Tag Archives: audiobooks

Publishers experiment with audiobook-only productions

A growing number of publishers are skipping books entirely and going straight to audio — at least some of the time.

Anthony Goff, senior vice president of content development and audio publisher at Hachette Audio, makes the trend sound a bit like looting the mansion for hidden treasure. “We’re asking our best-selling authors, and all of our authors, about old stories, short stories that were never published, plotlines that changed,” he says. “Things they might find in their desk drawer that they could record in audio.”

Hachette and others are hoping to gain sound advantage from the flourishing market for audiobooks by either skipping the printed word entirely, or saving the print and e-book release until the audio version has run its course.

And no wonder. Audiobook publishers saw the third consecutive year of sales growth nearing 20 percent, with revenue of more than $2.1 billion in 2016, according to recent Audiobook Publishers Association-commissioned surveys by Edison Research and Management Practice. Sales of print books, which remain a far larger market than audiobooks, rose for the third consecutive year as well, Nielsen BookScan reported, but that was by 3.3 percent in 2016.

Audiobook listeners are a hot demographic, with almost half — 48 percent — younger than 35. Edison Research reported listeners completed an average of 15 books in 2016, marking them as avid “readers.” Plus, there’s room for growth in the audiobook segment; 24 percent of Americans listened to an audiobook in the past year.

Publishers acknowledge that podcasts have opened up the horizons of what’s possible.

“We’re wondering if books drawn from podcasts might be the new hot thing,” said Jamie Leifer, associate publisher of PublicAffairs, part of Hachette. She notes the remarkable advance sales for “The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic” by Mike Duncan, host of “The History of Rome” podcast for 10 years, and, since 2013, the podcast, “Revolutions.”

“We weren’t sure if Mike’s avid fans would convert to readers,” Leifer said in an email. “But I’m thrilled to say that they have.” Two months before the book’s Oct. 24 release date, PublicAffairs had “racked up the kinds of pre-orders in hardcover, e-book and downloadable audio that Hachette usually sees for anticipated franchise fiction releases, not serious history titles.”

The crossover between podcasts and audiobooks is a natural, data from Edison Research suggests: Survey respondents who listened to both had consumed twice as many audiobooks as nonpodcast fans.

“Consumers are moving in that direction, and we want to be ahead of those consumers,” said Ana Maria Allessi, vice president and publisher of HarperAudio. “I think their appetite is expanding for very creative and extremely well-produced podcasts. Three years ago, I couldn’t have fathomed doing an audio original and getting away with it. Today, that’s just storytelling. Readers accept that.”

And it’s a great marketing tool, several publishers noted. They hope that audiobooks may push listeners to discover other titles in their catalogs.

Toward that end, Harper sponsored a radio drama-writing contest with New York University Tisch School of the Arts last year. The winner, “Rebuttal” by Jyotsna Hariharan, became an audio-only production.

Macmillan Audio made inroads into the podcast market a decade ago when it created the Quick and Dirty Tips podcast network, beginning with Mignon Fogarty’s “Grammar Girl” podcast. Fogarty’s first book, “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing,” was an audiobook before it appeared in print. Now there are 14 separate QDT podcasts and several books by QDT podcasters.

But Mary Beth Roche, president and publisher of Macmillan Audio, said the first season of “Serial,” the spinoff from “This American Life,” was transformative. “Serial” relayed producer Sarah Koenig’s week-by-week examination of the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, who had been sentenced in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. After the broadcast, a judge vacated Syed’s conviction and ordered a new trial.

“It gave podcasting a kind of mass appeal,” Roche said. “It took us from some people saying, ‘What is a podcast? How does that work?’ To pretty much most people you meet, if they hadn’t listened to it, they had an idea how to.”

There’s a throwback quality to all this because several of the straight-to-audio podcasts under development are dramatizations. “It’s everything old is new again, like the old-style radio dramas,” said Michele Cobb, executive director of the Audio Publishers Association. But unlike some of the first audiobook dramatizations, today’s sound less like a 1940s flashback, with greater sophistication in storyline, sound effects, musical score and performance.

Macmillan moved into straight-to-audio dramatization in August when it launched the 14-part sci-fi podcast “Steal the Stars,” a full-cast drama that’s part love story, part alien encounter. “Steal the Stars” by Mac Rogers is produced by Tor Labs, part of Macmillan’s sci-fi/horror/fantasy imprint, Tor Books. On Tuesday, a week after the free podcast ended, it was published as a book by Nat Cassidy, based on Rogers’ podcast.

Later this fall, Macmillan will launch a true crime podcast, “Case Closed,” beginning with a book published by St. Martin’s three years ago, “Crazy For You” by Michael Fleeman. The book covered the 2010 slaying of Atlanta businessman Rusty Sneiderman, and the podcast will include new developments in the case.

Best-selling authors and genre titles — sci-fi, fantasy, romance, crime — are leading the charge into straight-to-audio for most publishers. But even these may have more in common with podcasts than audiobooks.

Christopher Lynch, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio, says that while he expects to see more straight-to-audio, he doesn’t expect book-length offerings.

“I’m thinking of things that are one, two, three hours long,” Lynch said. “If it’s in straight-to-audio, it will be an author people recognize. We’ve seen that in the past. People pay for that.” For instance, three years ago Simon & Schuster published an hour-and-20-minute audio production of Stephen King’s “Drunken Fireworks.”

Self-help could be another strong candidate for audio-only projects, he said. “Tony Robbins was selling audio and video programs for years.”

“For us, the biggest question (is) how do we talk to our writers and their agents about doing this without taking them away from their day jobs,” Lynch said.

