The magic of listening, now through local bookstores

Name a literary artist with a vision so powerful that their words have conjured a theme park based upon the world they imagined. There’s only one: J.K. Rowling. Twenty years after the publication of the first Harry Potter book, her seven-part series chronicling young Potter’s heroic journey to rid the world of the evil Lord Voldemort continues to capture the hearts and minds of not just children, but adults as well. What child doesn’t yearn to attend the hallowed halls of Hogwarts? What parent doesn’t wish they could explore the nooks and crannies of Diagon Alley?

Now Libro.fm has partnered with Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s digital publishing, e-commerce, entertainment, and news company, to offer eight Wizarding World digital audiobooks through independent bookstores nationwide. This announcement marks the first time independent bookstores in the United States have been able to offer the full Harry Potter digital audiobook collection (seven novels in the series) and the digital audiobook of the Fantastic Beasts Hogwarts Library book to their customers.

Who seeks the Sorcerer’s Stone? What lurks in the Chamber of Secrets? Should we fear or love the Prisoner of Azkaban, or for that matter, the Half-Blood Prince? And who can save New York City from such Fantastic Beasts?

Now you can listen and find out. Learn more at libro.fm/wizardingworld.

Fighting Goliath

I’m guilty-as-charged when it comes to using a particular large company to help me shop for groceries, get items I need quickly, and consolidate those pesky, mounting, day-to-day chores into one efficient online experience.

As a Seattleite, I’m often the first to experience the new technology that this “Goliath” offers. With a click of a mouse, I can have anything from diapers to lawn chairs delivered to my doorstep within hours. I’m even be able to order groceries on my phone and pick them up at a store – one that resembles a kiosk more than your typical local grocery shop – bagged and ready, seemingly saving me precious amounts of time.

That’s what all this is for, right? Saving time? That’s what Goliath is betting on. Sadly, I actually feel like I have less, not more, time on my hands when I use this company’s services. Buying into Goliath’s culture encourages a frenetic pace of life, a click-now, think-later, mindset that self-perpetuates. This way of living comes with a cost: instead of spending my time shopping in a store, talking to actual people, I find myself head down, eyes glued to a screen, poring over product reviews from strangers. I neglect engaging with those in the community around me.

Having recently moved from back to Seattle from two years abroad in Düsseldorf, Germany (where shopping local isn’t a “thing” its just called “shopping”) I’m constantly looking for ways to recalibrate how I spend my time. I try to walk to the Ballard Fresh Fish Co. for some of my grocery shopping, and maybe I’ll stop for coffee and treats at Cafe Besalu. It’s the same when I want to buy books.

Working for Libro.fm, I have had the privilege of meeting the people who own and run local bookstores (Phinney Books in Seattle and Edmonds Bookshop in Edmonds). I have gotten to listen to their heartfelt book recommendations, ones that go deeper than just how many stars a book should get rated. And each time I get out, make shopping a communal experience, I am reminded how good it makes me feel, how interacting with people who are so passionate about their store, their craft, makes my day (and the world) a bit brighter. If these places, these people, were suddenly gone and replaced with robots or faceless stores where employees were paid on transactions and 3rd party customer service surveys, what would I, and the community around me, lose?

 

There will be the times when we just need something now. But I challenge all of us, the next time we have the urge to push the Goliath button, to take 10 seconds, breath deep, and think about our community and what small, local businesses mean to us and our future.

Cage-Free Audiobooks

Imagine it’s Friday, you’ve worked a long week, and you’ve just arrived home from the bookstore, carrying a new hardcover by your favorite novelist, ready to be swept up all weekend in a story. You sink into that cozy leather chair that’s perfectly formed to your body, kick your feet up on the ottoman, and weigh the hardcover in your palms.

But there’s a problem. You can’t remove the dust jacket from your new novel. You can’t even open the book. It’s as if it’s sealed shut. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with the book itself; it just won’t open. You call the bookstore and ask them what gives.

“Where are you sitting?” the clerk asks.

“In a chair,” you reply. “Where I always sit.”

“Is that one of our chairs?” the clerk asks.

Our chairs? What does that even mean? You describe the chair, the brand, etc.

