UPDATE APRIL 20:
I love being a part of this community. I started LBP to give back and help support others walking the same road, but being an Aussie male who is a little odd at the best of times I sometimes worry that what I think is good may not resonate with those I’m creating it for, which is why I was so thrilled to get so many replies to the survey about audiobook readers.

A few people asked me to reveal a few findings so I thought I would share both my basic methodology, as well as the things I found fascinating as I collated the results.

I started working on this almost 6 months ago when I asked about audio books. I’d make progress, listen to samples, they weren’t quite right, get crippling anxiety at the logistics and scope of it all, leave it a few weeks, and continue on again. I have a bad habit of trying to do everything myself and not bother others, so the warm response I had to this was so heartwarming. Thank you.

Methodology

I was sent 8 samples to consider. I had a listen and straight away there was a couple I rather liked, and a few I really didn’t. I put them all in the survey in a random order, not knowing which was which. If a reader was selected they got 1 point. If they were mentioned as a favorite they got an additional 2 points. If several were mentioned in the comments about a favorite I used judgment to assign 2 or 1 to each depending on the comments. If a reader was mentioned as the least favorite they got 2 points. I’m sure if you’re an expert in this stuff you’ll see lots of errors with how I did it (and I’d love to hear it, I’m a nerd, this stuff is fascinating!) but I thought it would get a reasonably count of favorite and least.

I had a listen again and made my notes to compare with everyone else, then started the tally. After looking at over 200 replies that morning, 2 readers had over 200 points, two were around 100, two around 40, one under 10, and the last -60. It was rather reassuring that my notes matched those of the average responder. I then culled the list for people to consider down to the top four and randomly changed the numbering.

The last results followed the same pattern as earlier, when I closed the second poll the leader had around 70 points, next around 60, then 10 and -60. The top two were in the same order as earlier.

My thoughts

You’re all amazing people!

I launched the survey around 10 pm my time, then went to bed and was blown away when I woke the next morning to so many responses. In all, over 300 people replied to a single FB post in 24 hours.

Only the question about which reader could you see yourself listening to and whether there was a favorite was required. 95% of people also answered the question about their least favorite, and about 80% left extra comments.

The comments you made were thoughtful, considerate, and so helpful. I can’t even express the feelings inside as I read them. I really appreciate it.

You’re incredibly kind!

Not just for helping me, but when making negative comments almost all of you apologized or had a disclaimer. I wanted honesty, I don’t know any of the readers, and I didn’t like some of their deliveries myself, so I didn’t mind at all. Any criticism, even of my work, as long as it’s constructive is really appreciated. All of your big hearts really came through. Thank you.

You can’t please everyone.

This was my main takeaway from church leadership training. The head pastor didn’t like it too much when I kept quoting it back when he wanted me to change things in how I ran the youth ministry, but it was valuable advice.

Six of the readers were ‘just how I imagine Charlotte Mason sounded’ to some of you and almost all of those six were also ‘not how I think Charlotte Mason sounded’ to someone else. For everyone who found a voice harsh and robotic others found it warm and comforting. Reading them all was really fascinating, and really comforting in an odd way. No matter what you do, just because someone doesn’t like it doesn’t mean everyone doesn’t.

You were rather consistent.

I was half thinking there might be a polarising reader who would maybe not get the most votes in the first question, but take over in the second because those that loved them really loved them, but the same readers consistently had about the same ratio of votes in both listen and favorite.

Everyone was united in not being a fan of a few readers. I didn’t like them either but left them in to see if it would get comments and if they wouldn’t get votes. It helped me see that people took it seriously (and I’m so grateful for that!).

You had amazing suggestions.

There were so many suggestions I would never have thought of, some that I’ll try to action, others that I would really love to, but fear they might add too much cost (I’ll consider and make sure), and some that might not be something I can do with this project, but will change how I approach the next. I have read everything, but will read over it all again with a view to the top readers.

Thank you

I’m going to talk to the top readers, pass on any feedback that came up of things that could be improved and make sure they’re comfortable with that, then keep on moving. Things will hopefully go quickly now.

If you have specific questions please let me know and I’ll see what I can do to answer them. I have orders to pack now so should get on that…

And the winning sets?

Almost all the replies were so helpful that the scale to be considered the top keeps shifting. I’m guessing I’ll give a few extra away also, but I’ll sort that and the random winner out once recording is under way…

EDIT APR 19: The survey is closed. Thanks so much to all who helped me out. I’ll update this to share things I found interesting in the morning. I really appreciate everyone who took the time to answer everything.



ORIGINAL APRIL 18:
Ever since I brought Charlotte Mason’s Home Education series back into print I’ve wanted to make it even easier for people to fit this great work into their everyday lives. If we could listen to a calming UK accent sharing CM’s words while we did the dishes, or ran errands, then we would have so many more opportunities to absorb her wisdom.

With this in mind, I’ve been working on making a complete set of professionally recorded audiobooks available. Six books, one quality reader for a cohesive feel and sound, almost 70 hours of finished product. I want it to be easy to listen to, not like a lecture, but like a trusted mentor sharing a hot drink and the wisdom she’s accumulated through her years. The books can be heavy reading at times, so I want a reader that makes it easy to listen to.

Doing a project of this magnitude requires not just a huge time commitment, but also a large financial outlay so I need to make sure I pick the reader that will best resonate with listeners.

Please listen to the following samples and fill out the below survey to help me choose. One lucky helper will win a full set of the audio books as my way of saying thank you. (If for some unlikely reason the project doesn’t go ahead I’ll give you a voucher to my store).

The sample is from the short synopsis of the educational principles in A Philosophy of Education.

Thank you so much,

Anthony