Audiobooks saw a rise in popularity last year, with audiences seeking out the best titles to listen to on their one hour of permitted daily exercise. This shortlist sees Penguin Random House Audio secure two spots, but ultimately the list was varied, with the remaining seven spots going to different publishers. A-list actors and Hollywood stars narrate the titles across the board, with publishers often adding exclusive audio content to draw listeners to the format.
Think Like a Monk
In a difficult year, Think Like a Monk drew on Jay Shetty’s time spent as a monk in the Vedic tradition to show readers how to clear roadblocks to unlock their potential and power. Our judges found Shetty’s narration “personal and powerful” and were also impressed by the audio-exclusive content, which included a bonus Q&A with the author and new meditations.
While Shetty had a built-in online following and a popular podcast, “On Purpose”, the HarperCollins NonFiction team aimed to move the author into a more mainstream market. It began early with an extensive pre-order campaign, co-ordinated digital assets around the globe, and worked closely with Shetty on the social media strategy to bring cohesion to the international launch. Their tactics worked and the publisher achieved its highest audio pre-order numbers of all time.
When the pandemic hit, the global tour for the title was cancelled and the April publication was swiftly moved to the autumn to give the team time to construct a new marketing and publicity plan. As a result, they secured spots across radio, TV and podcasts. “Their pivoted thinking needs to be admired,” was the verdict of one judge.
Grown Ups written & narrated by Marian KeyesW F Howes
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, narrated by Chiwetel EjioforBloomsbury
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, narrated by Carey MulliganCanongate
Greenlights written & narrated by Matthew McConaugheyHeadline
Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith, narrated by Robert GlenisterHachette Audio
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, narrated by Lesley ManvillePenguin Random House Audio
A Promised Land written & narrated by Barack ObamaPenguin Random House Audio
Think Like a Monk written & narrated by Jay ShettyHarperCollins
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman & Dirk Maggs, narrated by Riz Ahmed, Michael Sheen et alAudible