Source:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/books/ct-books-straight-to-audio-1112-story.html

Google reportedly wants to take on Amazon’s audiobook business

Amazon has long dominated the audiobook market online with Audible, which sells retail titles and also offers subscriptions to its service. Now, it looks like Google might be getting in on the game with the impending introduction of audiobooks in the Play Store.

Android Police noted in a teardown of the code of an upcoming version of the Google Play store app that there’s a new category called ‘audiobooks’. However, it remains to be seen whether Google will sell them in the Play store, or whether it will eventually build out a separate app to list and play these titles, as the code presently doesn’t include new screens for audiobook listings.

 

If it chooses to do so, Google will certainly have its work cut out for it battling Audible. The company, which Amazon acquired in 2008, has a massive library of more than 375,000 audiobooks and original spoken-word programs in its catalog, along with a robust app to play back these titles across Android and iOS devices, and Kindle ebook readers.

Audible recently added a new feature to let romance novel fans skip right to the sexy bits; it also expanded to include content in Chinese, and is slated to launch in India in the next few months. Meanwhile, Google Play is yet to roll out global support for Podcasts in its Play Music app (it’s only available on Android in the US and Canada at present), so it’s not nearly ready to support audiobooks in its current suite of services.

It’ll be interesting to see if the company can take on Amazon when it enters the audiobook arena, and if it spurs the growth of the spoken-word content market – podcasts have already seen steady growth in the past year, and audiobooks could follow suit.

Source:

https://thenextweb.com/insider/2017/11/08/google-reportedly-wants-to-take-on-amazons-audiobook-business/

 

Audible’s new romance audiobooks service uses machine learning to jump to the sex scenes

Let’s admit it: you probably aren’t reading that romance novel for the plot. Or its literary value. Audible knows this, and is today launching a new collection of romance-themed audiobooks that come with a handy feature that lets you skip right to the action. Called “Take Me To The Good Part,” the feature will fast-forward you to the steamy sections of the audiobook, says Audible.

The feature was built in response to romance reader and listener feedback, the company notes. And Audible has doubled down on these customers’ desire to do away with the pretense that they’re actually interested in reading by debuting “Take Me To The Good Part” in over 100 Audible Romance package titles. The company plans to bring the technology to more selections over time, it says.

The feature is part of a new package of books under the Audible Romance brand, which is being sold as an add-on to an Audible membership for $6.95 per month, or as a standalone service for $14.95 per month. The package includes access to thousands of romance audiobooks, including best sellers and Audible Originals. There’s no limit on how many you can “read” monthly, either, as with Audible’s main subscription.

Participating authors include Nora Roberts, Sylvia Day, Debbie Macomber, Robyn Carr, and others.

There’s technology under the hood that’s powering Audible’s ability to find the “good parts.” Audible is using machine learning to identify key words and phrases, as well as groups of words, in order to determine where things get hot and heavy. The company has even gone so far as to identify 10 type of so-called “good parts,” such as “flirty banter,” “first meeting,” “first kiss,” and one it dubs “hot, hot, hot” – aka the sex scenes.

 

But just like how porn often drives technological innovations that later become mainstream – like adoption of the VCR back in the day, for example – we can only hope that this machine learning technology is later rolled out to all digital books, audio and otherwise, to classify scenes that are also “good parts,” but for non-romantic reasons.

Along with the Romance package and its flagship feature, Audible has also rolled out a way to classify books by level of steaminess. (You know, so you can find those with more “good parts.”) Its illustrated “steaminess meter” ranks books on a scale that goes from sweet to simmering to sizzling to hot damn and o-o-omg. Yes, really. 

And you can delve into your particular fetishes micro-genres more easily too, as the new Audible Romance service can identify 32 of these romance sub-genres and 122 story and character tropes that will let you find those that are a direct match with your interests.

The program is live now and includes a free trial.

Source:

Audible’s new romance audiobooks service uses machine learning to jump to the sex scenes

Amazon’s basic Kindle to get Audible support so you can give your eyes a break

Do you seem to spend most of your life staring at a screen? You probably grab your smartphone within seconds of waking up in the morning, glare at your tablet while getting breakfast, and perhaps resume your smartphone interaction on the way to work. There you could be looking at a computer display for the rest of the day, before coming home to spend a good part of the evening looking at your TV, laptop, tablet, and smartphone again. If you have an ebook reader, there’s another display right there you could be looking at through the day.

So here’s the thing. If you have Amazon’s basic ebook reader and you fancy giving your eyes at least a little bit of a rest, then soon you’ll be able to pass some of that sensory action to your auditory canals thanks to Audible.

A recently updated listing on Amazon reveals that the company’s basic Kindle ebook reader will support Audible “in the coming months” via an over-the-air update, according to The Digital Reader.

 

Audible offers a library of more than 375,000 audiobooks (some of them for dogs!), magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, all of which can be streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth to wireless headphones and speakers.

Earlier versions of Amazon’s basic ebook reader supported Audible, but the company removed the capability as its range of readers grew.

Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis, its priciest ebook reader at $250, supports the service, while buyers of the basic Kindle, which starts at $80, will soon be able to enjoy the same benefit.

Bad news for owners of the Voyage and Paperwhite readers, however, as the feature isn’t coming to these midrange Kindle models. At least, not yet. Considering Amazon has owned Audible since 2008, it seems surprising that some of its ebook readers don’t yet support the service.

Just to be clear, you’ll need Bluetooth headphones or a speaker to use Audible on your Kindle, as the device has no speaker or headphone jack.

