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AUDIOBOOK PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION UNVEILS BIG PLANS FOR HIGH SEASON

Audie Awards, Audiobook Month, APAC, BEA, Panels and Seminars, plus the New Audiobook Job Market are Among the Highlights of Spring 2000.
For audiobook publishers and the APA, there was no such thing as the "January blahs" this year. That's because it's the time of year when the Audiobook Publishers Association (the APA), swings into an intense six months with an unparalleled roster of activities. The frenzy began in January and will culminate in June with Audiobook Month, a nationwide celebration of the genre.

Later in February the APA Board of Directors announces the winner of the Second Annual Audiobook Month Poster Contest. The winning artist and poster will be announced via national news release after the APA Communications Committee and the APA Board of Directors have made their decision. The winner will receive a $1000 prize along with the opportunity to have his or her work displayed in June during Audiobook Month in bookstores, and libraries nationwide and on the APA website.

April packs a wallop with the announcement of the finalists for the Fifth Annual Audie Awards and the First Audiobook Job Market. Regarding the Audies, this year brings some significant changes in many aspects of the awards program. For the first time, there was an increase in the number of judges who participated in what has now become a two-tiered judging process. This allowed for more comprehensive listening by more judges. Also, four new categories have been added. The winners of the distinguished Audie Awards will be announced in June at the BEA which takes place in Chicago.

On April 6, the APA will hold the Audiobook Job Market in New York City. This first-time event for the APA will allow freelance editors, abridgers, and producers along with prospective audiobook readers to meet directly with audio publishers for one-on-one interviews. In attendance will be over 40 publishers who are on the lookout for new talent. There is a pre-screening process that will take place. Upon acceptance, applicants will engage in approximately 15 to 25 interviews with the audio experts attending the conference. This is an opportunity to connect with the right people from a variety of companies.

By May, the APA is involved with intense preparations for a trio of the most anticipated and eagerly awaited events of the year. It is these events which bring the most visibility to the world of audiobooks, their authors, their publishers, the narrators, and the various facets of their production and distribution. First to take place, immediately before the opening of BEA, will be The Audio Publishers Association's Annual Conference (APAC) on June 1 at the Chicago Downtown Marriott Hotel. Members of the APA will attend a variety of meetings which inform membership on policy, old and new business, and educational programs. In addition, APAC offers a series of informative presentations, exhibits, notable guest speakers, and seminars. They include:

  • Futopia: New Worlds of Interactive Technology
  • Audio Publishing 201: Evaluating Your Progress
  • Alternative Markets & Distribution: Moving Beyond the Bookstore
  • Inspect a Gadget: How do New Audio Technologies Work?
  • The Growing Library Market
  • Safety Nets: Contracts, Copyrights, Licensing & the Internet

Upon completion of APAC, audiobook publishers will meld into the hectic pace of the BEA, which will be held this year in Chicago from June 2-4. With its own booth on the floor of the convention center, the APA will meet and greet resellers and media throughout the convention. In addition, special panels for booksellers who want to learn more about the marketing and selling of audiobooks will be conducted.

The highlight of the BEA for the audiobook world is the Audie Awards -- a black tie gala that takes place on Friday evening, June 2nd, at Chicago's famed Field Museum, with its dramatic lakeside setting. At this elegant event, the winners of the Audie Awards will be announced and honored before their peers. Tom Bodett, the NPR radio personality and memorable voice in the Motel 6 ads, will be the MC. Bodett, who is about to launch a new children's show on public radio, has recorded many audiobooks himself. This year's gala will be long-remembered, not only for its unusual host, but for its unique setting. Sue, the world's largest Tyrannosaurus Rex will have just gone on display at the Field Museum and will be on view for the attendees. Along with Sue, guests will also enjoy cocktails while they view the Dead Sea Scrolls on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority. The Scrolls have not been in Chicago since 1949.

On June 4th, the final day of the BEA, a seminar "Audiobooks: Technology and Marketing for the 21st Century" will be held. The session is scheduled from 8:00 - 9:30 am at Chicago's McCormick Place, room #S104B. This free seminar will demonstrate how to re-evaluate current audio selections to increase consumer awareness and revenues. The seminar will also teach the latest in audio downloading and on-line marketing, and panelists will present an up-to-date industry overview, including current APA initiatives.

The finale of an intense six months is marked by the annual Audiobook Month celebration, the APA's industry wide promotion of audiobooks which takes place each year in June. This year marks the third Audiobook Month since its inception. The promotion consists of a national publicity campaign, and the distribution of promotional materials to resellers and libraries that, in turn promote audiobooks to their patrons. In previous years, the APA provided thousands of sampler cassettes, audiobook month posters, and postcards. Every year, sales volume for audiobook publishers and resellers nationwide has increased considerably as a result of the APA's Audiobook Month project.

Paul Rush, President of the APA, comments, "We have a half year to celebrate, honor, and enhance the audiobook business with a series of meaningful events. It's not that all of us don't try every day to let the world know how rewarding audiobooks can be, but this is the time of the year when we 'formalize' the process."


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