The Art of Recording an Audio Book

Making an Audiobook
Win Rosenfeld/NPR

Millions of books every year are consumed not through eyes, but through ears. With the media of podcasts and online audio burgeoning, this industry continues to boom. But what happens before those stories make it into our headphones?

Recently we paid a visit to a Manhattan audio studio to witness the recording of a new book called The Bikeman by first-time author, Tom Flynn. It's the story of how Flynn survived the World Trade tower attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and it's told in the very unconventional form of an epic poem.

Flynn was fortunate enough to get the biggest name in the business to read his work: Jim Dale. He's won two Grammys for his voice work on the audio books of the Harry Potter series. Dale is also the holder of two Guinness World Records: one for having created and recorded 147 different character voices for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and one for occupying the first six places in the Top Ten Audio Books of America and Canada in 2005.

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