Amazon recently celebrated 10 years of the Kindle with discounts on most of its current readers, as well as offers on ebooks. While the offers on the devices have finished, you can still find discounts of up to 80 percent on many Kindle books as part of its monthly deals.

Source:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/amazon-basic-kindle-audible-support/

How to get started as an Audible narrator through ACX

Losing my full-time job of 12 years in August 2013 gave me the push I needed to accomplish a life-long dream: break into the world of voice acting.

The voice-over world was once the exclusive realm of artists in major markets such as Los Angeles and New York City. But today the field is open to thousands of part-time and full-time, home-based voice-over professionals.

There are many avenues through which a self-employed voice-over artist can find work. Two of the main sites dedicated to uniting voice actors and potential employers are Voices.com and Voice123.com. Both sites require a premium subscription to reap real benefits and receive customized audition notices. The beginning voice actor will need to spend considerable time creating a profile, as well as recording and posting demos. See my Voice123 profile for an idea of what a finished profile should look like.

As lucrative as these sources can be, competition is tough. A beginning voice actor will receive many rejections before landing that first voice gig. Persistence pays off.

However, I found earlier success auditioning for Audible, the top online seller of audio books. Their interface between voice actors and book rights-holders is called ACX.

By picking the right books, submitting high-quality auditions, and preparing for the time and effort it will take to complete an audio book project, even inexperienced voice actors can find themselves with a production contract.

This can be a long and complicated process. But that shouldn’t scare you away from giving it a try.

Here are the three main things you must accomplish to become an Audible narrator through ACX.

1. Set up your digital audio workstation

If you already have a moderately good computer – laptop or desktop – you’re about halfway there. The other main components to an adequate workstation are a condenser microphone, a preamp/interface, reference monitors (a fancy term for speakers), studio monitors (a fancy term for headphones), and audio recording and editing software.

But to achieve a high-quality sound you also must prepare a silent recording room or space. There are probably hundreds of ways to do this, from building a blanket fort to spending thousands of dollars on a high-end isolation booth.

My first recording space was a customized closet. I tacked carpet remnants onto the walls and added Auralex acoustic foam where needed.

When we moved to a smaller home last year, I had a custom-designed recording booth built into the corner of a spare bedroom. My increased level of experience warranted the extra expense. The result is a superior-sounding space that will give my clients a much better product.

The point isn’t how much you spend, but whether or not you can achieve the totally “dead” mic sound necessary for audio book recording. Search YouTube for a wealth of DIY recording booth and workstation videos from amateurs and professionals all over the world.

My equipment of choice:

  • Apple MacBook Pro with 8 gigabytes of RAM and a solid-state hard drive. These hard drives are more expensive, but much quieter and faster. They are also standard equipment on the latest MacBook Pro models.
  • Audio Technica AT-4050 microphone
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 preamplifier
  • I record using GarageBand software (available only for Mac) and edit using Adobe Audition.
  • Mackie CR3 reference monitors
  • Audio Technica ATH-M30x studio monitors

There are hundreds more options, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Take the time to find the setup that’s right for your budget and skill levels. Recording and processing a single audio track doesn’t require a lot of computer power. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need the latest, greatest machine for the job.

However, the reason I chose the MBP over the standard MacBook or the MacBook Air was available hard drive size. The extra processing power helps, too.

I caution against using cheap plug-and-play USB microphones, such as the popular Blue Yeti. Many of these models do sound quite good. But for a few hundred dollars more you can get a much higher-quality condenser microphone that will achieve a superior sound. This is why you’ll also need a small preamp unit, which is a power interface between the mic and your computer. Focusrite makes excellent products, but there are good competitors, too.

About speakers and headphones: Do not use or purchase standard, consumer-level products. This is because your typical household audio gear is designed to make music sound good, not to provide an accurate representation of spoken-word audio.

Studio and reference monitors, on the other hand, are designed to provide a “flat” frequency response. There’s no bass boosting or high-end attenuation you’ll find in products such as Beats headphones. Your audio equipment needs to give you the closest possible representation of what your voice sounds like. It will take some time to train your ears to appreciate the difference. But trust me … this is a critical detail you should not ignore.

Currently at $79.99 on Amazon, the Mackie reference monitors I use are hard to beat. You can opt for larger versions at a higher cost, but I have found this model to be more than adequate. It’s important that you mount or position your monitors to point directly at your ears. You can find stands or mounting equipment to achieve this goal.

Your studio monitors should be comfortable enough to withstand hours of recording time. Any of the ATH models will be an excellent choice, depending on your budget. Ensure that whatever you purchase is an over-the-ear model, not on-ear. This will help isolate your voice as you record and block out any external noises.

Once you have everything set up, it’s time to test your recording environment. I strongly recommend you submit some sample recordings to a qualified audio professional before your first audition. Get the opinions of a knowledgable person about whether or not you have truly achieved the right sound. It may be worth the expense to pay for a personal sound consultation before you begin auditioning.

2. Establish a profile on AXC

ACX is the online interface between audio book narrators and book rights-holders. There is no cost to join ACX, but you’ll have to do the work to establish a proper profile. See mine for an example.

Next, scan the list of available book titles seeking narrators. There are usually a couple of thousand titles on any given day. Begin by selecting male or female from the gender filter. That way you can at least immediately narrow down the books according to what rights-holders want.

After that, it’s up to you to find the right book for an audition.

At least in my experience, it is extremely rare that a rights holder will contact you out of the blue to offer a recording deal. The two or three times this has happened to me I have turned the projects down because the books did not match my personal requirements or preferences.

