman. To view the complete list of Audie Awards winners, click here.

All Ears on Penguin Random House Audio’s Amanda D’Acierno and Dan Zitt

Penguin Random House Audio, voted the inaugural winner of the Audiobook Publisher of the Year prize at the 2018 London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, was front and center at last month’s packed “Lunch & Learn” session featuring Amanda D’Acierno, Executive Vice President and Publisher, and Dan Zitt, Vice President of Content Production. Introduced by Penguin Publishing Group President Allison Dobson, Amanda and Dan shared insights into the world of audiobooks – a publishing category on an upward swing; the inner-workings of Penguin Random House Audio; and career highlights.

Amanda is a longtime audiobook advocate, leading innovative efforts to spread the word about audio through regional and national awareness campaigns. Her audio career has spanned the Harry Potter series, audiobooks from three U.S. Presidents, and bestsellers by John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, Rick Riordan, and Paula Hawkins. Dan has spent his entire twenty one-year career in the audiobook industry. The creative catalyst for over 2,000 audio productions, he has collaborated with bestselling authors, notable celebrities, and award-winning narrators as well as former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Sixteen of his recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards, with two of these recordings winning the award for Best Spoken Word Album. He is also the creator of, a casting website launched in 2015. Penguin Random House Audio includes four audiobook imprints: Random House Audio, Penguin Audio, Books on Tape, and Listening Library – the latter being the oldest audio imprint, founded in 1955. They released more than 1,300 audiobooks in 2017 and there are more than 12,500 audiobook catalog titles. Amanda noted that beyond Dan and herself, the Penguin Random House Audio leadership team features colleagues Sue Daulton, Vice President, Operations; Heather Dalton, Vice President, Marketing; Amy Metsch , Vice President, Associate Publisher; and Katie Punia , Vice President, Publicity. Looking at the global audiobook marketplace – from new frontiers to emerging and mature markets –Audible (Amazon) is the biggest digital audiobook distributor, with Google and Apple also having a big presence, along with Storytel (major streaming service in the Nordic countries), as well as Baker & Taylor, Overdrive, B&N’s Nook, and Follett, among other companies. “Physical CD sales continue to be solid, but the audiobook growth story is digital,” Amanda said. “Smart phones have sparked the rise of downloadable audiobooks, as has the popularity of podcasts and development of smart speakers. Nearly a third of Americans now have smart speakers. It has become a ‘family device.’ There are some families who gather around smart speakers to listen to audiobooks like people in the pre-television era used to huddle around console radios to listen to favorite programs.” Who listens to audiobooks? Amanda presented the demographics: 28%: ages 30 to 44; 24%: ages 18 to 29; 19%” ages 45 to 54; 15% ages 55 to 64; 14%: age 65 and older. “So more than half of audiobook listeners are under 45,” she pointed out. Where do people listen to audiobooks? A national survey found: 32% listen while commuting; 34% at home; 17% while walking; 17% while cooking or doing arts & crafts. Delving inside the production of audiobooks, Dan revealed that “last year PRH Audio recorded 24,000 raw hours and 9,700 edited hours, at our 15 recording studios on both coasts. We have 13 audiobook producers and 8 pre/post production producers.” “Before producing, we actually read the books,” Dan said, “and we contact the authors to discuss production ideas, and talk about casting. If an author wants to read their own book, we try to make them aware of the commitment they will be making, both physically and in terms of their schedule. Bottom line, we want the author to be happy and we want to create the best possible listening experience for the consumer. We have a long list of exceptional voice talent, but we work closely with talent agencies to find new and appropriate talent. George Saunders’ LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, with 166 different character voices, was such a unique production and a good example of one that showed how elaborate the casting of a book can be.” Dan stressed, “Ensuring the quality of audiobooks is so important. If a consumer has one bad audiobook listening experience, they won’t come back to the format. Before the audiobook master is finalized, we listen to every word with our quality control team. One wrong voice in one sentence can ruin it all. Regional accents must be authentic. A lot of research is done to make sure we get it right – even to the point of going to the region and getting samples from locals. We sometimes call local libraries to confirm pronunciations of towns, and things like that.” While most audiobooks are direct readings of the print editions, some titles can be quite different. Dan shared an example of how comedian Tracy Morgan, rather simply read his book, took home a narrative outline, came back the next day, and told alternate stories in the studio based on themes and people covered in his book. “He created a unique, emotionally powerful listening experience,” Dan said. For “further listening,” Amanda and Dan recommended accessing PRH Audio audiobooks titles via the Volumes app and checking out “This Is the Author” podcasts, with more than 200 episodes offering behind-the-scenes insights into the audiobook recording process.

