Getting the Word Out About Audiobooks: AAP Prepares Latest Public Awareness Campaign for BookExpo Launch
After helping to promote literacy for the past nine years with its Get Caught Reading public awareness campaign, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) is at it once more—except this time its spotlight is focused on audiobooks.
Get Caught Listening is scheduled to launch at BookExpo America next week. A series of full-color posters and pre-recorded, audio public service announcements (PSAs) featuring several celebrities are set to showcase who has been “caught” listening to their favorite books.
“It turns up the volume, full pun intended, on audiobooks,” says AAP Vice President Tina Jordan.
Jordan spoke with Book Business Extra about the development and implementation of the campaign, the importance of audiobooks to the industry, and what famous voices you likely will hear promoting the pleasures of audiobooks in the coming weeks.
Book Business Extra: How long has the new campaign been in development? How was the idea formed to promote audiobooks?
Tina Jordan: The campaign has been in development for a little over a year. With all that is happening in the digital arena [and with] the popularity of audiobooks steadily on the rise, creating a public awareness campaign of the love of books in alternative formats is timely. The excitement we’ve experienced with teachers, librarians and booksellers surrounding Get Caught Reading … provided a perfect launchpad for a new brand extension. … It’s really a labor of love. Our committee members volunteer—it’s based on a lot of volunteer time on a shoestring budget. We’re really excited about [the campaign’s] launch. …
Extra: Are you working with any specific publishers on the campaign?
Jordan: Yes, we are pleased to have overarching support [from] Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, BBC Audio Books, Rodale, Macmillan and the Audio Publishers Association. … The publishers acted as an incredibly great broker [with their authors], and authors recognize the importance of sharing the joys of reading. It’s been a wonderful experience to see [their] desire … to join us with the launch. I expect this to generate interest for years to come.
Extra: What plans do you have to promote the campaign?
Jordan: The campaign [will mirror] the Get Caught Reading campaign with posters of authors “getting caught listening” to their favorite audiobooks. [These posters are] for book lovers to utilize at book events, fairs, etc. … On the Web site (www.GetCaughtReading.org/listening), we have select authors who share their thoughts on their love of audiobooks …. We also provide ways in which teachers can utilize audiobooks as a learning tool in the classroom.
Extra: What has been successful with the Get Caught Reading campaign that you’ll apply to Get Caught Listening?
Jordan: Similar to Get Caught Reading, media have provided their pro bono support. XM Radio has agreed to air the [PSAs] on their Sonic Theater— their book and contemporary theater channel. In the retail market, we are working with iTunes on some programming, and the American Booksellers Association has arranged to share information on the launch of the campaign to their membership. Previews have appeared on the BookExpo America Web site in line with the launch [at] the convention. So, we are well on our way.
Extra: Which celebrities do you have on board so far?
Jordan: It’s important to provide a variety of talent to such campaigns, so it appeals to readers and nonreaders alike. That’s why we are extremely pleased [about] the selection of talent we’ve enlisted for the launch, inclusive of literary [authors], commercial authors, animated characters and celebrities. I mean, where can you find a place or a campaign that enlists such a wide range of talent the likes of Frank McCourt and LL Cool J in the same sentence? … Lisa Scottoline, Dr. Seuss’ Horton, Jackie Collins, Pearl Cleage, Brad Meltzer, Chelsea Handler, Marci Shimoff and Valerie Bertinelli have [also] enlisted their support in just the first year. …
Extra: How long do you see this new campaign going on for?
Jordan: It’s an ongoing campaign. There is no start or end to spreading the literacy gospel.