Audiobook of the Year

Winner: Audiobook of the Year

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming

Michelle Obama (author and narrator)

Penguin Random House Audio

The success of Becoming at this year’s awards reflects not just the rapturous reception it received, but the new level of professionalism and popularity that the audiobook sector has now reached.

This was an audiobook that got the same five-star treatment as the text version. Penguin Random House Audio—for which this is a second successive Audiobook of the Year, after Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage in 2018—pulled out all the stops, giving the spoken version sales, marketing and publicity strategies of its own, while synchronising with other formats.

PRH started with in-depth research of the book’s likely markets, including two key segments: people whose print or e-book buying had lapsed, and those who had never listened to an audiobook. That led on to activity including effective partnerships with audio retailers including Audible, extensive Apple, radio, podcast and social media advertising, and placements including a spot on Radio 4’s “Book of the Week”.

Obama herself proved to be a superb narrator of her own work—far from a given in the world of autobiographical audio. Her smooth delivery was immensely popular, and added new dimensions to her writing that couldn’t be experienced on the page

Shortlist

  • Milkman
    Anna Burns (author), Brid Brennan (narrator)
    (Faber & Faber) Pitch-perfect narration of the Man Booker winner
  • Their Lost Daughters
    Joy Ellis (author), Richard Armitage (narrator)
    (Audible Studios) A major hit for Audible right through 2018
  • Lethal White
    Robert Galbraith (author), Robert Glenister (narrator)
    (Hachette Audio) The narrator enhances the tone of Cormoran Strike
  • Brief Answers to the Big Questions
    Stephen Hawking (author), Ben Whishaw (narrator)
    (John Murray) Big themes sensitively told
  • First Man In
    Ant Middleton (author and narrator)
    (HarperNonFiction) Over 50,000 downloads for the all-action hero's memoi
  • Becoming
    Michelle Obama (author and narrator)
    (Penguin Random House Audio) Obama herself proved to be a superb narrator of her own work—far from a given in the world of autobiographical audio.

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