“Hmm, well that’s the problem,” the clerk replies. “It’s not one of our chairs. Our books only open when you’re sitting in one of our chairs.”

“You’re kidding.”

“I can give you directions to our showroom,” the clerk says. “We have many wonderful chairs.”

“What about my couch?” You love the couch in your living room almost as much as the chair. You found it at a garage sale. It called to you from the street.

“Is it one of our couches?” asks the clerk. “We also have wonderful couches.”

This is not an ideal reading situation. It probably seems rather absurd. But it’s kind of like what a big audiobook retailer is trying to get away with by selling their audiobooks with DRM. Here at Libro.fm, our 70,000 audiobooks are DRM-free, which means that when you purchase one of our audiobooks through one of hundreds of independent bookstores, it’s yours.

You can listen to it on any device, anywhere, anytime, through any app that will play it. Although, we certainly recommend our own Libro.fm app for iOS and Android for the best possible listening experience. There are features such as the sleep timer, bookmarking, and playing audiobooks at a faster rate that are not possible on other players, iTunes, or your desktop. We don’t think it’s right to insist our customers use our other products unnecessarily. Nor, for that matter, do we think we should we ever be able to take your audiobook away from you, or change it—another aspect of DRM that feels, well, a bit cagey.

Libro.fm is one of the few places where every audiobook is DRM-free, or as we call it, cage-free. A DRM-free model fits our independent nature and it means you can listen to the audiobook anytime, anywhere, on any device. Declare your independence, #chooseindie

For more about the dangers of DRM, and why we’re proponents of DRM-free audiobooks, check out the reasons why notable author/activist Cory Doctorow has slowed down on his writing life in order to better advocate for a DRM-free world.

Audiobook of the Month: Make Your Bed

On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.

Admiral McRaven’s original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven’s Make Your Bed, read by the author, recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire listeners to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.

Listen to a preview


Join readers and listeners all month on social media to discuss Make Your Bed. Use the hashtag #MakeYourBed and find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

May 2017 Audiobook Bestsellers

Libro.fm has partnered with hundreds of independent bookstore locations to sell digital audiobooks. We are proud to present the May 2017 audiobook bestseller list that captures what’s selling in independent bookstores nationwide.

Get any of the bestselling audiobooks for $0.99 when you become a Libro.fm member. Choose from over 70,000 audiobooks. Enjoy the superior Libro.fm experience. Support independent bookstores. Start your membership.


Fiction

1. Lincoln in the Bardo

by George Saunders (Penguin Random House Audio)

2. The Women in the Castle

by Jessica Shattuck (HarperCollins)

3. A Gentleman in Moscow

by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)

4. Norse Mythology

by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)

5. Commonwealth

by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins)

6. The Underground Railroad (Oprah’s Book Club)

by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)

7. Small Great Things

by Jodi Picoult (Penguin Random House Audio)

8. Exit West

by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin Random House Audio)

9. The Woman in Cabin 10

by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster Audio)

10. The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins)

 Extended List

Nonfiction

1. Hillbilly Elegy

by J. D. Vance (HarperCollins)

2. The Book of Joy

by Douglas Carlton Abrams, Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu (Penguin Random House Audio)

3. Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chernow (Penguin Random House Audio)

4. Evicted

by Matthew Desmond (Penguin Random House Audio)

5. The Little Book of Hygge

by Meik Wiking (HarperCollins)

6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

by Mark Manson (HarperCollins)

7. The Stranger in the Woods

by Michael Finkel (Penguin Random House Audio)

8. Nevertheless

by Alec Baldwin (HarperCollins)

9. You Are a Badass at Making Money

by Jen Sincero (Penguin Random House Audio)

10. Feminist Fight Club

by Jessica Bennett (HarperCollins)

 Extended List

The May 2017 audiobook bestseller list is based on sales through more than 300 independent bookstore locations during the month of April 2017.

Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 29th

Independent Bookstore Day, is a one-day party taking place Saturday, April 29th at more than 450 bookstores. As a supporter of independent bookstores, you get five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Here are a few of the audiobooks included: Jessica Shattuck’s NYT bestseller, The Women in the Castle, David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, and works by David Sedaris (Dentists Without Borders), Emma Straub (Modern Lovers), Nicola Yoon (The Sun is Also a Star), and Hope Jahren (Lab Girl). The only catch (we promise) is you must claim your free audiobooks by Midnight PST on Saturday 4/29. To do this, log in to Libro.fm, add the audiobooks to your cart (no promo code needed) and you’re done!

Get Your Free Audiobooks

And beyond the free audiobooks, we encourage you to visit your local bookstore to join the celebration. While each store is unique and independent (and the parties will reflect that) you’ll likely encounter some combination of authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids events, art tables, readings, barbecues, and contests. And most importantly, exclusive books and literary items that you can only get on April 29th. Not before. Not after. Find a bookstore near you.

Listen. Support. Share.

Your support makes a difference for local bookstores across the country. Join the party in stores and online by sharing this offer with friends. Even if you’re unable to visit a store this Saturday, you can still take part in this offer and share with others. Simply copy/paste this link and email or share it on social media: https://libro.fm/playlists/bookstore-day


We love connecting with our listeners (and indie supporters!) so follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and tag #BookstoreDay to join the conversation.

April 2017 Audiobook Bestsellers

Libro.fm has partnered with more than 300 independent bookstore locations to sell digital audiobooks. We are proud to present the debut of our monthly audiobook bestseller list that captures what’s selling in independent bookstores nationwide.

Get any of the bestselling audiobooks for $0.99 when you become a Libro.fm member. Choose from over 70,000 audiobooks. Enjoy the superior Libro.fm experience. Support independent bookstores. Start your membership.

Fiction

Enhanced-Cover-Lincoln

1. Lincoln in the Bardo
By George Saunders (Penguin Random House Audio)

A Gentleman in Moscow-Enhanced-Cover

2. A Gentleman in Moscow
By Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)

the-underground-railroad

3. The Underground Railroad (Oprah’s Book Club)
By Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)

Exit West-Enhanced-Cover

4. Exit West
By Mohsin Hamid (Penguin Random House Audio)

Seveneves-Enhanced-Cover

5. Seveneves*
By Neal Stephenson (Brilliance Audio)

commonwealth

6. Commonwealth
By Ann Patchett (HarperCollins)

Enhanced-Cover-Norse-Mythology

7. Norse Mythology
By Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)

Small-Great-Things-Enhanced-Cover

8. Small Great Things
By Jodi Picoult (Penguin Random House Audio)

Raven-Boys-Enhanced-Cover

9. The Raven Boys: Book 1 of the Raven Cycle*
By Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic Audio)

Edgar and Lucy Enhanced Cover

10. Edgar and Lucy
By Victor Lodato (Macmillan Audio)

Extended List


Nonfiction

Alexander Hamilton-Enhanced-Cover

1. Alexander Hamilton
By Ron Chernow (Penguin Random House Audio)

The Measure of a Man Enhanced Cover

2. The Measure of a Man*
By Sidney Poitier (HarperCollins)

hillbilly-elegy

3. Hillbilly Elegy
By J. D. Vance (HarperCollins)

When-Breath-Becomes-Air

4. When Breath Becomes Air
By Abraham Verghese and Paul Kalanithi (Penguin Random House Audio)

Stiff-Enhanced-Cover

5. Stiff*
By Mary Roach (Tantor Media)

The-Universe-in-Your-Hand-Enhanced-Cover

6. The Universe in Your Hand*
By Christophe Galfard (Blackstone Audio)

Following Atticus Enhanced Cover

7. Following Atticus*
By Tom Ryan (HarperCollins)

between-the-world-and-me

8. Between the World and Me
By Ta-Nehisi Coates (Penguin Random House Audio)

The-Book-of-Joy-Enhanced-Cover

9. The Book of Joy
By Douglas Carlton Abrams, Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu (Penguin Random House Audio)

Lab-Girl

10. Lab Girl
By Hope Jahren (Penguin Random House Audio)

Extended List


*These audiobooks appeared on the Great Books on Sale list.

The April 2017 bestseller list is based on sales through more than 300 independent bookstore locations during the month of March 2017.

