Here's an interesting idea: Macmillan’s audio division has launched a summer campaign to encourage book clubs to listen to rather than read their picks. Nearly 50 book clubs in 30 states have participated. Per a Macmillan press release:

Reading groups are discovering different ways to fit in their monthly picks: on headphones while exercising, in the car during a long drive or on their daily commutes, or while multi-tasking around the house. Wherever they choose to listen, book clubs will come together with a whole new dynamic to add to the traditional reading group discussion: Did listening add to the experiences of the book? How well did the narrator "fit" the characters' personas?

Macmillan Associate Publicist Stephanie Hargadon noted that this is the first campaign of its type at Macmillan, but this year's participation has been so high that it may become an annual program. (And a fun fact: a group near BookPage from Franklin, TN, listened to Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. If you're in that book club and you're reading this blog, have you created book club profile on BookPage.com?!)

Does your book club ever make a point to listen to audio books? Does that experience enhance your discussion? Let us know in the comments section.

By the way, in other audio book news, Woody Allen has recorded audio versions of his essay collections, which are now available for purchase on Audible.com and iTunes. Don't think for a second that Allen is much of an audio book spokesperson, though, as he is quoted in the New York Times as saying that he "hated every second" of making voice recordings. (In jest? It's hard to tell with Allen.) "There is no substitute for reading," he said, "and there never will be. Hearing something aloud is its own experience, but it’s hard to beat sitting in bed or in a comfortable chair turning the pages of a book, putting it down, and eagerly awaiting the chance to get back to it."

As you probably already know, BookPage has both an audio and a book club column—click the links to read the July editions.

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