Friday, September 30, 2005


PODCASTING: Book publishers being to embrace web delivery


Podcasts Give Publishers Another Tool September 29, 2005 7:52AM

"The number of listeners being entertained through digital players is in the tens of millions," says Sue Fleming of Simon & Schuster, which launched SimonSays Podcast on Sept. 29, 2005. It joins a fledgling group of publishers that are testing whether free podcasts can help sell books.

Publishers are hoping that picking up an iPod will lead to picking up a book. As publishers look for innovative ways for books to compete with video games, DVDs, CDs and computers for consumer dollars, they're hoping the proven popularity of digital players and podcasts -- audio programming downloaded from the Internet -- will beef up interest in the written word.

"The number of listeners being entertained through digital players is in the tens of millions," says Sue Fleming of Simon & Schuster, which launches SimonSays Podcast today. It joins a fledgling group of publishers that are testing whether free podcasts can help sell books.

So far, the prospects look promising.

Holtzbrinck Publishers, which launched earlier this month, already has attracted 40,000 visitors to its new site, marketing director Jeff Gomez says. The number of downloads, he adds, is approaching 10,000. The Holtzbrinck and Simon & Schuster projects operate similarly.

Holtzbrinck offers four new podcasts every month -- one each in the fiction, non-fiction, science fiction and self-help genres from such publishers as Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt, Picador, and St. Martin's. Each of its 30-minute podcasts consists of up to three book excerpts.

Interviews and original material also are offered, including Michael Cunningham reading from Specimen Days as well as an interview with author Douglas Preston and a reading from his Tyrannosaurus Canyon. Podcasts added this week include excerpts from How Did I Get Here? by Barbara De Angelis and How to Change Anybody by David J. Lieberman.

SimonSays Podcast ( features original programming about books and authors as well as excerpts from audiobooks. Starting today, the site is featuring three authors talking about their books: Jennifer Weiner on her new novel, Goodnight Nobody; Carole Radziwill discussing her memoir, What Remains; and Anthony Dias Blue on his Pocket Guide to Wine.

Little, Brown also kicked off its first podcast effort this month with Michael Connelly, one of its most successful authors. Fans can visit or iTunes to download audio in which the author discusses his new book, The Lincoln Lawyer, and reads an excerpt.

Holtzbrinck's Gomez says all of this is more about book content than about the latest technology. "It's really about readers getting in touch with books. Their interest may start with new technology, but we hope that, in the end, they go to a bookstore, buy a hardback or a paperback, and curl up with a book."

Consumers can find out about podcasts on publishers' websites and by checking sites that include directories of available podcasts --, for example.

© 2005 USA TODAY. All rights reserved.
© 2005 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved.


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