SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A major publishing house thinks that combining two old forms of media - books and vinyl records - might be a great way to win over more young fans. HarperCollins is releasing a vinyl edition of Amy Poehler's "Yes Please" in September. As NPR's Lynn Neary reports, it is one part marketing and one part legitimate experiment.
LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: Amy Poehler is very funny and so is her best-selling memoir.
(SOUNDBITE OF ALBUM, "YES PLEASE")
AMY POEHLER: (Reading) So far, the only good things I've seen come out of this recent technological renaissance are video chatting with your grandparents, online dating and being able to attend traffic school on your computer.
NEARY: Among the excerpts that will be included in the vinyl edition of "Yes Please" is Poehler reading from the book before an audience. And HarperAudio publisher Ana Maria Allessi says this edition is designed to catch the eye as well as the ear.
MARIA ALLESSI: It's got a hot-pink disk. It's got a really nice photo montage in the sleeve. The book as object, the LP as object, that's a lot of what you see happening in the physical world, in the physical offering. So if we were going to do it, we were going to have some fun with it.
NEARY: Allessi says Poehler's book has been popular across age groups, but she noticed it had a lot of young readers. As the mother of a 16-year-old, Allessi also noticed that kids like vinyl.
ALLESSI: We all know one or more young teenagers who are thrilled with this whole concept of vinyl and LPs and, you know, going into their room and closing the door and turning it up.
NEARY: This is not the first time a major publishing company has experimented with vinyl. About five years ago, Hachette Audio released a vinyl edition of live readings by another popular author, David Sedaris.
(SOUNDBITE OF ALBUM, "LET'S EXPLORE DIABETES WITH OWLS")
DAVID SEDARIS: (Reading) If anything should be bracketed by matching bookends, I suppose it's an author tour. And it's telling that on this latest tour, I started and finished at the Costco.
NEARY: Hachette Audio's publisher is Anthony Goff. He says a limited printing of a few thousand copies quickly sold out. Goff says the vinyl edition was both a collectors' item and a great listening experience.
ANTHONY GOFF: You get a little bit of flavor too, with a live performance. And, you know, that crackle of the vinyl really takes you back to, you know, maybe listening to some old George Carlin or something on vinyl back in the day.
NEARY: At HarperCollins, Ana Maria Allessi has something bigger up her sleeve. You see, HarperCollins holds the vinyl rights to the Caedmon Collection, a treasure trove of spoken word recordings by such literary heavyweights as Dylan Thomas, James Joyce and William Faulkner, here, reading from "As I Lay Dying."
(SOUNDBITE OF ALBUM, "CAEDMON COLLECTION")
WILLIAM FAULKNER: (Reading) And then she went, and taking that lace-trim nightgown she had had for 45 years and never wore out of the chest and put it on and laid down on the bed and pulled the covers up and shut her eyes. You all will have to look out for Pa the best you can, she said, I'm tired.
NEARY: People love the Caedmon recordings, says Allessi. And she's secretly hoping that the Amy Poehler vinyl edition is popular enough to pave the way for new releases of those old LPs. Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.