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Over the last decade, one of the most ascendant forms of media has been the podcast. Named for being a broadcast for an ipod, the medium has grown into an industry that literally anyone with a computer can become a part of. But the upper echelons bring with them larger successes, and for many of the most recognizable names, that has also lead to book deals. Today we look at some podcasts that have made the jump to paperback.


Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After ‘Serial’, by Rabia Chaudry / a portrait of a young Arab manIf you asked someone who doesn’t listen to podcasts to name a podcast, they’d probably say Serial. The first season of the true crime podcast (itself a spinoff series from This American Life) remains the most downloaded podcast in history, and won a Peabody award in 2015. The story of Hae Min Lee’s murder and the conviction of her boyfriend Adnan Syed took the culture by storm, and the podcast’s serial nature reinvigorated watercooler office chats as people listened and waited to find out what happened.


Adnan’s conviction was overturned, in part due to the evidence laid out in the podcast, but was eventually reinstated. His story was retold in Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After ‘Serial’, by Rabia Chaudry, for anyone looking for closure from the series. 


Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark / white letters on a black backgroundIf True Crime is of interest, My Favorite Murder is a different kind of podcast. Hosted by comedians and writers Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the format is simple: each episode, they take turns telling the other about a murder, while the other reacts. The all too true and tragic and horrible details of the stories are punctuated by the hosts riffing and joking about the insane details of the stories.


They present these tales, often featuring female victims, from a feminist perspective. Their goal, other than to entertain, is to educate their largely female audience on how these killers operate and how to avoid becoming a victim yourself. Their motto, Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, is also the name of their book, published in 2019. The book shifts away from their podcast and is equal parts memoir and self help book, again looking to educate their audience on how to both “stay sexy” and “don’t get murdered.” 


Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant  / white and black letters on a red backgroundStuff You Should Know was born from How Stuff Works, a website which explained… well, how stuff works. Editors Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant started their podcast in 2008, in the still early days of the medium, re-purposing content that had originally been intended for the website. Featuring heavily researched episodes on scientific and cultural topics, the success of SYSK lead to the creation and expansion of Stuff Media podcasts, including The Daily Zeitgeist, a daily current affairs show; and Movie Crush, also hosted by Bryant, an in-depth look into films and filmmakers.


Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things was published in Nov 2020, and with snappy illustrations and their quirky way of explaining things, breaks down the how’s and why’s of daily life. How do earbuds work? Where did Murphy beds come from? What is the deal with facial hair? All questions you might not have thought to ask, but all stuff you should know. 


No Such Thing as a Fish Book of the Year 2019 by the QI Elves / white letters exploding out of a red backgroundIf it is facts you want, one of the best podcasts out there is No Such Thing as a Fish, a weekly podcast from the QI Elves. QI is a long running British comedy quiz show, previously hosted by Stephen Fry and currently hosted by Sandi Toksvig (whom viewers might recognize as one of the hosts of the Great British Bake Off). The Elves, otherwise known as James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber, are the researchers for the show, and the podcast originally began as a place to showcase the facts they had discovered but hadn’t made it to air. The podcast is a perfect blend of rapid-fire comedy and knowledge, with the four hosts waxing at length on topics like the most foul tasting drink in the world (Jeppson's Malört), the origins of the name Chernobyl, or continuously explaining to Dan why Bigfoot doesn’t exist.


Since 2017, Fish has put out a new book every year, just before Christmas, filled with their random number of favourite facts from the past year. Book of the Year 2019 and Book of the Year are good books to have around for trivia nights.


, My Dad Wrote a Porno: the fully annotated edition of Rocky Flintstone’s Belinda Blinked by Jamie Morton, Alice Levine and James Cooper / gold, elegant letters on a red backgroundStaying on that side of the pod, one of the funniest podcasts in recent years is My Dad Wrote a Porno. The podcast is simple: Jamie Morton discovered that his father had written and self-published an erotic novel on Amazon under the name 'Rocky Flintstone'. Each episode, Jamie reads a chapter of Belinda Blinked to his friends Alice Levine and James Cooper, who react accordingly. The book is horrifically written, utterly non-erotic, and skeleton-quakingly funny. Each episode should come with a warning that you might pee yourself.


The success of the show (and the number of people who downloaded the book to read along) meant that Rocky actually achieved his goal of being a published author. In 2016, My Dad Wrote a Porno: the fully annotated edition of Rocky Flintstone’s Belinda Blinked was published in the form of a study guide, with the hosts of the show providing comments throughout the text. 


The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt / gold letters in a black square in front of a drawing of a busy city streetOne of the most acclaimed and distinguished podcasts of the last decade has been 99% Invisible, by Roman Mars. And not just because Roman’s voice sounds like auditory chocolate. This fascinating podcast delves deep into the hidden aspects of design and architecture, highlighting those aspects to life that make life livable but go purposefully unseen. Things we would encounter everyday like the quite importance of area codes, or the concept of jaywalking, to more esoteric topics like a lightbulb in California that has been on for 113 years.


Last year Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt published The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, described as an anatomist guide to modern living. While it lacks Roman’s dulcet tones, it contains 400 pages of hidden beauty all around us. 


These are but a few, a scratching of the surface of successful podcasts that have been published of late. We late the time or space to discuss the numerous books written by the prolific McElroy Brothers; the continuing legacy of Welcome to Nightvale; or the risk and lore of Risk, and Lore! Happily, he have put together Slist 44200 which contains these and other podcast inspired books for your collections. Happy listening and reading.


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

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