Audiobooks are generally read by actors, usually famous and well-liked names such as Stephen Fry (QI) or Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation).
Just occasionally the books are recorded by someone else entirely…
A program held at the California Medical Facility State Prison, Volunteers of Vacaville, or as it referred to by the prison- The Blind Project- has inmates transcribe and record thousands of books for the visually impaired; best sellers, textbooks, mysteries, science fiction, Westerns, children’s books, and cookbooks.
During the 1970s and 1980s it was revealed that notorious serial killer, Ed Kemper, headed the project to help the visually impaired enjoy literature. Kemper spent over 5,000 hours during that time recording several hundred books including: Flowers in the Attic, and Petals on the Wind (V.C Andrews), The Glass Key (Dashiell Hammett), Merlin’s Mirror (Andre Norton), and Star Wars novelisations.
Kemper was awarded two trophies for his dedication to the program from supporters outside the prison.
Ed Kemper, known as the “Co-ed Killer”, is still currently serving his eight consecutive life sentences for the horrific murder of six female college students, as well as his own mother and her friend, having previously served time at the Atascadero State Hospital for murdering his own paternal grandparents.
As if it couldn’t get any worse, Kemper is known for the particularly brutal nature of his killings and for engaging in necrophilia.
It does feel strange to know a serial murderer may be reading a bedtime story somewhere, and that, despite him being a misogynist murderer with deep psychological problems, it seemed it made a positive impact on Kemper himself:
“I can’t begin to tell you what this has meant to me, to be able to do something constructive for someone else, to be appreciated by so many people, the good feeling it gives me after what I have done”.