Dumpster Diving For Bellairs

Thought someone might find this of interest. Our library is starting to get rid of our audiobook on cassette collection. It seems our audiobooks on CD are rendering them obsolete. Our children's librarian was helping a 10-year-old child the other day find Harry Potter books on audio, and when she was informed all we had left on the shelves were cassette versions, the girl replied, "What's a cassette?"



Oh well....

Anyway, this morning I noticed a cartload of these audiobooks on cassette behind my desk getting ready to be discarded. On it I found the Recorded Books version of The Lamp from the Warlocks Tomb. In a blind panic I started looking for the other John Bellairs audiobook titles I knew we owned but none were to be found. I checked our online catalog and found that the rest of them showed the dreaded "withdrawn" status. Where were they? Well, after checking with the person in charge of discarding these materials, I found out she had dumped another cartload in the dumpster outside just yesterday. Within 10 minutes yours truly was standing in a wet (it rained last night) dumpster digging through a bunch of old law books, videotapes, bags of kitchen waste, and coffee grounds. Eventually I turned up The House with a Clock in Its Walls and The Ghost in the Mirror. However, I was unable to find The Face in the Frost or The Mansion in the Mist. May they rest in peace.

Too bad none of these titles were ever released on CD.

RC

Comments

Anonymous said…
You must find a way to rip these to MP3.

Also, perhaps we should ask Dr. Strickland if he or the Bellairs estate knows anything about CD releases of these audiobooks.
Randolph Carter said…
What’s an MP3? Don’t answer that. I wish I could figure out a way to do just that, but I’m not the person for that job. I have trouble turning my PC on some days.

At least I have them save and sound at home. Incidentally, I did manage to save “The Face in the Frost” as well. It was in a trashcan inside the library. No diving necessary for that little gem.

RC
Anonymous said…
I'd be interested to know if anyone well-known did the readings...
bellairsia said…
Of the commercially released titles, we know George Guidall is the narrator of “The Face in the Frost,” “The Ghost in the Mirror,” and “The House With a Clock in its Walls.” He seems to be something of a minor celebrity in the world of audio books.

Someone named Betty Low narrated “The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb” and “The Mansion in the Mist.” We’ve never found anything about her outside these titles.
Patrick C. said…
Fortunately RC, House was released on CD. You can still purchase it on Recorded Books website, amazingly enough!
Jay said…
Libraries infuriate me. When I worked as a children's librarian in the early 90s, I hated weeding the collection and seeing great books and audio being chucked away. I'm shocked this library would literally throw things away and not place them in a sale for the library friends. Truly sad.
Randolph Carter said…
I stand pleasantly corrected. Thanks for clearing that up, Patrick.

RC
Randolph Carter said…
I hear you Jay. Our friends of the library group (F.O.L.) doesn't communicate very well with our staff and pretty much vice versa. It is sad. I'm sure those audios could have found a good home and made some much needed money for F.O.L. as well, but no one wanted to handle it.

RC
James Card said…
When I worked at a local library last year, the same thing happened. They were throwing out all the audiobooks on cassette. I asked my boss if we couldn't just transfer them to CD, but she said they legally couldn't do that.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to get audio cassettes onto mp3. It's just a matter of plugging the cassette player into the microphone/input jack of your computer's sound card and recording on your computer while the cassette is playing.

Lubeltri
claire said…
I'm late jumping on the bandwagon with this comment, but I just discovered that the Bellairs selection at my local library has been whittled down to one lone copy of the Ghost in the Mirror. It was a dark day for me. Less than twenty years ago, I spent many happy hours at this same library perusing the many Bellairs titles that filled an entire shelf.

Appropos of nothing, I remember an interesting display in a Vancouver bookstore after Harry Potter became a household name: a stack of John Bellairs below an enormous placard that read: "Front runners of Harry Potter"
Anonymous said…
The computer program Audacity is an excellent way to rip them to MP3.

Most comp's have an input plug that looks just like a headphones jack (I sometimes get confused about which one to plug the headphones into).
You get one of those double-ended wires, plug one end into the tape player's output, and plug the other end into the computer's input. Then, you tell the computer to record everything it hears from the tape player! Once you are done, you save each chapter as a sound file! A bit time consuming, but an excellent way to archive tapes.

As for the Recorded Books Versions, I think they still sell them on their website. At least they do for Face.

Popular Posts