By October 3, 2012 0 Comments Read More →

The Beautiful Mystery: Louise Penny, Ralph Cosham, and Kindle’s Immersive Reading

Just finished the newest Three Pines mystery using Whispersync for Voice, Amazon’s seamless integration of text plus professional narration. Penny’s many fans include Booklist‘s Bill Ott whose glowing starred review of the book nails the strong appeal of this fantastic series. But audiobook fans are equally rabid fans of Ralph Cosham’s narration of the series – I shared my love in this starred review for the last title, A Trick of the Light. I was thrilled to interview both Penny & Cosham for the “Voices in My Head” column Dynamic Duos, where I also featured Lee Child & Dick Hill, for a look at the synergy between two of the most beloved author/narrator pairings.

My take on Whispersync for Voice? Amazing. The process begins when you purchase a Kindle eBook on Amazon, and are then asked if you want to add professional narration, which adds a reduced-price audiobook to the deal – courtesy of Amazon’s Audible audiobook download subsidiary. Both titles magical appeared on my shiny new Kindle Fire HD, giving me the option of toggling back and forth. The book just flowed, from listening to Cosham’s wonderful reading whether through headphones or plugged into my car stereo with a mini- jack cable and then switching to reading the text on the screen, which was perfectly synced to the progression of the audio. How the heck does the Kindle highlight the text as Cosham’s voice reads the words? It’s a beautiful mystery! You don’t have to listen while you read, nor have the text highlight feature turned on, but the Kindle knows right where you stop reading so you can pick up listening at the same spot. Awesome.  Plus, if you’ve purchased a book that now includes the Whispersync for Voice option (there’s a limited number so far), you’ll be prompted that a sample of the professionally narrated title is available for purchase, and you can play a short clip just to get a feel for the Immersive Reading experience. Whatever you think of Amazon’s steady march to take over the world of publishing, both print & audio, give Whispersync a try, if just for a sample of marketing genius. A tip for those who want a true immersive experience tied to the book’s plot – add a recording to Gregorian Chants to your Kindle, and listen to the music while you read the text – then switch back to Cosham when you’re on the go 🙂

And for Three Pines fans – FANTASTIC news!! A made-for-TV movie of the first in the series, Still Life, is in production. But the very BEST news is that author Louise Penny personally requested that narrator Ralph Cosham have a role.

Here’s what Cosham posted on his Facebook Audiobook Crowd page:

Is this a first? I am flying to Montreal on October 12 to play a small role (art critic) in the movie of Louise Penny’s first Three Pines mystery, Still Life, a book I narrated. I have narrated all of Ms. Penny’s books and it was her idea to put me in the movie. Is this another small step for narrators?

Huge congratulations to Cosham & Penny!



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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