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Best Podcast Books to Launch and Grow Your Show

Take a break from the screens and let your brain shift gears with a new reading list.

You love podcasting, and learning more about it. But, wouldn’t it be nice to get away from your computer for a bit? Instead of gazing at a screen, why not improve your skills with a book or two? You're in? Then, let's look at some of the best podcasting books around.

Best podcast books. Reading a podcasting book on a cozy summer day
Reading podcast books with a cool beverage is less likely to result in tragedy than with a tablet.

Some people learn by listening, others from videos, others from reading text. Books don’t have notifications or ads competing for your attention. They’re wireless, portable, and never need re-charging. Best of all, if you need to stop reading for a moment, they can be easily bookmarked. 

Obviously, “best” is a relative term. The best podcast book for your needs, won't be the same as mine. You and I are different kinds of podcasters, we make different shows. That being said, the sheer quantity and difference in quality of podcast books can be overwhelming.

Let’s take a look at some topics, and narrow down this list of books for podcasters.

Culture and Landscape

Let’s Talk Podcasting by Amanda Cupido provides context as well as practical advice.  Cupido’s experience as a university instructor and in major market radio gives you strategies and setting. 

Podcasting: The Audio Media Revolution compiles interviews with some of the most influential creators in podcasting. Authors Martin Spinelli and Lance Dann let you have a window onto conversations, case studies, and analysis of how podcasting shapes our culture. 

Technology & Gear

The tools you need to record and edit can be intimidating. David Power’s Introduction to Podcast Technology isn’t. This guide helps you start finding the gear you need, without giving you computer vision syndrome

An all-around, solid podcast guide for everything from brainstorming through gear to sustaining your audience, is The Big Podcast by David Hooper. Everything in the podcast landscape changes quickly. This book arrived on the scene in March of 2019. You'd do well to add this book to your reading list.

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Journalism and Audio Documentary Podcasting Books

Without a doubt, Jessica Abel’s Out On The Wire is a valuable approach to podcast craft.

Reality Radio is a compendium of the heavy hitters in audio documentary work. John Biewen and Alexa Dilworth interview radio storytellers to show how broadcast journalism has changed, and become more relevant. 

Jonathan Kern’s Sound Reporting shows the craft specific to NPR. This book lays out the details of how to make a much imitated, but rarely matched, style. 

Turn Up The Volume’s publisher aims this book to journalism students. However, anyone can benefit from Michael O’Connell’s approachable style. His “Down and Dirty Guide to Podcasting” provides tools and techniques, explores formats, and chats with industry experts. 

Interviews are a cornerstone of nonfiction podcasting. The Art of the Interview should be your go-to guide on this art form. Lawrence Grobel’s decades-long career in journalism provides rare insight and strategy to build rapport. Read this, and spin great content with any podcast guest. 

Speaking of nonfiction podcasting cornerstones: you might be interested in the true crime genre.  If so, then How To Start A Podcast is for you. Mike Migas' book about podcasting is chock-full of examples from his experience making a true-crime podcast. As he says, “Don't overthink it, just do it and enjoy the process.” 

Audio Fiction? Audio Drama? Either way, these books are a great escape. 

Another Bloomsbury publication, The Radio Drama Handbook provides history, case studies, exercises and activities, to learn how to craft a great script and bring it to life. Authors Richard Hand and Mary Traynor give you the nuts and bolts of theory and practice, to understand exactly why War of the Worlds scared so many listeners. 

K.C. Wayland of We're Alive is one of the podcast creators in the aforementioned book. Always generous with his knowledge, he’s compiled everything he learned the hard way in Bombs Always Beep. Take a deep dive into story craft to explore Wayland calls “theater for the mind.” 

Let your brain shift gears.

Books are a great way to avoid distraction and eye strain, while consuming and retaining information at your own pace. With these books, not only will everyone at the beach or the pool think you’re a tech wizard, but also they’ll think you’re an old-school intellectual. You don’t even have to wear a tweed jacket. 

Want some more titles for your podcast skill library? Take a look at our top five fiction podcasting books. Can’t get enough of podcast books? In The Podcast Host Academy, you’ll get all kinds of podcasting knowledge, both academic and practical. Plus, you can chat about books in our community forums to your heart’s content. 

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Written by:

Lindsay Harris Friel

July 23rd 2019