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MennoMedia releases its first audiobook

   

Mennonite Church Canada/MennoMedia joint release
July 27, 2012
-Melodie Davis

WATERLOO, Ont. and HARRISONBURG, Va.— Just over a year after forming as a new agency, MennoMedia released its first audiobook, and the first audiobook with a Mennonite Publishing House connection for 23 years.

As of July 10, Tobias of the Amish and Emma: A Widow Among the Amish are now available on CD and audio download, read by the author and Mennonite Church USA Executive Director, Ervin R. Stutzman. The audiobooks have been released under the Herald Press book publishing imprint of MennoMedia.

“Audiobooks are often popular with commuters, visually impaired, joggers, multitaskers, and anyone who enjoys listening more than reading,” noted Sheri Hartzler, project manager for the audiobooks and director of electronic media at MennoMedia.

Stutzman, of Harrisonburg, began making audio recordings of the published books on his own time, going to the offices of (then) Third Way Media and sitting in a quiet room arranged by engineer Wayne Gehman. Eventually the recording moved to the studio rooms that are part of the MennoMedia complex, space which is mostly rented to Robby Meadows Studio Productions.  

“It was really a labor of love,” said Stutzman, not knowing at that point whether anyone would produce and distribute the recordings. “Reading my family stories aloud brought back many memories in a more powerful way than when first I wrote them. I hope that these audiobooks will prompt many good family memories to those who listen as well.”

Stutzman is also featured on the July 21 episode of the Shaping Families radio program (www.ShapingFamilies.com) talking about writing these fictional books based on true life. “To write a good family narrative, you need to draw on the memories of many different family members to get a fuller picture,” reflects Stutzman. “You talk about things that you haven’t talked about for a very long time. That drew our family closer together.”

A video of parts of his interview are available online at www.MennoMedia.org/emma.

Emma is already MennoMedia’s top seller in the Kindle ebook platform, and MennoMedia is working on getting ebooks available in a format other than Kindle. “We hope to create future audiobooks with titles that show a good chance of recouping the investment,” said Russ Eanes, executive director of MennoMedia.

The audiobooks for Emma and Tobias each come on eight CDs. Tobias runs 9 hours and 28 minutes, while Emma runs 10 hours and 7 minutes. The readings are complete and unabridged. Each set of eight CDs sells for $28.99. The audio downloads are $19.99 each from the MennoMedia webstore.

MennoMedia formed July 1, 2011 out of the former Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media, with the idea of bringing together electronic media technologies with traditional print media. The last audiobook that was published by Herald Press was Alan Kreider’s Journey Toward Holiness in 1989.

For more information on the books or audiobooks, go to www.MennoMedia.org/store, or call 800-631-6535.

MennoMedia is the publishing ministry of Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA.