Love audiobooks & #audiomonth? Talk the Talk with the Audiobook Lexicon!

tiny dictionary

The good (listener engagement), the bad (dry mouth), and the ugly (woofing the mic) – just a few format-specific, audio-advisory terms in an extensive list of lingo I first compiled as Chair of the American Library Association’s inaugural  Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production in 2007. Most book lovers are comfortable with literary terms from their days in school, and audiobook fans carry over concepts such as “mood” and “tone” to their conversations about the spoken word medium. But audiobooks have unique characteristics that challenge description, and I wanted our audio evaluation committee to be able to “talk the talk” of the audiobook community. So I interviewed a diverse spectrum of industry experts for the initial Lexicon, and asked for help revising the list when I wrote Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature, published last year.  The new, improved Lexicon is an Appendix in my book. I have so many requests for use of the Lexicon that I’ve requested that ALA Editions make the Lexicon available for free in a printable PDF format. You can grab your own copy by looking for the “Read a sample of the book and Appendix A: Audiobook Lexicon now!” links on the ALA Store website here:


Thanks so much to the wonderful audio experts below who shared their knowledge as I compiled the Lexicon:

Arnie Cardillo
Michele Cobb
Bruce Coville
Tim Ditlow
Todd and Brett Hobin
Paul Gagne
Eileen Hutton
Troy Juliar
Pete Pantelis
David Rapkin




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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