BEST NEW MEDIA: Podiobooks.com

Evo Terra

Evo Terra, progenitor of Podiobooks.com. Image via Wikipedia

For all the enjoyment I’ve received from Podiobooks.com over the recent years, I would be doing it a great disservice if I didn’t mention what a great resource I think it is for entertainment and encourage you to try it out.

Antiquated media juggernauts are collapsing all around us, trying to find their way in the electronic age. In their wake, new media offerings are springing up and poising themselves to take over. I’ve mentioned before how I think Scrub Club Records and others like them  is making huge moves to do this on the music side. On the literary side Podiobooks.com seems to be taking lessons from the publishing dinosaurs breathing their last and doing everything right to remain standing while the pubs fossilize into the past. The old school players were busy fighting among themselves and wasting time not coming up with efficient print-on-demand systems; not agreeing on a common format for the eBook market (this disagreement still rages on after more than a decade — come on idiots, books are all made on paper, it’s not that hard to just agree that all eBooks should be PDFs and get on with your lives!); and not figuring out that electronic publications should be priced less than half of their print counterparts.

While this has been going on, Evo Terra and the new media moguls have been going a different route. They started with manuscripts that didn’t gain the attention of the big publishing houses (not astonishing since big pubs only put out about 35 books per year and 80%+ of those are repeat authors). They weren’t bad, and they certainly had audiences waiting for them, they just lacked big-name backing and someone with foresight. So these geniuses said, “I want to get my book out there, I don’t care if it sells, but I’m a storyteller with something to say. So I’m going to record myself reading my book in episodes and release it online for free and see if I can generate some attention with it.” And you know what? They did.

My personal exposure came one day when I was thinking about all of the free independent music out there and I started wondering if anybody was doing something similar with audio books. A quick Google search later and I was at the doorstep of Podiobooks.com. I was a little unsure how to find something good, but the risk was nil since everything was free. So I jumped into the sci-fi section and came across Phil Rossi’s Crescent. I was blown away. That something this good should be out there for free was staggering. Phil’s voice was entrancing, his story engaging, and I think I listened to the whole thing in the course of three or four days. From a recommendation on Crescent, I moved on to J.C. Hutchins7th Son trilogy and found myself again blown away. I think that led to Mur Lafferty‘s Playing for Keeps, Scott Sigler‘s Ancestor (and all of his other titles), P.C. Haring’s Cybrosis, Jake Bible’s Dead Mech and several more leading to where I am now — Nathan Lowell’s Trader Tales series which has me gripped to the point that I don’t know how to start my car if I don’t have my MP3 player with me so I can listen to the next chapter.

And they’re all free! Podiobooks.com provides a donation button for you to give what you can if you like what you’ve used. When I started, I was way too poor to donate, but I’m at a point now where I can afford some money here and there and I am going back through and leaving donations in the hopes that every little bit helps raise up the site and the authors.

I’m not saying there aren’t mainstream media sources out there worth enjoying. However it is SO refreshing to see that while the biggies fight amongst themselves for scraps and ignore the bigger issue, someone is out there doing good work for us common folk in a big way. Please — go to Podiobooks.com and try out some of the wares. Please donate where you can to help these authors get what they deserve. And most of all, PLEASE spread the word of this amazing resource. There’s still time to be an early-adopter so that you can be cool when your kids come to you in 10 years raving about the audiobook they got from Podiobooks.com. More than that, you will be better off and your friends will thank you for getting them in on this amazingly apt use of digital distribution.

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