Penguin Random House Named Audiobook Publisher of the Year at LBF

Penguin Random House Audio is the inaugural winner of the Audiobook Publisher of the Year prize, which was presented at the 2018 London Book Fair International Excellence Awards the evening of April 10.

Amanda D’Acierno, Executive Vice President & Publisher, Penguin Random House Audio Group, said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be the first publisher to receive this award, which is especially meaningful in a year in which the London Book Fair is bestowing deserved recognition on the fast-growing significance of and popularity internationally for audiobooks and audio publishing.” “Crucial to Penguin Random House Audio’s success is finding the right voices, making accurate recordings and memorable performances,” commented the judges, who also noted the winner’s “professionalism, sheer quality, and scale of their ambition” The International Excellence Awards celebrate outstanding publishing merit in seventeen categories, and are judged by experts in each sector. The other shortlisters for the audiobook publisher of the year award, which was open to publishers outside the UK, were Brazil’s and Kaishu Story Media & Culture Co from China. To view the complete list of 2018 LBF International Excellence Awards winners, click here.

PRH Audio Earns Three More Audie Awards Noms, including for Audio Book of the Year

The Audio Publishers Association has announced  additional  2018 Audie Awards  finalists, including for its Audio Book of the Year honor, recognizing LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders, narrated by George Saunders, Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, and 163 other voices (Random House Audio).  LINCOLN IN THE BARDO is also nominated for Excellence in Production; and Penguin Random House Audio’s “Transform Your Commute” campaign is up for the Excellence in Marketing award.  

Finalists in 26 other Audie Awards categories were previously announced by the APA on February 7 and included 12 Penguin Random House Audio titles.  To read the Igloo article covering our 2018 Audie Awards finalists in those categories, click here. Winners in all categories will be revealed during the Audies Gala on May 31 in New York during BookExpo 2018.                

PRH Audio’s READY PLAYER ONE First-Ever NY Times #1 Audio Fiction Bestseller

The Random House Audio edition of Ernest Cline’s READY PLAYER ONE is making publishing history as the first #1 Audio Fiction Bestseller on the first-ever New York Times Bestseller List devoted separately and solely to Audio titles. The debut rankings appear in the Sunday, March 18 print edition of The New York Times Book Review, now available online, and will henceforth appear monthly, reporting combined physical and digital audio sales for the top 15 fiction and nonfiction audiobooks respectively. 

In all, Penguin Random House Audio placed an industry-leading eight titles on the inaugural lists:

Audio Fiction

  1. READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio)
  2. BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate, narrated by Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber (Random House Audio)
  3. ORIGIN by Dan Brown, narrated by Paul Michael (Random House Audio)
  4. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng, narrated by Jennifer Lim (Penguin Audio)
  5. STILL ME by Jojo Moyes, narrated by Anna Acton (Penguin Audio)

Audio Nonfiction

  1. THE POWER OF HABIT by Charles Duhigg, narrated by Mike Chamberlain (Random House Audio)
  2. ENLIGHTENMENT NOW by Stephen Pinker, narrated by Arthur Morey (Penguin Audio)
  3. WHEN by Daniel Pink, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio)
In their announcement, New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul said, “The vibrant growth of audiobooks in the industry has created a need for an impartial, reliable source for tracking and reporting the top-selling audiobooks across the country.”   Amanda D’Acierno, EVP, Publisher, Penguin Random House Audio, said, “This recognition by the New York Times of the increasing popularity and vitality of audiobooks is enormously welcome by all of us who love to create and to listen to them. We are thrilled by the performance of our titles on their debut lists, which has given us a benchmark to constantly try to improve upon.”
Load more

12 Penguin Random House Audio Titles are 2018 Audie Awards Finalists


The Audio Publishers Association has announced its 2018 Audie Awards finalists, including 12 Penguin Random House Audio titles.  This year’s honorees were revealed via a social media campaign, with each category’s finalists announced by a notable author, narrator, or media outlet. Three PRH Audio authors nominated this year participated in the announcement. George Saunders revealed the Short Stories/Collections category on his Facebook (30.21K followers), John le Carré revealed the Mystery category on his Twitter  (6.4K followers), and Libba Bray revealed the Middle Grade category on her Twitter (55.8K followers).  

