The following guide will answer your frequently asked questions about audiobooks and will assist you in finding an appropriate audiobook.
To find audiobooks on the catalog, follow the directions below.
Our Audio-Cassette collection includes both music and Books-on-Tape. Books-on-Tape are identified as AUDIO-CASSETTE followed in bold lettering by either FICT for fiction titles, or the call number (e.g., RC567.G75 1996) for non-fiction titles.
Our Compact Disc collection includes both music and Books-on-CD. Books-on-CD are identified as COMPACT DISC followed in bold lettering by either FICT for fiction titles, or the call number (e.g., RC567.G75 1996) for non-fiction titles.
If you don't care whether an audiobook is available in audiocassette or CD (including MP3-CD) format:
Maryland's Digital eLibrary Consortium site provides instant access to digital audio books for Enoch Pratt Free Library patrons. Digital Audio Books are available for download to your PC or supported PDA. Watch this tutorial to see a sample search of digital audio books (requires Flash player and speakers).
Cassette – This format has been the most popular for audiobooks for the past two decades. Cassettes are easy to use and can be played in any standard tape player. A single cassette can hold more than 100 minutes of programming.
CD – The popularity of this format is steadily increasing. Most cars now come standard with these players and inexpensive adapters are available for cars without factory installed CD players. A single disc can hold up to 74 minutes of digital audio material. This is why you will find that in many cases the same program requires more CDs than cassettes. CDs can also be played on computers and CD/MP3 players.
MP3-CD - The Enoch Pratt Free Library also has a small collection of MP3-CD audiobooks. An MP3-CD is a compact disc that contains digital audio in the MP3 file format and are supported by many CD and MP3 players, including DVD players. MP3-CDs look the same as regular CDs, but because of their compressed audio format they can store much more information on a single disc.
Audio Original/Audio Only/Spoken Word – Audiobook products derived from sources other than book content. These programs include dramatic readings, stand-up comedy, seminars, conversations, etc. that have no book counterpart.
Dramatization – Adaptation of a work such as a book, usually multi-voiced and including sound effects and music.
Abridged – Abridged audio books are shortened versions of the original book.
Unabridged – Unabridged audiobooks are the complete book, word for word as the author wrote it.
Audiobooks include virtually every genre –including romance, the latest fiction, the classics, brain-teasing mysteries, westerns, science fiction, fantasy, business titles, self-help, great comedy titles, the Bible, hair-raising horror, and a great range of children’s and young adults’ audiobooks.
Single Voice Narration – One narrator portrays all the characters.
Multi-Voiced Narration – Multiple cast members portray the different roles.
Sometimes it is the author who is considered the best choice to read his or her own work, predominantly in nonfiction. When an outside narrator is called for, audiobook publishers look for professional narrators or actors and actresses who can communicate the author’s intent.
2009 Audie Award Winners (PDF)
AudiobooksOnline Reading Suggestions
Guide broken up by genre – including westerns, science fiction, business, romance, comedy, history, and mystery.
Authentic Listening Experiences: Multicultural Audiobooks
From the American Library Association, this short article gives some suggestions of African-American, Asian, and Latino audiobooks.
The major commercial vendor of downloadable spoken word files. Audible.com has contracts with most of the major audiobook distributors.
Audiobooks Online works in partnership with audible.com. The site has an easy to navigate layout, with reviews and suggestions.
Features audio book rentals.
Books on Tape
Associated with Random House, this site has an extensive selection of unabridged audio books searchable by genre, author, title, and subject matter. It also provides book descriptions, recommended reading, bestsellers and award winners.
Harper Audio Caedmon
A division of HarperCollins, this site is searchable by subject, author, title, book number or performer. It includes 6-8 minute audio clips and information on famous performers.
Recorded Books Online
This site provides information on new releases and has a searchable database, author interviews, news items, and a chat room.
This Simon & Schuster site is searchable by title, author and genre. It also includes new releases, bestsellers, reading guides and an audio feature.
Features audio book rentals.
Time Warner Audio Books
Extensive range of fiction and nonfiction. Audio clips are available to preview.
If you are having any difficulty in finding an audiobook, or if you have any other questions, e-mail us through our Ask A Librarian service. Or you can contact us by mail or phone at:
Sights & Sounds Department
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201