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In podfic fandom, a cold reading is when a podficcer records a fanfic that they have never seen before. This technique may be done for a challenge or may be the podficcer's preferred reading style. When multiple readers meet to record a podfic together, it is not uncommon for one or more of the readers to be reading cold.
Many podficcers report selecting fanfic to record that they have read at least once if not multiple times. Some (but not all) podficcers read the fanfic aloud before recording.
Cold reading is a term from theatre, where it is far more likely to be used at auditions and rehearsals than for the final performance.