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Podcast spotlight: Dymocks Podcast

Established in 2012, the Dymocks Podcast includes author interviews and conversations about the world of books and publishing. Released on a weekly basis, and with an extra condensed video version of each episode, the podcast recently adopted a new format and is currently hosted by Anika Berkman, Dymocks’ digital and community coordinator. She spoke to Books+Publishing for our ‘podcast spotlight’ series.

For new or uninitiated listeners, describe your podcast in under 50 words.

The new-format Dymocks Podcast is made by book lovers, for book lovers! We include book reviews, discussions of interesting trends and exciting news from the world of books and publishing, and interviews with a range of local and international authors.

What makes your podcast unique?

The variety! We interview a wide range of authors, from local debuts to international bestsellers. Plus, at the start of each episode, I bring in different members of the Dymocks team to chat about the books they’re reading and weigh in on the topic of the day. Having so many different perspectives (and so many good books to talk about) means that every single episode feels fresh and exciting. For example, in one episode, we reviewed Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) , discussed how to predict a bestseller, and interviewed the winner of the 2018 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award.

When and how did you get started in podcasting?

I have a background in music and audio production from earlier in my career, and had co-hosted and produced a history/storytelling podcast on the side. I’d been a subscriber to the Dymocks Podcast for years before I joined the team and was thrilled to get the chance to take it on.

Where and how is your podcast recorded (and how big is your team)?

I record in the Dymocks Head Office in Sydney with nothing but a microphone and a strong cup of tea! We also have a filming space in the office for authors where we film a condensed version of the interview. This gives our Facebook and Youtube followers a taste of what they can expect from the full interview.

What kind of listeners does your podcast reach?

Our audience is made up of avid readers and writers, our Booklovers Rewards members, and many episodes get an extra boost from the author’s fans. We are seeing that audience grow with each episode of the new format, as subscribers come back for every discussion rather than picking and choosing which author interview to listen to.

What have been your most popular guests or most memorable episodes?

Before we adopted this new format, the Dymocks Podcast had more than 200 author interviews and many of them remain incredibly popular. The episodes featuring Jane Harper, Rosie Waterland, Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins are being downloaded constantly. Since I started hosting the podcast I’ve met some incredible authors and had some fascinating discussions, but the YA fantasy writer Victoria Aveyard who wrote Red Queen (Hachette) deserves a special mention. She was delightful, incisive, unafraid to speak plainly about her online critics and happy to share some hilarious personal stories. We published that episode to coincide with the release of her new book, War Storm (Hachette).

What recent trends have you noticed in podcasting? (Do you have any predictions for this format in the future?)

The rise in live podcast recordings is really interesting! I can see producers leaning towards formats (and hosts) that perform as well on stage as they do in the studio. It’s a very tricky balancing act, as you need to maintain the unscripted authenticity of your studio discussions with strict time constraints, and entertain the audience while you’re at it. When it works, it’s brilliant!

Why do you think people are drawn to this format?

I think it’s a mix of convenience, curated content and authenticity. Whether you’re listening to a highly researched, slickly produced podcast or a casual chat between friends, there’s something to meet the needs of every listener.

What plans do you have for your podcast going forward?

We hope to have a broader range of guests to join our discussions including publishers, editors, designers, illustrators and booksellers.

What other bookish podcasts should we be listening to, Australian or otherwise?

For brilliant author interviews, you can’t go past Conversations with Richard Fidler and Sarah Kanowski, as well as ABC’s The Bookshelf. Some of our wonderful staff at Dymocks Adelaide have started their own podcast, Shelf Talkers, which we love! And if you’re a fan of all things nonfiction, try the hilarious and informative No Such Thing as a Fish by the brilliant researchers behind the television QI.

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Category: Features