Winners in all categories will be revealed during the Audies Gala on May 31 in New York during BookExpo 2018. Our Audie Awards finalists: Fiction ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE by Gail Honeyman, read by Cathleen McCarro (Penguin Audio) Thriller Suspense A LEGACY OF SPIES by John le Carré, narrated by Tom Hollander (Penguin Audio) Mystery THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE by David Lagercrantz, narrated by Simon Vance (Random House Audio) Multi-Voiced Performance LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders, narrated by George Saunders, Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, and 163 others (Random House Audio) Nonfiction AMERICAN WOLF: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee, narrated by Mark Bramhall (Random House Audio) SHATTERED: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, narrated by Kimberly Farr (Random House Audio) Inspirational Faith-Based Nonfiction WAKE UP TO THE JOY OF YOU: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life, written and narrated by Agapi Stassinopoulos (Random House Audio) Science Fiction BATTLEFRONT II: Inferno Squad (Star Wars) by Christie Golden, narrated by Janina Gavankar (Random House Audio) Young Adult BEFORE THE DEVIL BREAKS YOU by Libba Bray, narrated by January LaVoy (Listening Library) YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by Mitali Perkins, narrated by Sneha Mathan, Shivali Bhammer, Priya Ayyar, and others (Listening Library) Middle Grade THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA, written and narrated by Pablo Cartaya (Listening Library) SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS by Jack Cheng, read by Kivlighan de Montebello and Various (Listening Library) View the complete list of 2018 Audie Awards finalists here.

Our Audio Group and Texas Monthly Partner to Record Magazine Features on Audio for the First Time

Acclaimed magazine Texas Monthly  has partnered with Penguin Random House Audio to record more than 20 features from the magazine’s archives on audio for the first time. This collaboration offers listeners thought-provoking stories perfect for the length of a commute, similar to a podcast, but recorded with the high production quality listeners have come to expect from full-length audiobook programs.  

Since 1973, Texas Monthly has chronicled life in Texas on topics ranging from politics, crime, and education to industry and the environment. Texas Monthly editors worked with Penguin Random House Audio to select 21 of the most popular features from the magazine’s history, both classic and recently published, including stories from longtime contributors Mimi Swartz (“The Cheerleader Murder Plot,” National Magazine Award‒winner “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives”), Skip Hollandsworth (“The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob,” National Magazine Award‒winner “Still Life”), and many others. Each audio is narrated by a native Texan and evokes the Lone Star state—though these unforgettable stories, from true crime narratives to larger-than-life profiles, are full of drama and compelling detail that will appeal to every listener. Amanda D’Acierno, Publisher of Penguin Random House Audio, says, “As a native Texan, Texas Monthly is near and dear to my heart. It is the realization of a dream to bring these incredible stories to the audio format. The features are the ideal length for a commute, a workout, or for simply relaxing and absorbing an unforgettable tale from some of our state’s best writers and their subjects.” “This partnership represents a big step forward in our efforts to evolve from a print-centric operation to one that meets readers where they are,” says Tim Taliaferro, editor in chief of Texas Monthly. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Penguin Random House Audio to take the best of Texas Monthly and extend it to a new medium and a wider audience. It’s such a sensible match of two elite storytelling brands, and the best part is that readers and listeners are who stand to gain the most.” Starting in January 2018 and continuing throughout the spring, the stories will be available exclusively as digital audio downloads both individually and as four collections around a common theme: True Crime from Texas Monthly, Social Studies from Texas Monthly, Texas Business and Culture from Texas Monthly, and National Magazine Award‒Winning Features from Texas Monthly.

Penguin Random House Audio Launches “Transform Your Commute” in NYC

Lemon commuteTo celebrate the kickoff of “June is Audiobook Month,” Penguin Random House Audio is launching its “Transform Your Commute” campaign in New York City. To encourage more listeners to turn a sour commute sweet with audiobooks, Penguin Random House Audio is offering a week of free downloads to NYC-area commuters from Monday, June 5 to Friday,