It’s much more likely you’ll have to do the work of searching through available titles and sending in auditions. Here are a few tips that may save you some time in this process. Ask yourself …

  • Do I have the free time necessary for this project? Each “finished hour” of an audio book will probably take you four to five hours to produce. Will you be able to complete it by the contract deadline? Some rights-holders are lenient about deadlines. But don’t assume.
  • Would I read this book myself? If a book isn’t something that interests me purely as a reader, I won’t audition for it. Your enthusiasm for the material will reveal itself in your recording. Plus, if you get the contract, you’ll have the added benefit of reading the book for free.
  • Can I accept a royalty contract, or will I only work for a payment per finished hour? Most of the contracts available on ACX are royalty-only. You have to decide if you think the book will sell well enough to be worth your time and effort. Of course, you can help out by promoting the audio book through your social network.
  • If this is a fiction title, do I have the skill to voice multiple characters? Fiction authors will want this from you. Do you have a theatrical background, or are you more of a straight reader? If you’re unsure, pick nonfiction titles until you get a few under your belt. If you really do want to pursue fiction titles, I can’t suggest strongly enough that you take some acting classes. I have personally performed in about 20 stage productions, both comedies and dramas. They have been invaluable experiences in learning the skills of vocal characterization.
  • Is this project truly something I can put my name on? Once your book is finished, your name and profile will be associated with it through Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. If there is any hesitation about whether or not this title is right for you, don’t do it.

3. Complete your first ACX project

Being awarded that first contract with Audible is both thrilling and frightening. You’ll inwardly doubt whether or not you can really get it done. Pressing on and doing your best despite your fears will be a great accomplishment and will prepare you for future projects.

Here are some tips that will get you to the finish line more quickly and with less stress.

Be communicative. Keep a dialogue going with your rights-holder. You can do this through the ACX message interface or via your own email or phone. Ask as many questions about the book as necessary. If you have problems, let them know right away.

During production of an 18-hour book I came down with an illness that wrecked my voice for three weeks. I thought it would ruin my reputation. But being honest with the rights holder helped us both come to an agreement to extend the deadline. They’re going to want the best product possible from you. That will mean being patient if you get sick.

Be consistent. Nothing is worse than having one chapter sound different from another, or forgetting how you voiced a character from one scene to the next. Write up character descriptions if you have to. Keep listening back to previous chapters. It hurts to have to do it, but re-record when necessary rather than settling for mediocrity.

Be caring. Your voice is your instrument and your livelihood. Be realistic about how much it and your ears can handle. You only have so many good hours a day of recording and editing before fatigue sets in. Don’t push it. You will discover your limits by trial and error. My personal limits: three hours of recording and five hours of editing per day, period.

Be your own calling card. Every audio book you complete can become an advertisement for your next gig. It isn’t just a product you help sell. Its a digital resume that helps sell you!

So, be ruthless about quality. Allow for more time than you think you will need. Learn as much as you can about audio editing. Keep pushing yourself for better performances. Do not settle for a meager product or hope they won’t notice the mistake.

And one more critical point … Back up your work every night. I don’t need to tell you how devastating it would be to lose your recordings forever before you’re able to submit them for approval.

Beyond these three basic items, your journey toward becoming an Audible narrator will differ depending on your skill level, determination, and sometimes just plain luck.

Don’t give up. And keep seeking advice from the voice-over communities online and through other web-based channels. There is more free help and information out there than you could ever use.

Source:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140918193557-894411-how-to-get-started-as-an-audible-narrator

Game of Thrones Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

Roy Dotrice, who played Game of Thrones‘ pyromancer Hallyne, has died, EW.com reports. He was 94.

Appearing in two Season 2 episodes, Dotrice portrayed one of the men charged with creating King’s Landing’s stores of wildfire. He helped inform audiences about what Mad King Aerys did with the substance, and Hallyne also was involved in Tyrion’s plan to use wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater.

Dotrice also was the voice behind all of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks. Performing that duty for the first novel, A Game of Thrones, earned him a Guinness World Record for the most characters (223!) voiced by a single actor in an audiobook.

 

The British actor also appeared in several other TV series, including Beauty and the BeastAngel (in which he kinda played Wesley’s father), Just Shoot MeTouched by an Angel and Picket Fences.

Source:

<I>Game of Thrones</I> Actor, Audiobook Narrator Roy Dotrice Dead at 94

The Martian: how the audiobook hit rocketed to film glory

In 2011, after a long search for an agent, Andy Weir gave up on big publishing. He had a small and dedicated following as a longtime writer and webcomics artist. So he just posted a book he’d been writing, called The Martian, to his personal website. His readers wanted to be able to read it on their e-readers, so then he added it to Amazon.

The next thing he knew, the thing was climbing the charts. And now, his book is the basis of an Oscar-nominated film with Matt Damon. Weir, in short, is living the dream of many self-published authors.

He acknowledges that his path was unusual, of course. “Everything went backwards from the normal way books get made,” Weir told the Guardian. “I didn’t think anyone would be interested in giving me a print deal. Obviously I misjudged that. Heh.”

In fact, one of the strangest items in the Martian origin story is who first approached Weir for a proper deal. It wasn’t print publishers or film producers. It was a small Canadian audiobook company called Podium Publishing. Run by a pair of friends, James Tonn and Greg Lawrence, the company produces what it calls “award-winning quality” audiobooks “for indie-minded” authors.

Tonn and Lawrence had once hoped to run a music label together, but the advent of Napster and iTunes quashed that dream. They were both attracted to artists who wanted to work outside of the mainstream channels to success – and they wanted to run something that served that community.

When, as an audio engineer, Lawrence began working in audiobooks, the fit seemed natural. “Audiobooks were an auxiliary business,” Lawrence told the Guardian.

 

“They were tacked on to the end of a publishing deal. Publishers would really only do an audiobook if [the print book] was so big that they were looking for ways to make money.” Lawrence and Tonn thought they could change that, by working with the sort of writer who was interested in publishing their audiobook independently.

Image result for The Martian

Lawrence was the one who actually found Weir’s book, on Amazon. He is a big science fiction fan and says he was attracted to the story, of course, but also simply felt that the way the book was written helped its audiobook prospects. The book is structured such that the narrator, Mark Watney, is recording logs of his time on Mars. “That’s a dream for audio,” Lawrence said on the phone.

The company initially bought both print and audio rights, although they promised Weir they’d return the print rights if he got a deal with a big publisher. (They kept that promise.) They enlisted RC Bray, a popular audiobook narrator, to record it. It was the first fiction project they chose. The product became a top-seller on Audible, and promptly began winning industry awards, including a 2015 Audie. While no one releases audiobook sales figures, some measure of the audiobook’s popularity might be gauged by the fact that it now enjoys over 100,000 reviews on Amazon. “A great book,” reads one. “Out of hundreds of books in my library this is one of the best.”

Part of The Martian’s success as an audiobook is undoubtedly timing. Originally conceived as a narrow industry serving the blind, the audiobook business has exploded in the past few years. In 2015, the Audio Producers Association reported that more than 25,000 audiobooks were published in 2014, compared with about 6,700 in 2010. Podium itself plans to double its production of audiobooks – it has done about 200 so far – within the next year.

Some of the increased interest is undoubtedly about the ease of buying and listening to audiobooks in the age of easily accessible digital audio. But, like podcast producers, audiobook producers also trace some of the success of their products to the way they can be listened to while engaged in some other activity – like cleaning the house, or knitting, or driving home from work. “It’s not so much what you’re doing, but that you’re trying to work reading into your life, whatever you’re doing,” Tonn said.

It remains to be seen whether “independent” audiobooks can follow The Martian’s path. Self-publishing has been a dubious challenge to traditional publishers, at best. And although the Amazon book sales rankings often see self-published books cracking the bestseller lists, audiobooks from the self-published don’t usually seem to crack the Audible Top 10.

But Lawrence sees a real future for such writers. Podium doesn’t contract with large publishers to produce audiobooks; it will remain strictly indie for now. They say they work best with authors like Weir. “He had to have his hopes and his dreams dashed against the rocks,” Lawrence said. “He spent a lot of time trying to get an agent, and he just couldn’t do that. That experience made him think differently about writing, and about getting his work out to people.”

As for Weir, when asked if he was surprised by the way things turned out, he said he was. “Yes I was. But it worked out really well. The audiobook proceeds have been far more than I ever anticipated.”

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/27/the-martian-audiobook-hit-rocketed-oscars-glory

The Alkaline Diet CookBook: The Alkaline Meal Plan to Balance your pH, Reduce Body Acid, Lose Weight and Have Amazing Health Audio Book

 

Mastering Virtual Reality: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Virtual Reality AudioBook

 

33 Strategies of Kama Sutra : Make Her Scream – Last Longer, Come Harder, And Be The Best She’s Ever Had Audio Book

 

Mastering Bitcoin – A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Bitcoin Audio-Book

 

Mastering LiteCoin: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With LiteCoin Audio-book Sample

 

BBC is Launching Interactive Audiobooks for the Amazon Alexa

Audiobooks is a multi-billion dollar industry and many publishers are generating significant revenue from the format. One of the most untapped markets for audio content is the Amazon Alexa and the BBC is hoping to remedy this issue.

The BBC has teamed up with Rosina Sound to produce The Inspection Chamber. It’s an interactive audio drama, that harkens back to the glory days of the Choose Your Own Adventure paperbacks.  The story is a comedy sci-fi audio drama taking inspiration from everything from videogames to existing audio stories. Authors from Franz Kafka to Douglas Adams were cited as inspirations.

“We’ve seen a lot of examples of interactive audio stories which operate like a Choose Your Own Adventure book – short chunks followed by a choice: would you like to go down the stairs or through the door? We don’t think this works particularly well for entertainment – it takes you out of the moment and forces you to step back and consider your choice at a level of remove from the story and in the context of all the other choices you’ve made. In this pilot, you’re actively playing a part in the story, using your own voice – we wanted to make it feel like you’re having a genuine, direct interaction with the other characters in the piece”, said the BBC.

The first episode of the series will be released on BBC Taster by the end of the year for the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. If it is successful, it will likely be ported onto the Apple HomePod.

Source:

https://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/bbc-is-launching-interactive-audiobooks-for-the-amazon-alexa

Why Nonfiction Audiobooks Are The Perfect Choice For First-Time Listeners

Before I started listening to audiobooks, I will admit, I was a bit skeptical of the idea. A hardcore bibliophile, I have always felt a certain attachment to physical books, but once I tried listening to my first nonfiction audiobook, I was obsessed. If you have never tried this kind of “reading,” nonfiction audiobooks just may be the genre that gets you hooked.

Audiobook listening is a unique way to experience a book that is not only convenient for the reader on the go, but enriching to anyone who wants to be told a story the good old-fashioned way: out loud. Whether you’re listening to a novel narrated by your favorite actor or a memoir read by the writer herself, audiobooks give you a new way to connect with your subject matter and the story itself.

audiobooks-beck

Like traditional reading, audiobooks are amazing across genres, but when it comes to the best audiobook listening, there are even more benefits when the genre is nonfiction. Nonfiction is a broad genre, and under it’s bookish umbrella you can find everything from memoirs and biographies to historical and scientific writing.  So whether you’re trying to learn about a new topic, understand another language, or get through a difficult read on an intimidating subject, audiobooks are there to help you understand and enjoy.

A lot of people avoid nonfiction books in favor of fiction for fear that nonfiction is dull, boring, or hard. As a huge nonfiction reader, I can tell you firsthand that the genre has plenty of excitement, emotion, and interesting action to keep any reader interested. But, if you are still worried that a nonfiction book on World War II will be too tedious to get through, audiobooks may just be your new best friend.

With an audiobook, narrators help enhance the story in new and exciting ways that simply reading words on a page can’t do. By using interesting tones and audible emphasis, or incorporating addition audio clips and other voices and even other actors, audiobook narrators have the power to to turn even the most mundane chapters into engaging story hours just like that.

Source:

https://www.bustle.com/p/why-nonfiction-audiobooks-are-the-perfect-choice-for-first-time-listeners-2455352

Kobo adds audiobooks along with an Audible-like subscription

Kobo is finally getting into the audiobooks biz. The Canadian company has added audiobooks to its offerings and already has an extensive catalogue sell, including bestsellers like the Harry Potter series. Even better, it has launched $10-per-month Audible-like subscription service, which sounds like a good deal if you regularly purchase audiobooks.

 

The service gives you credits you can use to get any title from Kobo.com, even if its list price costs more than what you paid. You get a free 30-day trial period, so you can check out how it works before committing. But if you know you can go through a single audiobook real fast, you can also just straight up buy a three-pack credit for $30 and keep up to 24 credits in your subscription account.

 

You can find any audiobook and ebook you buy in one place within Kobo’s iOS and Android apps. Once you’ve chosen what to listen to, the apps’ built-in player will give you the power to choose your preferred narration speed. You can also see how much time you have left and program it to switch off after a certain amount of time if you tend to listen to your books in bed.

 

Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn says the company decided to get into audiobooks, since “We have more books than time, always. Audiobooks let [the company’s] readers fit the books they love into more parts of their day.” In case you can’t find what you’re looking for in Kobo’s current catalogue, don’t worry: the e-book maker promises to add more titles every week. But if browsing through what’s available gets a bit overwhelming, you can always check out the personalized recommendations based on your previous e-book purchases. In addition to the US, Kobo’s audiobooks subscription offering is now also available in Canada ($13/mo), the UK (£6.99/mo), Australia ($13/mo) and New Zealand ($14/mo).

Source:

https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/06/kobo-audiobooks-subscription/

Alexa Can Now Read Audiobooks to Your Pets So They Feel Less Lonely

On April Fools’ Day this year, Amazon spoofed itself with an introduction to PetLexa, an animal-friendly version of its Alexa voice assistant. Now, it’s actually releasing something real—audiobooks for animals.

Today, Audible announced a new brand of books with Cesar Millan, a longtime dog behaviorist and Emmy-nominated host of the TV series Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan. The series, Audible for Dogs, aims to help make dogs “calmer and happier,” with titles such as “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Soldier Dogs” and “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”

According to Audible, the series was inspired by a 2015 academic study, which found dogs that listen to audiobooks were more likely to have lower stress when left alone than those that listened to music. When Audible teamed up with Milan’s Dog Psychology Center to study 100 dogs over four weeks, playing Audible content through Echo devices for the dogs, 76 percent of dog owners reported their pets were calmer and more relaxed after listening to the audiobooks. (Dogs reportedly responded better to books read by narrators that were the same gender as their primary owner.)

“Dogs are social animals, so they need to engage with someone, and the purpose of Audible for Dogs is to make dogs feel there is someone with them,” Millan said in a statement. “The person performing the audiobook is actually keeping your dog calm and taking the dog to a resting state, acting as an extension of you.”

It could be yet another good use for the millions of Amazon Alexa-powered Echo devices now in households around the U.S, as marketers and media companies continue developing ways to incorporate voice-activated content.

However, while dogs might appreciate the AI-powered entertainment, the series might be more comforting for humans that feel the emotional weight of leaving their four-legged friends all alone. In a new testimonial video released today by Audible, Millan talks with a woman about how the books have helped her dog, Buddy, when she’s away.

Source:

http://www.adweek.com/digital/alexa-can-now-read-audiobooks-to-your-pets-so-they-feel-less-lonely/

Amazon and Cesar Millan launch audiobooks for dogs

I am going to get through this without any literary dog puns. 

No, you’re not even going to bait me into suggesting that the new audiobooks for dogs series — launched on Monday by Amazon subsidiary Audible.com and famed Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan — would never allow “The Great Catsby” onto its list. Nor, indeed, “The Cat of Monte Cristo.”

Instead, I’ll simple tell you that Millan believes classic works read by soothing voices will create calm for your dog while he or she is home alone. 

 

He insists that research proves that 76 percent of dogs who listened to great literature while their owner was absent felt calmer and behaved in a more relaxed manner.

I cannot confirm that the other 24 percent were forced to listen to “The Diversity Myth” by David O. Sacks and Peter Thiel and Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg’s “How Google Works.”

Among the titles going to the dogs in the Audible series are “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, “Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood” by Trevor Noah and, of course, Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Audible insists that dogs prefer to listen to voices of the same gender and type as their “primary” owner, which might cause one or two tiffs in a loving two-person household. 

No, darling. I’m Roughshod’s primary owner. You’re just a subsidiary. Surely you see that Roughshod loves me more than you, don’t you?

The company also says that the preferred method of dissemination is an in-home listening device. Oh, this isn’t some sneaky way of selling an Amazon Echo, is it? I asked Audible whether the Echo is the best way to listen to these books. 

“Yes. Or any smart speaker,” replied a spokeswoman diplomatically.

How, though, were the books chosen? 

“We looked for consistent and soothing narrations resulting in calm, happy dogs. And we looked for titles that we knew dog owners would enjoy as well,” Audible’s chief content officer Andy Gaies told me.

An alternative, of course, is just to record yourself reading any book you like — “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” for example. Or “Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President.”

Or would that be too much effort? After all, you might be away for 10 or 12 hours a day if you work in tech, so to have to record hours of text when you get home or at weekends might be laborious. 

Better, perhaps, if you just teach your dog to code. I hear that’s a relaxing pursuit too.

 

Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech.

Source:

https://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-is-now-offering-audiobooks-for-dogs/

Popularity of audiobooks rising

Audiobooks have increasingly emerged as an entertaining, easily accessible and portable option for all ages to enjoy books. Last year, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) reported more than 67 million Americans listen to audiobooks each year.

“It’s another banner year for audiobooks,” said Anthony Goff, vice president and research committee chair for the APA, and senior vice president, publisher at Hachette Audio. According to Tom Webster, vice president of strategy for Edison Research, “The audiobook market continues to grow, with more people than ever before indicating that they have listened to the medium in the past year. That growth, combined with the growth of the podcast market and the strong relationship between the two, are all part of a renaissance for spoken-word programming.”

 

Libraries remain major access channels and important drivers of audiobook discovery, with over a quarter of its visitors reporting borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks. The Free Library of Philadelphia is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in the region and reports having over 6 million annual visitors. A patron with a valid library card can download audiobooks from OverDrive to their PC, Mac or mobile device in person at a Free Library location and online with a library card. When the audiobook is due, the patron must renew it or find it automatically “returned” in a virtual sense: The file still sits on the patron’s computer, but encryption makes it unplayable beyond the borrowing period. “The patron doesn’t have to do anything after the lending period,” said Steve Potash, chief executive of OverDrive audiobook service. “The file expires. It checks itself back into the collection. There’s no parts to lose. It’s never damaged. It can never be late.”

According to the Free Library, “cardholders can check out and download digital titles at home and on-the-go by visiting the eFreeLibrary page of the Free Library’s website. From there, they can browse and check out the growing collection of bestsellers, new releases and classic titles. Once downloaded, digital titles can be enjoyed on a computer or transported to a supported mobile device. Many audio titles can also be burned to a CD. With digital downloads, customers do not need to worry about overdue materials or late fees — at the end of the lending period, digital titles automatically expire and are returned to the digital collection.”

 

While the digital age may have changed how people consume books, one bestselling book has stood the test of time. Dale Carnegie’s perennial 1936 classic, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” retains its perch as one of the most in-demand self-help books as a top-10 audiobook.

Source:

http://www.phillytrib.com/lifestyle/popularity-of-audiobooks-rising/article_2d6e0fb8-d75f-5d73-baa8-be74498895c7.html

 

D2D Partners with Findaway Voices to Provide an Alternative to ACX

Draft2Digital is excited to announce our partnership with Findaway Voices, an audiobook creation and distribution service that gives authors more freedom and control over their work. With Voices, it’s easy to create and sell audiobooks to listeners in more than 170 countries, through the world’s largest audiobook distribution network.

Voices is a part of Findaway, an innovator in the audiobook industry for more than 10 years and a global leader in digital content delivery across retail, library, and K–12 channels.

Audiobooks are a vital part of an indie author’s strategy, allowing you to increase discoverability and reach new audiences worldwide, while increasing the opportunity for revenue.

Until now, authors had limited options for creating and distributing audiobooks, and were often forced to surrender partial rights to their work or agree to lengthy exclusivity contracts. D2D’s partnership with Findaway Voices aims to eliminate as many barriers between authors and audiobook listeners as possible.

Findaway Voices gives authors everything they need to create professionally narrated audiobooks, including:

  • Full Control—With Voices, you set the price, own the rights, control marketing, choose your distributors, and never sign an exclusivity agreement.
  • Global Distribution—You’ll gain access to a global platform that reaches consumers in more than 170 countries, through all major audiobook sellers across retail, library, and K12 channels (and yes, this includes Audible).
  • Custom Narrator Casting—The experts at Voices review your book and create a tailored list of recommended narrators at a range of prices for your specific title. Voices will work with you at every step to ensure you choose the right voice at the right price for your book.
  • Professional Production—All narrators are vetted for quality, and all Voices audiobooks are quality-checked before publication, giving rights holders an extra level of assurance.
  • Full Service and Support–As a D2D author, you’re used to high level customer support, and you can expect the same with Voices. If you have any questions or need help, you can reach out to a Voices expert.
  • Already have an audiobook?—If you’ve already produced your audiobook, you can distribute through Findaway Voices without exclusivity, and at no cost.

Launch date is July 18, 2017

Starting July 18, 2017, you’ll be able to quickly and easily start the audiobook production process, right from your D2D publication page. Once you’ve converted your ebook, you can start creating your audiobook with Findaway Voices, with full support from the Voices team. You can determine your production budget, select a narrator, and have your book produced and distributed to a robust audiobook network.

