In June, Random House Audio and OverDrive recruited 2010 ALA Conference attendees to participate in a “community-sourced” audiobook recording of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, part of a Lend Your Voice initiative to promote awareness of digital audiobook downloads.
Random is now in the process of editing that recording, which it will make available (for a suggested donation) exclusively as a digital download on August 25; proceeds will benefit First Book, an organization promoting children’s literacy. The recording will feature 301 voices and is anticipated to run approximately four and a half hours.
According to Random/Listening Library publicist Katherine Fleming, librarians especially turned out to be very talented narrators. (Judge for yourself: listen to a reading by children’s librarian Kathryn Sanders, Charleston County Public Library, SC.)
It’s not the size that counts
Though an audiobook production of this scale is not unprecendented‚ Thomas Nelson’s 2010 Audie Award‚ nominated The Word of Promise Audio Bible was performed by a cast of over 600 actors‚ this project is singular for its community-wide collaborative execution and the breadth of voices represented within.
Participants as young as age six and representing seven countries‚ including Belgium, Argentina, and South Africa‚ took part, as did established authors/artists, among them Newbery Medalist Rebecca Stead, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns (pictured at left), Cory Doctorow, Dennis Lehane, Julia Alvarez, and Grace Lin.
Each participant read approximately half a page, with the exception of Stead, who read the two-page author’s note/introduction.