Quick & Dirty Results: Do you listen to podcasts?

One of the recent Quick & Dirty Survey questions asked, “Do you listen to podcasts to learn more about books? And if your answer is yes, I’d love to know which ones.”

77% of respondents replied NO. One bookseller replied with this comment:

Nope, not for books, but I listen to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Ask Me Another, Planet Money and Pop Culture Happy Hour, all from NPR. Sometimes they mention books. : )

The respondents who answered YES (23%) included these podcasts among their favorites:

  • Publishers Weekly KidsCast – Interviews with children’s and YA authors conducted by Publishers Weekly children’s reviews editor John A. Sellers. (Publisher’s Weekly offers eight podcasts, listed and linked to here.)
  • Litquake’s Lit Cast – Litquake is San Francisco’s nine-day literary festival for booklovers. Litquake’s Lit Cast is their selection of live recordings from the “Epicenter,” a monthly series which embraces ideas between writers and readers.
  • The Writer’s Block (KQED)
  • New York Times book review – The world’s top authors and critics join Sunday Book Review Editor Pamela Paul in lively conversations about books, arts, and ideas.
  • New Yorker: Fiction – A monthly reading and conversation with the New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman.
  • Books on the Nightstand – A conversational podcast about books between Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman, who both work in the publishing industry.
  • Literary Disco – Writers talk about reading. Hosted by Tod Goldberg, Julia Pistell, and Rider Strong.

One bookseller added, “The only problem is that by far my favorite is Next Chapter from the CBC and it’s all Canadian authors. . . which is great, but it would probably be best to know something about U.S. writers too. ”

This response is so detailed, I’m including it verbatim.

I’m a podcast addict, including a few bookish ones:

  • I listen to the New York Times book review podcast every week. It’s a touch less useful since they tweaked their bestseller list, but still very worthwhile.
  • PW does a podcast each week too. It’s a little less relevant to our customer base than the Times, but I try to listen when I can.
  • NPR aggregates six or eight of its book items each week into a podcast.
  • Fresh Air is outstanding for going in depth with an author. It’s like reading the book, but it only takes 45 minutes. Also, you can often hear Maureen Corrigan’s reviews.
  • And To the Best of Our Knowledge from Wisconsin Public Radio usually has at least one author on a week. And it’s a fantastic show in its own right.
If you want to get Kenton-level nerdy (sorry, K), NPR has an awesome feature that lets you construct a single custom which includes the topics and/or reporters of your choice. So if you wanted to hear, say, everything Alan Cheuse puts out, you could do that.
And finally, we had one bookseller who replied, “Honestly, I don’t know how to listen to a podcast (seriously).”
I don’t think you’re alone. So I’ve created this guide: How to listen to a podcast. Let me know if it doesn’t make sense.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay