The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Professor launches new audiobook site

Photo+courtesy+by+Findaway+Voices%2FUnslpash
Photo courtesy by Findaway Voices/Unslpash

Logan Evans
managing editor

Over the summer, NW associate professor of Spanish Mayra Fuentes ran into a problem.
She wanted to read books while running on her treadmill, but she found herself getting dizzy trying to make out the words on the page. To fix this, she turned to an alternative that more and more readers are considering — audiobooks.

But just listening wasn’t enough for Fuentes.

“Why can’t I be the one telling the stories?” she thought.

The idea spurred the creation of TheBibliophileSite.com, a website Fuentes runs where she edits, narrates and publishes her own audiobook adaptations of Spanish-language works. The site launched in August, and has two titles available, with two more on the way.

“It’s been interesting since everything is happening so fast,” she said.

When the idea first struck her during the summer, Fuentes built a recording studio in her bedroom with the help of her husband. She learned every step of the production process herself — narrating, recording, editing and more — which proved to be a challenge.

“When you start recording audio, all you see is waves,” she said. “When you’re typing and you make a mistake, you can go back and delete the words. But when listening to waves, you need to learn a whole new system.”

The first book Fuentes produced was a children’s story called “Los Misterios Mayas,” or “The Mayan Mysteries” by author Carolina Aros. The book tells the story of an Argentinian kid visiting Mexico, where he learns the history of the Mayan civilization. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure book, which means Fuentes had to find a way to translate multiple endings to an audio format.

“I had to record that book chapter by chapter, so the listener can click on a different chapter depending on which one they want to go to,” she said.

The second book Fuentes produced is called “Valores en Un Minuto” or “Values in a Minute,” a collection of short stories by author Ana Maria Martinez on how to enjoy life. Fuentes found she had to record several parts multiple times due to her voice breaking from emotion.

NW Spanish professor Alejandro Garza believes Spanish-speaking students have a lot to gain by listening to audiobooks in their own language that deal with helpful and sensitive topics.

“A lot of times, we feel more connected when we express ourselves with people who also speak Spanish,” he said.

In addition to audiobooks, TheBibliophileSite.com features a catalog of e-books on topics like mental health and self-help.

Such books can be a helpful resource in trying times, said NW assistant director of library services Jim Baxter.

“I don’t think they really replace print materials,” he said. “But certainly with the pandemic these last 18 months, e-resources and e-books have been really important to us.”

Fuentes’ third audiobook, a religious-themed self-help book, will be released in the coming weeks.

“You learn things. That’s the purpose of it,” she said. “You get a little learning from each story.”

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