Something catchy about audio books

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					                          The Hitchhiker’s Guide to
                          the Galaxy: Primary Phase
                          voted the nation’s favourite
The UK has voted for its favourite audiobook as the classic science fiction tale The
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Primary Phase. The book - also voted the nation’s number
four favourite novel in the BBC’s Big Read poll in 2003 – was originally created as a radio play
by Douglas Adams. First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, today’s poll confirms Hitchhiker’s
place in the comic canon, and is also testament to the power of comedy in audio form.

The winner came from a selection of forty audiobooks which appeared in a special supplement
in The Guardian on 28 June. Members of the public were then invited to vote for their
favourite selected title on a dedicated website, The top five
cover both classic and modern titles and include a range of genres: from modern novels and
radio plays; to the shipping forecast and a Shakespeare study guide. This is a selection that
fully represents and celebrates the diverse appeal and uses of audio.

            The top 5 audiobooks, as voted for by the public, in winning order:

       1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Primary Phase, by Douglas Adams, read
          by a full cast (BBC)
       2. Attention All Shipping, by Charlie Connolly, read by Andrew Jennings (Little,
       3. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, read by Joan Walker and cast
       4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, read by
          Ben Tibber (RandomHouse)
       5. I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue – Anniversary Special, read by a full cast (BBC)

Commenting on The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy taking the top spot, Samantha
Newman, Sales Director from BBC Audiobooks said:

“We are absolutely thrilled that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has been voted as the
public’s number one audio title. It was first released in 1988 and quickly became a cult classic
escalating to become a favourite with audio fans worldwide. We are releasing a digitally re-
mastered edition in November 2008 both in the UK and – for the first time ever –
internationally to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of the first radio broadcast in 1978; to
have won this award and the support of everyone in the industry for the 40 Best Audiobooks
promotion means a great deal.”

Dirk Maggs, producer of the last three series of Hitchhiker’s Guide for BBC Radio 4, and
currently re-mastering the 30th Anniversary edition for the BBC said:

“This is wonderful news and proves how great audio entertainment creates enduring images in
the mind's eye. Somewhere in the Continuum, Douglas is mixing a double Pan Galactic
Gargleblaster to celebrate!”
         7-8 Kendrick Mews London SW7 3HG     Tel: +44 (0) 20 7584 7474 Fax: +44 (0)20 7584 7123
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The initiative to find the nation’s favourite audiobook has been supported by the UK’s leading
publishing houses. Retailers also backed the promotion in store and online, and buyers from
Waterstone’s, Borders and were on the initial judging panel. With a tech savvy
demographic demanding their books in a variety of formats to fit an increasingly hands-free
lifestyle, audiobooks and audio downloads look set to increase in popularity. Sales of
audiobooks have risen steadily in the past five years, with downloads of audiobooks growing
annually (Source: Audio Publishers Association). This trend looks set to continue with more
internet retailers selling audiobook downloads, quicker download times, and the proliferation
of mp3 players and mobile phones which can store audiobooks, enabling content to be
delivered faster and more widely, and in a user-friendly format.

Free Download Week

National Year of Reading launches Free Download Week on 4 August, in association with
The 40 Best Audiobooks. The 2008 National Year of Reading is an initiative designed to
encourage national literacy through a variety of media and celebrates words in every form,
placing audiobooks at the forefront of interactive storytelling. Powered by - the
UK’s biggest provider of downloadable audiobooks - a free, daily-changing download of five
complete audiobooks will be available to the public between 4th and 8th August from Downloads on offer include Horrid Henry’s Stinkbomb by
Francesca Simon, read by Miranda Richardson and Morse’s Greatest Mystery & Other Stories
by Colin Dexter, read by Kevin Whately.

              A selection of authors, actors, producers and industry figures
                     are available for interview or to write features.
     For more information, mp3 samples, review or competition copies of The 40 Best
            Audiobooks, please contact Ann Bissell at Midas Public Relations:
                  email or call 020 7590 8902

         7-8 Kendrick Mews London SW7 3HG     Tel: +44 (0) 20 7584 7474 Fax: +44 (0)20 7584 7123
                              E mail: