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Audio: APA Sets Its Schedule
Trudi M. Rosenblum -- 4/3/00
The APA announces its conference schedule and Audiobook Month Poster winner

Penny Chuang's Audiobook Month
poster design won her $1,000
The Audio Publishers Association's annual conference will be June 1 at the Chicago Downtown Marriott Hotel, and the schedule has been announced.

The first session, "Futopia: New Worlds of Interactive Technology," will address the latest in desktop listening (also known as "streaming"), developments from SDMI (the Secure Digital Music Initiative) and the latest technical innovations in automobile PCs, text-to-speech protocols and wireless transmission. Panelists include Don Katz of Audible.com, David Armitage of Qubit Tech and representatives from Microsoft, Real Networks, Toshiba and Motorola.

The next two panels will run simultaneously. "Audio Publishing 201: Evaluating Your Progress" will help publishers analyze their position in the market. Panelists include Alfred Martino of Listen & Live Audio, Geoff Schackert of the Publishing Mills, Jim Brannigan of Brannigan & Associates, audiobook critic Rochelle O'Gorman and Yvonne Schumacher Strejeck of Audio Editions and Audio Partners.

"Alternative Markets and Distribution: Moving Beyond the Bookstore" will discuss alternatives to traditional retailing. Panelists include William Anderson of Ingram Entertainment, Matt Upton of Sounds True, Eric Goss of Amazon.com and a representative from Nightingale Conant.

"Inspect a Gadget: How Do New Audio Technologies Work?" will demonstrate the latest devices for playing audio. Panelists include Judy McGuinn of EarlyChildhood.com, Beth Anderson of Audible.com, Jim Veltman of the American Foundation for the Blind, Dave Logan of XFM (an e-book producer), Bob Carter of Gemstar and a representative from the International Recording Media Association.

Two more panels will be held simultaneously in the late afternoon. "The Growing Library Market" will be discussed by Paul Jobling of Chivers North America, Janet Kosky of Books on Tape, Peg Sullivan of Highsmith and Tim Ditlow of Listening Library. "Safety Nets: Contracts, Copyrights, Licensing and the Internet" will be presented by Jessica Kaye of the Publishing Mills, Jonathan Kirsch of Kirsch & Associates, Jackie Hunt of Global Integrity and others to be announced. All APA conference sessions will be taped and available for purchase on-site and after the show.

The Audie Awards ceremony will also be held on June 1.

The APA has also announced that Penny Chuang, a freelance art director in New York, is the winner of the second annual Audiobook Month poster contest. Chuang won $1,000 for her design, which will be distributed nationally to bookstores, audio-only stores and libraries for Audiobook Month in June. In addition to the poster, the APA will also distribute 220,000 audiobook samplers and other promotional materials. All of the poster designs submitted for the contest will be displayed at the APA conference.

The conference fee for APA members is $95 before April 10, $110 thereafter, and for nonmembers, $160 before April 10, $190 thereafter.

audio bits

Albert's Audiobooks Closes
Albert's Audiobooks in Agoura Hills, Calif., has gone out of business. The store, founded by Amy Bell and named for her dog, Albert, had struggled ever since a mall opened a short distance away several years ago. An avid audiobook fan herself, Bell is highly respected in the audio industry for her knowledge of audiobooks and her handselling of favorite titles.

AudioFile Offers Review Database
magazine has launched an electronic database of its reviews at its Web site, www.audiofilemagazine.com. The database, called AudioFile plus, offers unlimited access to the magazine's complete archive of more than 6,000 full-text audiobook reviews. The database is searchable by title, author, narrator, category, keyword and ISBN number. To use the database, one must be a subscriber to the magazine's enhanced subscription program, which includes bimonthly hard-copy issues of the magazine, the annual Audiobook Reference Guide of industry sources, the annual index of titles reviewed and access to the database. The subscription price for the AudioFile Plus package will be $60 annually; a special launch price of $48 will be offered to the first 500 subscribers.

AFIM's INDIE Nominees
The Association for Independent Music has announced the nominees for this year's INDIE awards, presented to independent recording companies. The spoken word nominees are Sophocles: dipus the King, Naxos Audiobooks; The Alamo, Toy Box Productions; Fawkes's History of Opera, Naxos Audiobooks; All Hands on Deck, Abolition Media; Epic: Stories of Survival from the World's Highest Peaks, Listen and Live Audio.

Gershel Still in Touch with Audio

Although Seth Gershel has resigned his position as senior v-p and publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio (PW, Feb. 21), he will still be involved with the audiobook industry.

"My expectation is to take some time to reflect and then to stay close to the audiobook community as I explore the marriage between audiobooks and other audio content with the Internet and its various forms of distribution," Gershel told PW.

APA president Paul Rush said, "Although many of us in audio were disappointed to hear that Seth left Simon & Schuster Audio, we feel fortunate that he has decided to stay in the audiobook field. There are just a small handful of people who possess Seth's knowledge of the industry, his reputation amongst his peer publishers and his commitment to our industry."

Gershel joined Simon & Schuster Audio in 1986 as director of sales. He was promoted to v-p in 1989 and to senior v-p in 1994. He served as publisher since 1991. In this time, Simon & Schuster Audio has been an industry leader, publishing bestsellers by such authors as Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King and Frank McCourt. The audio imprint has won three Grammy Awards, and McCourt's 'Tis was recently nominated in the Grammy Awards' spoken word category.

During his tenure at S&S Audio, Gershel arranged for S&S's acquisition of the Pimsleur Language Company, negotiated an agreement with the direct mail company NTKR for sale of Pimsleur "English as a Second Language" programs in Japan, negotiated an agreement with audiobook publisher Chivers to create unabridged versions of selected S&S Audio titles for the library market and arranged a content agreement with audio Internet site Audible.com.

In 1986, Gershel was named the first president of the Audio Publishers Association. He served for six years and remained on the APA board until 1998. Gershel can be reached at (212) 769-0421 or at SethGershel@aol.com. Gilles Dana, senior v-p of Simon & Schuster New Media, will be temporarily in charge of audio until a replacement is announced. --T.M.R.
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