June 9, via special “lemonade stands” (see locations and full schedule below) serving up fresh audio treats every day, from Mindy Kaling’s IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? (And Other Concerns) to Charles Duhigg’s THE POWER OF HABIT: Why We Do What We Do in Power and Business. “Audiobooks are the perfect way to relieve stress after a tough day or to make your commute time more productive,” says Amanda D’Acierno, Senior Vice President and Publisher, Penguin Random House Audio. “Listening to a great book read by a talented narrator can tune out the noise of a crowded train or make a bus ride feel so much faster.” Here is a commuter guide to Penguin Random House Audio’s lemonade stand locations, and what audiobook treats are being served, with a different listen each day, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Transform Your Commute_humor copyJune 5: Union Square, Broadway between 17th & 18th Streets BETTER THAN BEFORE: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin, narrated by the author June 6: Jersey City, J. Owen Grundy Park DEEP STORM by Lincoln Child, narrated by Scott Brick June 7: Downtown Brooklyn, Willoughby Plaza IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, narrated by the author June 8: Lower Manhattan, Bowling Green THE POWER OF HABIT: Why We Do What We Do in Power and Business by Charles Duhigg, narrated by Mike Chamberlain June 9: Columbus Circle, 60th Street and Central Park West A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS by George R.R. Martin, narrated by Harry Lloyd Listeners unable to visit the lemonade stands can redeem a free download of Jane Austin’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by clicking here. Penguin Random House Audio is also spreading the “Transform Your Commute” message throughout the New York Metro area with ads sharing listening suggestions like John Grisham’s CAMINO ISLAND, Alan Alda’s If I UNDERSTOOD YOU, WOULD I HAVE THIS LOOK ON MY FACE?, Jeffrey Tambor’s ARE YOU ANYBODY? and Jill Santopolo’s THE LIGHT WE LOST on the subway, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North, New Jersey Transit and PATH trains. This campaign complements Penguin Random House’s 2016 partnership with the MTA and Transit Wireless to create ‘Subway Reads,’ an in-transit reading experience for all New York City subway riders. The joint program provided commuters with access to six free Penguin Random House e-shorts, as well as extensive samples from more than 175 full-length books, to enjoy while on the subway. The content was categorized by read time, allowing Subway riders to choose excerpts that suited the length of their individual commutes.

Celebrating Our 4 Audie Awards Winners

2017 audie awardsPenguin Random House won 4 Audies last night at the 22nd annual Audie Awards® in New York. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) annually presents the premier awards program for audiobooks in the United States, recognizing excellence in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.

Here are our winners in the following categories: LIT-FIC_HomegoingMULTIVOICE_SmallGreatThingsMulti-Voiced Performance SMALL GREAT THINGS by Jodi Picoult; read by Audra McDonald, Cassandra Campbell and Ari Fliakos; produced by Orli Moscowitz  (Random House Audio) Literary Fiction & Classics HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi; read by Dominic Hoffman; produced by Kelly Gildea  (Random House Audio) Science Fiction YOUNGADULT_SaltToTheSeaSCIENCEFICTION_StarWarsSTAR WARS: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster; read by Marc Thompson; produced by Aaron Blank (Random House Audio) Young Adult SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys; read by Jorjeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris and Michael Crouch; produced by Sarah Jaffe  (Listening Library) Resounding congratulations to our authors, readers, producers, publishers, and everyone on the Penguin Random House Audio team. View the complete list of 2017 Audie Awards winners here.

Random House Audio Releases Walt Whitman Novel, Narrated by Jon Hamm

WWhitmanJackEngleAudiobookTnailWalt Whitman’s newly discovered novel, LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF JACK ENGLE, published prior to LEAVES OF GRASS, is now available for the first time as an audiobook.  Narrated by Jon Hamm, the title was released by Random House Audio on Tuesday (5/30), just in time to celebrate what would have been Whitman’s 198th birthday on May 31. 

LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF JACK ENGLE is a rollicking story full of colorful New York characters, originally serialized in the Sunday Dispatch anonymously in 1852. Mr. Hamm’s performance of the many salty characters, from Irish street sweeper Barney Fox, to faux-French aristocrat Madame Seligny, conniving Quaker lawyer Covert, and the bootstrapping orphan Jack Engle himself, brings out the wry humor woven throughout the tale. Mr. Hamm, who previously narrated Frank O’Hara’s New York Stories, said of the recording, “I had been a fan of Whitman’s work, so it was an easy choice for me. And this is a lost work. It’s exciting to read something new by someone who’s been dead over 100 years.” Scholar Zachary Turpin of the University of Houston narrates an afterword describing how he followed clues in Whitman’s papers leading him to the Library of Congress, whose newspaper archives contained the only known surviving copy of JACK ENGLE. Mr. Turpin consulted on the audio recording, advising on correct historical pronunciations of the characters’ names and accents. Mr. Hamm’s nuanced portrayal of the high-powered, advertising executive Don Draper on AMC’s award-winning drama series, Mad Men, firmly established him as one of Hollywood’s most talented and versatile actors. He has earned numerous accolades, including an Emmy Award in 2015 for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, and Golden Globe Awards in 2016 and 2008.