While I was in college, I developed something of an addiction to podcasts. Between long stints of studying and some slow commutes on public transportation, I devoured every decent podcast I could find (along with tons of music, of course). The need for audio entertainment only increased during my time working at a warehouse, when I needed to find eight hours of material each day to listen to. Now that I’m back in the world of books, I wanted to put together a semi-comprehensive list of the best podcasts out there on books. I was surprised that after a little bit of googling, I couldn’t find a good list anywhere of podcasts about books and publishing.
I offer this as a list of the best I’ve listened to. I’ve split the links between those put out by publishers (including audio book excerpts) and those that focus on reviews and discussion of various titles, although the split is by no means perfect. Considering my recent advocacy of the medium, I’ve included a separate section with some of my favorite podcasts about comics.
PLEASE use the comments to chime in about your favorite book (and comic) podcasts. I’d love to make keep this list as up-to-date as possible, as well as include every podcast on the subject worth subscribing to.
Interviews, Reviews and Discussion
- NPR : Books collects segments on books, authors and reading from NPR’s morning and evening shows each week.
- NPR : Book Tour features authors reading and discussing their work. NPR also has over a dozen podcasts on books from public radio stations, under the topic “books” on their podcast page.
- Fresh Air is an interview show on NPR, released every weeknight. Interview subject range from actors to musicians to politicians, but authors are featured fairly regularly.
- PRI : To The Best of Our Knowledge, like Fresh Air, isn’t always about books. Still, the subjects of their weekly pieces are often books or authors.
- Guardian Books Podcast is a mix of interviews, readings, and audio from the Guardian’s monthly book club.
- New York Times Book Review is a weekly podcast hosted by NYTBR editor Sam Tanenhaus, and features discussion of new books, bestsellers, and the world of books.
- Slate Audio Book Club features discussions of new and classic books, from the book critics at Slate.com.
- Books on the Nightstand is the weekly podcast by Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness, who write the blog of the same name. Each week of the podcast features discussion of a different book-related topic, along with book recommendations and comments from the blog.
- Barely Literate is “a podcast book club covering all manner of literature with panelists from all over the place.”
- NEA’s The Big Read, the companion to the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program, is a twice-a-month discussion of the current Big Read book pick.
Publishers and Audiobook Samples
- Yale Press releases a monthly show about “arts, letters, ideas, history, and just about everything else on our authors’ minds.”
- Chronicle Books interviews authors of new and upcoming books from the Chronicle catalog.
- Penguin Books US and UK podcasts feature book excerpts and interviews from the publisher’s offices on both sides of the Atlantic.
- Harvard Press : Authors Off the Page is another interview-centric podcast, this time with authors from the Harvard Press.
- New Yorker : Fiction, released on a monthly basis, features readings from, and discussions about, the fiction of The New Yorker magazine.
- Similarly, Esquire Features is audio version of fiction and non-fiction articles from Esquire magazine. However, the Esquire podcast has a focus on classic essays and articles from the periodical.
- Random House Audio Podcast features excerpts from Random House audio books, and is released roughly once a week.
- Escape Pod should fulfill all your sci-fi audio needs; it’s a weekly podcast of science fiction stories from a wide range of authors.
- World War Z is one of my favorite pieces of fiction, and the podcast collects some of the chapters from the audio book edition. The podcast is really worth a listen – the production and acting are top-notch.
- Around Comics is “a weekly roundtable discussion, featuring the very best comic book news, reviews and opinions.” The hosts (Tom, Chris and Sal) consistently put out an entertaining and informative show, and are often joined by writers and artists in the industry.
- iFanboy puts out three different audio podcasts – a weekly “Pick of the Week” podcast (discussing current releases in issues and trades), an interview show called “Talksplode”, and review shows of comic book movies – as well as a weekly video podcast. In addition, iFanboy is an active website with some of the best writing about comic books on the web.
- Word Balloon features in-depth one-on-one interviews with comic creators. Hugely informative and very well done.
- Tom vs. The Flash is an entertaining thrice-weekly podcast done by Tom Katers, one of the hosts of Around Comics. Tom is reading, reviewing and recapping every issue of The Flash for our listening pleasure. Awesome stuff.