I feel like you can't really consume non-fiction books in an audio-book format. Maybe there are a few. But most books just don't do well that way. More importantly, the books that a permie cares about are not currently in audiobook format.
One thing that occurs to me is, books with zero pictures are probably much more appropriate to the podcast style than books with pictures. Also, books with a more conversational tone (vs. an academic tone).
For example, here's an excerpt:
Familiar to many gardeners is the Native American triad of corn, beans, and squash, a combination often called the Three Sisters. The trio qualifies as a guild because each of these plants supports and benefits the others. The cornstalks form a trellis for the bean vines to climb. The beans, in turn, draw nitrogen from the air, and via symbiotic bacteria convert the nitrogen to plant-available form. These nitrogen-fixing bacteria, scientists have recently learned, are fed by special sugars that ooze from the corn roots. The rambling squash, with its broad leaves, forms a living parasol that densely covers the ground, inhibiting weeds and keeping the soil cool and moist. Together the Three Sisters produce more food, with less water and fertilizer, than a similar area planted to any one of these three crops in isolation. Jane Mt. Pleasant, an agronomist at Cornell University who has blended her Iroquois heritage with her research, has shown that yields of this guild, measured in calories, are about 20 percent higher than corn grown alone in an equal-sized plot.
Can you imagine hearing that read out loud? Yeesh, makes me sleepy just thinking about it! But it works in print. (It would also work, I think, as a voice-over on video.)
So, for what that's worth, I think some books are definitely more amenable to an audio treatment than others.
I agree with Mike about some books being more suitable, related to pictures and illustrations.
I'll add part of the problem might be on the awareness side. This is the first I've known about the podcast.
I learned about Botany in a Day only earlier this year and I'm slowly going through the online families right now. I'll be grabbing this podcast now that I know about it.
It might be beneficial to promote everything you offer on social media.
Twitter (through tweet deck) and Facebook pages allow pre-written, scheduled posts. Posts on these two go a long way. It takes a bit of time to set up scheduled posts but then it's done and you can go about your day while social media advertises for you. Pinterest is an even bigger promotional tool once you have a following. Gardening and related topics are big on Pinterest.
I think this is a fantastic format, and thank you for putting up the Sepp Holzer podcast gob free to the daily-ish folks. I have paid for some of the other gobs and loved them. I read along with Gaia's Garden and then listened to the corresponding podcasts as well. It's like a study group. If you ever planned to do this with the Designer's Manual, i think that would be your most popular gob. People would pay for that. I know I would. it's hard to read otherwise.
I purchased all the podcasts and am working my way through. So far I have been enjoying the reviews of Sepp's book and Gaia's Garden. I'm sure I would listen to future reviews of good quality books. I think it helps to here what other people (especially Paul ) think and have to say about the books even after having read them already. Gives a new way of looking at what was said and puts emphasis on some parts that are especially good which I may have not paid good enough attention to.
As far as I am concerned, keep up the book review pod casts!
I think to reviews are great. It would be awesome if you could give a more in depth review for us lazy people who don't like reading. But that would most likely end with a lawsuit. But from the reviews I bought 2 of the books.
Agree serial/chapter/section audio reviews are a good learning tool. (And thank you, Paul and Jocelyn and others, for taking the time to do and share them.)
Reviews can help interested persons decide whether or not to read a book, or what parts, can help readers focus their reading (if the review is read first), and can help readers reinforce, retain and sometimes examine more critically what they've read (when the review is read afterward). The latter can lead to the reader to question something they'd read that s/he might not have otherwise, which, in turn, could lead him or her to post a possibly interesting question in the podcast forum thread, and further discussion/learning, which, I assume, is the whole point .
Using self as an example, the podcast reviews reissued through the daily-ish emails over the past several months led me and my partner to buy and read Gaia's Garden and Sepp Holzer's book on permaculture much sooner than we would have otherwise. And, I think I might even post a nagging ? I have about Toby's assertion, "every bit of food, every scrap of lumber, each medicinal herb or other human product that comes from someone's yard means that one less chunk of land outside one hometown needs to be denuded of natives and developed for human use." (Page 12, 2d ed.)
My only concern, and I don't know what one does about it, is the tendency we all have to feel as though listening to the reviews is somehow a substitute for reading the book. The reviews aren't a substitute of course, and aren't intended to be a substitute, and I guess listeners should probably just keep that in mind.
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