Audiobook of the Month: The Women in the Castle

Our April Audiobook of the Month is Jessica Shattuck’s The Women in the Castle. Set in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to Germany’s high society, The Women in the Castle is a propulsive, affecting, and ultimately redemptive novel chronicling the lives of three widows whose fates collide in the aftermath of World War II. You can listen to it right now or visit one of 450 participating stores on Saturday, April 29th to get a complimentary audiobook in celebration of Independent Bookstore Day!


“Three war widows and their children help each other survive at the end of World War II in this engaging novel filled with rich period details. Their husbands died as members of the resistance, but aside from that common thread, Marianne, Benita, and Ania bring very different backgrounds to their makeshift home in the castle’s kitchen. They also face repercussions from past choices and current secrets. Jessica Shattuck brings us into their world and shows us that the rules for love and loyalty are different in wartime.”
—Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA

IBD-Featured-Book-The-Women-in-the-Castle

Listen to a preview of The Women in the Castle


Join readers and listeners all month on social media to discuss The Women in the Castle. Use the hashtag #TheWomenInTheCastle and find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

2017 Audie Award® Finalists for Audiobook of the Year

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) has announced Audie Award® finalists for Audiobook of the Year. The Audiobook of the Year recognizes the audiobook that through quality, innovation, marketing, and sales, has had the most significant impact on the industry. Each nominated title is distinguished by excellence in production as well as their ability to create new interest in the audiobook format through creative marketing.

Listen to the previews below and get any audiobook for only $0.99 with our Libro.fm membership.

This year’s Judges provided their comments and insight into the selection of the Audiobook of the Year Finalists:

Boys in the Trees Enhanced Cover

Boys in the Trees

(Macmillan Audio)

“Musical icon Carly Simon’s revelatory memoir Boys in the Trees is best experienced as an audiobook, read with affecting sincerity by the author and supplemented by more than 400 musical segments. As Simon sings snippets of songs, strums her guitar, shares her childhood memories, and reveals relationships with legends including ex-husband James Taylor, listeners feel she is expressing her deepest feelings directly into our ears. Simon personally advocated for the audiobook through marketing that included a Facebook Live event, promotion on Pandora and the artist’s webpage, plus an audiobook giveaway to audience members during a Late Show with Stephen Colbert appearance.”

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo Enhanced Cover

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

(Simon & Schuster Audio)

“Amy Schumer’s stand-up fans will both laugh out loud and be moved to empathetic understanding as she reads her memoir The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. Schumer displays her comedic skill and fast-paced timing as she packs raw humor into the narration, while also confiding deeply personal emotions that have shaped her personal advocacy for ending gun violence and promoting healthy relationships and positive self-image. Schumer’s celebrity status and huge social media following expanded the marketing outreach, and a Spoken Word Grammy nomination provided further national recognition for an audiobook that had already achieved dazzling consumer sales.”

hamilton-the-revolution-Enhanced-Cover

Hamilton: The Revolution

(Hachette Audio)

“The phenomenon that is Hamilton the musical spreads to the audiobook world with Hamilton: The Revolution, a must-have insider’s guide to the making of the musical. Read by super-fan Mariska Hargitay, the audio takes listeners on a journey from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pool-side reading of Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton to Broadway success and propulsion into the zeitgeist. Fans will especially appreciate Miranda’s reading of his annotations, from the very first revelation that the distinctive three-note intro mimics a squeaky door. Just as the musical has expanded the audience for musical theatre, this audiobook has won new fans to the world of audiobooks, thanks in no small part to Miranda’s devoted social media following.”

the-underground-railroad

The Underground Railroad

(Penguin Random House Audio / Books on Tape)

“Colson Whitehead’s literary bestseller The Underground Railroad finds the ideal narrator in Bahni Turpin. Voicing a complex cast of characters, Turpin conveys the bitter realities of the antebellum South through evocative accents, emotional resonance, and subtle pacing, enhanced by strong production quality. The marketing campaign highlighted the title’s selection as an Oprah Book Club pick, noted the significance of the audio during Black History Month, and featured Turpin representing the author at the National Book Award annual reading (honoring the title’s selection as the 2017 Fiction award-winner), becoming the first narrator to participate in the ceremony.”

