UKEMI AUDIOBOOKS is a digital label for the spoken word founded by Nicolas Soames. It presents fiction and non-fiction titles which are either unavailable as downloads or which need fresh, clear and authoritative recordings. They range from C J Jung’s important autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections and Seneca’s The Moral Epistles, to Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks and Samuel Beckett’s Murphy. For details of all releases click on the CATALOGUE tab. All titles can be downloaded from Audible.
The New Ukemi Audiobooks Programme
Now under the ownership of W.F. Howes, Ukemi Audiobooks is preparing a full programme of new titles for 2023. Four recordings have been released so far on Audible: The Poverty of Historicism by Karl Popper, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, by Max Weber, The Jewish War by Josephus and Poor Folk by Dostoyevsky. They demonstrate Ukemi’s ever-widening range of classic non-fiction and fiction.
The Poverty of Historicism is the third volume of Karl Popper we have done. In fact, none other than Arthur Koestler remarked extravagantly when it first appeared in print in 1957, “Probably the only book published this year which will outlive the century”. A bit of an overstatement, perhaps, but it has proved a significant contribution to the social sciences, criticising the belief that there are laws of development in history discoverable by human beings – a view underpinned by fascist and communist views. The text is clearly presented by Martyn Swain.
For those who don’t know it, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, written at the start of the 20th century, was another influential sociological statement. When read with hindsight, one can only nod in agreement with so much of Weber’s thesis.
The welcome received by Ukemi’s The Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus prompted a new recording of The Jewish War – a truly devastating account of the painful and fated conflict against the Romans. It is all the more powerful an account because Josephus himself witnessed the events –remarkably seeing it from both sides, the Jews and the Romans.
Finally – Poor Folk, Dostoyevsky’s first novel, published in 1846. Then a journalist, commercial need as much as anything else prompted him to start on a novel, but it made his name. Epistolary in form, it presents a dialogue of letters between an older man Makar Devushkin and a young woman, Varvara Dobroselova, living virtually opposite each other. Its significance, and its success, was sociological in effect, because breaking away from the convention of displaying middle, or upper class life, it uncovered the realities of the poor, the insecure, the needy, desperately trying to survive and make a life in a challenging urban environment. Jonathan Keeble and Julie Teal convincingly take the roles of the couple.
A regular pattern of monthly releases will continue throughout 2023.
New Owners at Ukemi Audiobooks and Dharma Audiobooks
The world of audiobooks is changing as more and more people turn to listening to their books, for entertainment, for enrichment and for study. This is equally true of the specialist range offered by Ukemi Audiobooks which, since it began in 2015, has seen titles, sales and regular listeners grow considerably.
It is to further this expansion that Ukemi Audiobooks, and its sister label Dharma Audiobooks have been acquired by RBMedia, the largest audiobook publisher in the world. Ukemi Audiobooks will continue as an imprint under the UK-based W. F. Howes, an RBmedia international publishing brand and Dharma Audiobooks will be a sub-imprint under Ukemi Audiobooks. The change took effect on 1 January 2023.
Nicolas Soames comments: ‘It was clear to me that both labels would really benefit from the greater resources that W. F. Howes and RBmedia can provide. I was encouraged and pleased to find that such a large organization was genuinely interested in these specialist corners of the audiobook community and know that these two labels are in capable hands.”
Miles Stevens-Hoare, Managing Director for RBmedia International, said, “Ukemi Audiobooks and Dharma Audiobooks titles have generated worldwide interest since their inception in 2015. We look forward to developing this field of publishing as we work alongside Nicolas.”
Nicolas Soames is continuing to fulfil a consulting role with both labels.
The first titles under the new programme will be released March.