Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast

394. All Things Audiobook and Mountain Climbing with Nita Basu from Hachette Audio

My guest today is Nita Basu, Marketing and Publicity Manager at Hachette Audio.

I love behind the scenes conversations, and today’s is partly about her work promoting audiobooks across genres and how audio can be adapted when the text is unique and very visual.

Who listens to audiobooks, and where do they listen? What are people doing when they listen?

Should you listen to murder books on the side of a mountain? Where do you listen to audiobooks? What are your favorites?


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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can follow Nita Basu on Twitter @NitaBasu, and on Instagram @NitaBasu.

You can try audiobooks at,, and Audible.

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Podcast Sponsor

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This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

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  1. 1
    Stephanie Scott says:

    I related heavily to this! I listen to podcasts or audiobooks for half my workday prob 3 to 4 days a week – doing spreadsheets and admin tasks. I also listen while looking through Instagram, cooking, driving. I get most of my audio from either the library: hoopla or Libby apps, and now I pay for Scribd which is audio lending for $9 a month.

    Scribd says they are unlimited but I have tested their limits and they are not. I wrote to them saying I realize I am considered a heavy audio listener and suggested they have higher tiered pricing for people like me. I’d pay $20 month for double the audio lends. I want authors to be fairly compensated, but I also don’t re-listen to audio, so buying them outright is not what I’m interested in. I’m curious to see how audiobooks and lending shifts as more readers come into this space.

  2. 2
    Ruth L says:

    I avoided audiobooks for a long time — maybe I subconsciously knew I would become addicted. I’ve always liked to be read to. The story is that my first grade teacher was concerned that I wasn’t learning to read. She had a conference with my parents and it was decided that they should stop reading to me. Turned out not only could I read, but shortly thereafter I was put in another class for reading because I was on a 4th grade level (my memory is looking at “Tom” in his little red wagon on the overhead projector and being too bored to care). I would hang around when they read to my little sister. Only it turned out she didn’t like to be read to and learned to read early. I was so resentful when she wanted them to stop! More than 50 years later I haven’t quite forgiven her.

    In addition, I’ve always liked to listen to spoken word when I’m falling asleep (talk radio, before it became unlistenable, baseball, and now podcasts — sometimes I have to que yours up several times before I get through the whole thing).

    But then I signed up for the trial subscription on Audible when I was going to be commuting 40 miles (through traffic) by car for a week. And I have Kindle Unlimited so I got what was then called Romance Unlimited. And now I’m a full-fledged addict. Like Nita I’m usually listening to one book and reading another. I get them from the library and have Audible Escape.

    I do often choose by narrator. I just went through a binge of male British narrators reading historicals just for the accent.

    I listen in the car (if there’s no baseball), at work doing rote tasks, on my public transit commute (sometimes, if I’m really caught up in something) and on my Alexa devices. That historicals binge came about during a bout of bronchitis, when I would come home from work, crawl into bed and just listen.

    I was amused at the short discussion about learning how to pronounce words by listening to audiobooks. I wouldn’t trust them (especially if you are listening to British narrators, since many words are pronounced differently). I’ve heard two narrators pronounce “Marin County” as “MARE-in” instead of “Ma-RIN” and one narrator drove me crazy by pronouncing the last name of a group of characters named Bianchi “Bian-chee” instead of “Bian-kee” all the way through the series. Please, make him stop!

  3. 3
    Escapeologist says:

    Loved this episode! Fun conversation about one of my favorite subjects ever. Nita is so funny and warm, and Sarah is always lovely to listen to.

    @Ruth I also remember the exact day my mom stopped reading to me, and I still read to my 11 year old daughter at bedtime. Currently it’s one of the Wings of Fire books, she got me doing many different dragon voices. Fun for both of us.

    My kid was hooked on the audiobooks for Meg Cabot’s Notebooks of a Middle School Princess series, spinoff from the Princess Diaries which are also great on audio. I’ve listened to a lot of middle grade books as an adult, good stories are timeless.

    Audiobooks for falling asleep work well for me too, preferably something I’ve read and reread before. This week it’s The Secret Garden and Very Good, Jeeves!

  4. 4
    Kate says:

    I started listening to audiobooks in college when they were on cassette and pretty much the only way to get unabridged versions was through a mail order service. Nonfiction has mostly been my go-to because I have a harder time retaining fiction on audio for some reason. I’m blessed to have a library system with a great selection via Overdrive.

  5. 5
    elianara says:

    I loved this episode!

    To answer your question: I listen to both books and podcasts. What I listen to depends on my mood, sometimes shorter podcasts are the thing I need, sometimes books. I listen to them in the car if I’m driving alone, I listen at work when doing rote tasks, and at home when doing dishes, cooking or cleaning and when I play mobile games. I get my audiobooks either from Scribd or from the library.

    I usually listen to nonfiction books, and read my fantasy and romance as ebooks. I found I have problems with names (both people and places) while listening so I have trouble following along. I need to see the names written. But this has expanded my reading, I read a lot more nonfiction than previously and I have learned a lot of new and interesting stuff.

  6. 6
    Ruth L says:

    In light of my comments above, I wish you could have asked her about the role of the producers, especially in things like correcting mispronunciations. I’m currently really annoyed at a narrator who is mispronouncing words derived from Spanish (mainly the name of a character). I realize that maybe living in California makes me a little more attuned to Spanish (or really, Americanized Spanish) pronunciation, but people who produce audio for a living should know better, especially as romance novels become more multicultural.

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