The Importance of Voice Over Narrators in the Book World

by on May 6, 2015

   With the recent news breaking that Reese Witherspoon will be recording the audio book for Harper Lee’s much anticipated novel Go Set a Watchman (sequel to the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird) it has turned one already huge event into something even bigger. It also has us wondering, how important is a chosen voice over narrator in the book world?

   While you might think that an overwhelming majority of readers pickup actual books to get their literary fix, there is actually still a gigantic market for audio books. Long-distance runners, employees with above average commutes, and a plethora of other non-visually-impaired readers are fans of the audio tracks.

   Some authors, like Miranda July, choose to narrate their own audio books, while many others have professional voice over actors take the reins. It’s an important decision for both authors and publishers to make, as having the right tone can either carry a reader through a book or keep him from ever caring to listen again.

   Reese Witherspoon is a big name to assign to a project as big as Go Set a Watchman, and while she’ll undoubtedly help boost sales in the audio book realm, we’re curious to see if she’ll be able to hold her own when it comes to recording what is sure to be a literary classic.

Featured Image: bostik_/Flickr Creative Commons
  • John Timm

    Choosing a marquee name as a narrator may well draw people to purchase an audio book. However, the narrator of any fiction needs to thoroughly understand the piece they read–or better said–the piece they are interpreting. As in the theatre, it is really a matter of using the qualities of their voice–tone, timbre, volume, inflection–in order to get across to the listener what the author intended, or something very close to that.