Launched in 2011 by a former professor of Russian history and dedicated to sharing knowledge with the public, the New Books Network podcast features academics discussing their latest book with another expert in the field.
Marshall Poe started the NBN to get research material to the public. “A lot of good ideas and scholarship are trapped in these monographs. You won’t find them in local libraries,” he says. “I thought if there was a way to get that information to more people, more would learn what their authors have to teach us.”
Each weekday 10 podcasts are posted, reaching 500,000 listeners worldwide every month. More than 100 topics are available in the NBN library, from political science and philosophy to Islamic studies and sports. They claim to have posted their 10,000th podcast in March which is an outstanding number, however, only 1,000 are available on iTunes.
Regardless of the topic, NBN podcasts aim to be accessible and dedicated to raising the level of public discourse. “There’s a real difference between listening to someone talk about a book they’ve written, and reading their book,” says NBN founder Marshall Poe. “The book comes alive on these shows.”
The most popular NBN subjects are history, political science, philosophy, African American studies, Jewish studies, and Islamic studies, and they publish 50 interviews a week.
The NBN will launch a network in Spanish and plans to create networks in Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, and other languages. In an effort to further the reach of academic publishers, NBN has formed partnerships with Princeton University Press and Oxford University Press.