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Goodbye, AudiobookSYNC

After 14 years, AudioFile’s AudiobookSYNC has come to an end. The teen audiobook program was designed to encourage listening for summer reading programs. Each week during the 10-14 week season, a pair of carefully chosen audiobooks were offered free to be downloaded and kept by the young listeners ages 13 and up. Teachers and librarians brought the program to their communities, and many families added AudiobookSYNC to their summer activities and travel. 

Hunger GamesOver the years of the program, 350 audiobook titles were featured, including many classic titles as well as contemporary YA classics—THE HUNGER GAMES, CODE NAME VERITY, THE POWER OF ONE, THE RAVEN BOYS, PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS, FEED, BLESS ME, ULTIMA, LETTER FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL, and more. American and British classics from Mark Twain to Arthur Conan Doyle, the mainstay of summer reading lists in the early years, were also offered. Brilliant narrators—Jim Dale, Katherine Kellgren, Dion Graham, Michael York, Robin Miles, Stephen Fry, Julia Whelan, and so many others—were showcased in great performances. 

Bless Me Ultima

AudiobookSYNC had more than 30 publisher partners who participated in the program and offered free downloads of the audiobooks. Overdrive was a sustaining delivery partner for SYNC. Although it's difficult to get a totally accurate count of how many teens and YA listeners participated in AudiobookSYNC, more than 70,000 listeners registered with AudioFile, and more than 1.4 million audiobook downloads were served. AudioFile maintains a curated list of reviews of all the Audiobook SYNC titles.

The Raven BoysThe AudiobookSYNC program was started in 2010 when the world of young adult publishing and summer reading lists was very different. Initially brainstorming with several Teen Services librarians (Sharon Grover, Francisca Goldsmith, Mary Burkey at an ALA conference), Robin Whitten and Kirsten Cappy hatched the idea for a summer audiobook listening program. The idea was to have a program that developed the teen audience as listeners, and to encourage audiobooks as an alternative format for summer reading. At the time, there were still some teachers, librarians, and parents who considered audiobooks "cheating." The idea of a thematic pair of titles—a traditional classic and a contemporary YA title—was new and innovative. 

Code Name VerityOver time, YA titles had burgeoning growth, and more diverse and inclusive titles in both fiction and nonfiction were selected for the program. The landscape of YA literature has continued to change, but the thoughtful and imaginative curation of the title choices remained a hallmark of AudiobookSYNC. A particular success over the years is how audiobooks are viewed by parents and teachers. They joined librarians who were early adopters and who knew that the audio medium was valuable as well as being popular.

We say goodbye to AudiobookSYNC but know that many lifelong listeners developed their love of audio listening as teens. AudioFile features two curated lists that offer a spectacular range of listening: Seasons of SYNC and the annually updated Kids & Teens list, which you can peruse by age group. 

SYNC Banner for Audiobook List

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