Dustin Hoffman, Anne Hathaway, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts all have something in common, and it involves internet giant Amazon.
Audible.com, owned by Amazon, has hired all of these major actors — and others–see list below, to produce “tour de force performances” of new audiobooks, according to Mediabistro’s GalleyCat.
Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman, for example will read Jerzy Kosinski’s "Being There," which is about a man who primarily knows life from watching TV.
Here are the other actors and the books they will be reading for audiobook versions:
Kim Basinger (The Awakening by Kate Chopin)
Annette Bening (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf)
Jennifer Connelly (The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles)
Colin Firth (The End of the Affair by Graham Greene)
Anne Hathaway (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
Dustin Hoffman (Being There by Jerzy Kosinski)
Samuel L. Jackson (A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes)
Nicole Kidman (To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf)
Meg Ryan (The Human Comedy by William Saroyan)
Susan Sarandon (The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers)
Naomi Watts (Summer by Edith Wharton)
Kate Winslet (Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola)
The New York Times’ MediaDecoder blog story about these celebrities reading the books also notes, "Some audio books that have sold especially well have featured a celebrity behind the microphone. Little, Brown & Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, published “Bossypants,” a memoir by Tina Fey, who read the audio book. The audio book has sold more than 150,000 copies, said Anthony Goff, the publisher and director of Hachette Audio. Ms. Fey’s reading of the book — and the intimacy of spending hours one-on-one with a celebrity — have played a huge part in its success, he said."
The Times story adds, " In 2010, sales of downloaded audio books totaled $81.9 million, a 39 percent increase from $59 million in 2009, according to the Association of American Publishers, an industry group."