Year of Yes Enhanced Cover

Year of Yes

(Simon & Schuster Audio)

“In Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes, known to legions of TV fans for her creative productions Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, highlights the transformative power of saying “Yes” to experiences outside her comfort zone. In a production that is both memoir and self-help, Rhimes reveals the fears and tribulations behind her Hollywood veneer, and her appealing no-nonsense style creates an immediate connection encouraging personal empowerment. Through a social media campaign that appealed to a diverse range of listeners, this audio pulled in both new and returning fans of the audio format.”


Get any audiobook for only $0.99 when you become a Libro.fm member. Choose from over 70,000 audiobooks. Enjoy the superior Libro.fm experience. Support independent bookstores.

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day on April 29th and Get Free Audiobooks

In honor of the third annual Independent Bookstore Day, visitors to select independent bookstores this April 29th will have the opportunity to download five complimentary digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers! Titles include #1 Indie Next Pick, The Women in the Castle (Harper Audio) by Jessica Shattuck and David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). How do you participate? Easy. Show up at any of our 450 participating independent bookstores nationwide on April 29th, and be sure to create your Libro.fm account now so you can get updates as the event draws closer.

“I rely on local bookstores (at home and on vacation) to provide not only access to books but also community — story hours, fun children’s sections to visit on rainy days, interesting readings and panels to get me, and everyone else who attends, to think about the wider world than the one right under our noses. I feel that independent bookstores are really the purveyors and gardeners of the life of the mind.”
—Jessica Shattuck, author of  The Women in the Castle

Set in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to Germany’s high society, The Women in the Castle is a propulsive, affecting, and ultimately redemptive novel chronicling the lives of three widows whose fates collide in the aftermath of World War II. Listen to a sample below:

 

My all-time favorite David Foster Wallace essay is A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (Hachette Audio). DFW takes listeners on a 4-hour cruise in the Caribbean that is memorable for its wit and keen observations about the cruising industry. Listen to the sample below:

 

“Independent bookstores are my first stops in any new city, a quick check of the pulse in any literary community. They are ports in the storm, passageways to magical lands, escape hatches out of bad moods. Even when I don’t think I need a book, because the stack beside my bed is teetering toward the ceiling, I always need a bookstore. And then I usually need a book, too.”

—Emma Straub, 2017 Author Ambassador and author of Modern Lovers

We are also excited to give away a Penguin Random House Audio sampler, featuring some of the most popular independent bookstore bestsellers:


Prior to starting Libro.fm, I published Brain Rules by John Medina (Pear Press), a book that covers 12 ways our brains work. Dr. Medina’s fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into the science. Listen to a sample from the first chapter on exercise:

And for the kids in your life 8-12 years old, check out these audiobooks from Scholastic:

Shadow House #1: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki (Scholastic)

 

Tombquest #1: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop (Scholastic)

 

You will also get the Hachette Audio Story Sampler for Bookstore Day 2017, including:

  • Dentists Without Borders written and read by David Sedaris

Plus shorter listens for the whole family:

Welcome to Night Vale: Vinyl Edition

Lastly, an exclusive Bookstore Day offer. Based on the tremendously popular podcast of the same name, Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor explores the mysterious, interconnecting plights of a PTA mom and pawn shop owner in Night Vale, a small town in the American Southwest where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all just a part of everyday life. Beautifully packaged with “flypaper” sleeve, the purple vinyl also includes a full-length digital download of the audiobook performed by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner. Exclusively available on Bookstore Day for $24.95 (audiobook is complimentary).


Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party.

Since every store is unique and independent, every party is different. But in addition to authors, live music, cupcakes, scavenger hunts, kids’ events, art tables, readings, barbecues, contests, and other fun stuff, there are exclusive books and literary items available only at Indie stores on that day. Join the party: stop by your favorite indie bookstore on April 29th, chat with the booksellers, buy some books, and get your five free audiobooks plus two samplers!

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves.”
—Ann Patchett, bestselling author of Commonwealth and co-owner of Parnassus Books