AudioFile magazine on REDWOOD AUDIOBOOKS
Lawrence Bauman wanted to surround himself with the most intelligent thinkers on earth, but he settled for getting their wisdom on audio. Bauman and his wife, Margy, are the co-founders of Redwood Audiobooks and Audio Scholar, and they can count among their “clients” Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, and Friedrich Nietzsche.
In 1989, the Baumans took out a second mortgage on their Mendocino home to record the public domain works of famous authors for a series they called Listen to Genius! They did it because no one else was doing it, says Bauman, and he figured the company would become famous by association: “How could I lose? Every public library would buy our products, for how could they not buy Darwin, Einstein, and Freud?”
It worked. They started to get the literary equivalent of street cred. In the early 1990’s, they released a series of audiobooks called Black Americans of Achievement, with works on Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and Malcolm X. By 1995, Redwood had picked up awards for Listen to Genius! and two other awards from Publishers Weekly.
Want more modern geniuses? Starting in 1995, for the University Press series, the Baumans released works by Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker, Richard Feynman, and Stephen Hawking. “The University Press series won the Best Continuing Series Award from Publishers Weekly,” says Bauman. “Jared Diamond's Gun, Germs, and Steel, narrated by Grover Gardner, became our bestseller.”
This niche company has since co-published audiobooks with numerous publishers including Wiley Audio and Penton Overseas, McGraw-Hill, American Media International, and Time Warner. Perhaps their most unusual series is Field & Stream Audiobooks, featuring classic and contemporary fishing and outdoor titles.
The Baumans carefully choose their narrators, provide top-notch studio equipment, use excellent source material, and then let nature take its course.