Spoken Freely and Going Public have teamed up this year to celebrate June is Audiobook Month (JIAM) distributing 38 classic short stories read by 38 narrators. The narrators each recorded a piece from public domain works, including classics from Chekhov, Twain, Chopin, Poe, Lovecraft, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Wilde and many others – even Lincoln’s pivotal Second Inaugural Address.

One or two stories will be released each day via the Going Public website and will also be hosted on a different industry blog throughout June. A full list of dates, times, stories, and narrators is available on the website. Going Public… in Shorts is a joint effort of the Spoken Freely narrators and many others who donated their time and energy to bring the project to life. Engineering and mastering is provided by Jeffrey Kafer and SpringBrook Audio. Graphic design provided by f power design. Published by Blackstone Audio. Project coordination and executive production provided by Xe Sands.

When asked about the meaning of the title, Sands explained, “Well, the project was born out of my side effort, Going Public, a weekly offering of recordings from work (mostly) in the public domain – hence the “Going Public” part of the title. Once we decided on a short story collection, we wanted a way to tie in both the “Going Public” origin, the public domain aspect of the stories, and a play on the short story aspect of the project. Hence, the tongue-in-cheek, “Going Public…in Shorts!” was born.”

The stories will be available to listen to for free, for one week as a special “thank you!” to audiobook fans. In association with Blackstone Audio the complete collection will be available for purchase at the end of the month. All proceeds from the Going Public… in Shorts project go to Reach Out and Read, an organization serving more than 4 million children and their families across the US, with an emphasis on serving those in low-income communities.

“Last Fall, it occurred to me that it would be amazing to offer a month-long “give-back” to listeners – a recording of a short story from a different narrator, for each day of JIAM. So I proposed the project to many of my colleagues, and was thrilled when they were overwhelmingly supportive of the idea,” said Sands. “Shortly after we came together, Karen White suggested that it would be wonderful if the project could also act as a philanthropic effort, and Johnny Heller suggested children’s literacy as a cause. We decided to pursue the fundraising angle, did a bit of research and settled on Reach Out and Read as the beneficiary due to their broad and innovative outreach efforts.”

JIAM is an annual event in its 18th year, started by the Audiobook Publishers Association (APA). Each year, the month of June introduces more and more people to the world of Audiobooks. According to the APA website, in 2011 “75 authors and narrators teamed up with publishers to reach approximately 7.5 million people through all forms of social media (adding to the nearly 4 million reached in 2010).”

“… the quality of professional narration continues to amaze me. Audiobooks are truly performed by their narrator, not merely read. There is full expression of the author’s intent, so for the reader who is looking for an enhanced reading experience, audiobooks can add that extra wonderful layer,” Sands mused. “Also, the prevalence of devices that can play audiobooks make them so convenient to listen to while doing chores, yard work, exercising… you name it!”

With events like Going Public… in Shorts spreading the love for the written (and recorded) word, this year’s month long celebration is sure to give audiobook fans, publishers, and narrators much to look forward to.


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