An 80% Royalty for Authors

As the author or publisher, you keep 80% of all royalties Voices receives, which vary by partner, channel, and business model. The royalties Voices receives from its partners are within the following ranges:

  • A la carte: 40% to 50% of list price
  • Subscription: 30% to 40% of list price
  • Audible: 25% of the sales price (Audible’s standard, non-exclusive terms)

FAQ

While this post won’t be a comprehensive FAQ, below are a few of the most pressing questions that we thought authors would be curious about (we’ll also update these as we go, but if you have a question that isn’t presented here, please contact Draft2Digital Customer Support):

GENERAL

Who owns the rights to the finished audiobook?

You! Authors and publishers who work with Voices always own the rights to their works. 

Do you require exclusivity?

Absolutely not. Voices will never ask you to sign an exclusivity agreement. We believe in opening the audiobook market for authors and publishers and work tirelessly to introduce audiobooks to new listeners through our products, partnerships, relationships and innovations.

How does Voices compare to ACX?

Voices differs from ACX in several ways. With Voices, you’re never asked for exclusivity, you control the price for your book, and we give you control over marketing and promotions. Our team works with you to guide the process and ensure creating an audiobook is easier than it’s ever been!

I’m an international author, can I work with Findaway Voices?

Yes! Findaway Voices is available to authors and publishers in all countries and can recommend narrators to match unique accent and style demands.

I’m a publisher. Can I use Findaway Voices to distribute my catalog?

Yes! Contact Findaway at support@findawayvoices.com to discuss how Voices in more detail.

What’s with the $49 fee?

UPDATE: D2D AUTHORS DO NOT HAVE TO PAY THE $49 ADMIN FEE!

This is a one-time administrative fee that covers project management during production, and ongoing administrative tasks such as consolidated royalty reporting, ISBN registration, post processing, final mastering, and other behind-the-scenes tasks carried out by Findaway, for every audibook produced. This fee applies to production only, and you will not have to pay the fee if you provide your own audiobook.

How does Findaway Voices compare to Author’s Republic?

Findaway Voices is similar to Author’s Republic in that we offer audiobook distribution, but we are different in a few of ways that set us apart:

  • Findaway Voices a single service where authors can both create and distribute their works. If you have created your own audiobook files, you can also choose distribution only.
  • Regarding distribution: With Findaway Voices, you keep 80 percent of all royalties earned through the sale of your recordings. Authors Republic offers only 70 percent.
  • Findaway Voices will NEVER ask you for exclusivity. You are always free to distribute your titles anywhere else you like, and you always have complete control over where your titles are available within our network (for example, you’re always free to exclude a title from one of our partners if you choose). Non-exclusivity and rights holder control over content is an incredibly important guiding principle here at Findaway Voices.

CREATING AN AUDIOBOOK

How much does it cost to create an audiobook?

  • The cost of narration is calculated on a “per-finished-hour” basis, and will vary based on several factors, including book length, narrator selected, and complexity. Voices will provide suggested narrators at a range of per-finished hour rates to best meet your cost needs. Contact Findaway at support@findawayvoices.com to learn more.
  • The only other charge is a one-time fee of $49.00 to cover project management during production, and ongoing administrative tasks such as consolidated royalty reporting.
  • NOTE: D2D authors will not have to pay the $49 admin fee! 

What does per-finished hour mean?

“Per Finished Hour” is the standard way payment is calculated in the audiobook industry. Narrators are compensated for each hour of finished recording, rather than by studio hour, since this can vary.

The standard rule is every 9,000 words equals one hour of finished hour. So, if your book is 72,000 words, it would be approximately 8 finished hours of audio.

I’m interested. How do I choose a narrator?

First, contact Findaway at support@findawayvoices.com. To find the right narrator for your book, we’ll ask you a few simple questions to guide our suggestions (book subject/genre, emotional tone, protagonist profile) and then prepare a curated list of narrators for you to choose from. All narrator recommendations from Voices are tailored to your style preferences and material. We’ll include voices at a range of per-finished-hour rates to ensure you get the right voice at the right price. Every narrator in our talent pool has been vetted for professionalism and quality.

Can I hear a sample of my book performed by a narrator?

Of course! Before committing to a narrator, you can request a sample of that voice paired with your work. Simply share with us with a sample chapter (or the full manuscript) and we’ll coordinate with the narrator or narrators you choose to provide you with samples.

What is the approval process?

You review the first 15 minutes of your audiobook before committing to the full performance. Once the first section is approved, your narrator will continue recording the remainder of your work, providing completed chapters for your review, and adjusting to any feedback along the way.

You will provide final approval for the audiobook before it is published.

How long will it take to create my audiobook?

Project timeframe varies based on each book’s length, but 6-8 weeks is typical, from project start, to your title being available for sale.

Do you offer royalty sharing as an option for compensating narrators?

Currently, Findaway Voices does not offer royalty sharing though we may consider it in the future.

Can I narrate my own audiobook?

Yes! You’ll follow almost the same process as if you were selecting a narrator, except you’ll be the one recording….and approving the work! Voices has narration guidelines to ensure a high quality standard.

Can I recommend a narrator or use a narrator I already work with?

Absolutely! All of the narrators we work with are independent contractors. Voices can work with your current narrator(s) to ensure consistency within your catalog if that’s important to you. Just put us in touch!

DISTRIBUTION

Where will my audiobook be available for sale?

With Findaway Voices, your audiobook will be distributed through the world’s largest network of audiobook sellers, representing a variety of industry partners, sales channels and business models. Our global distribution network includes top sellers from retail, public library, and K-12, and we’re always expanding with the market.

Voices works with more than 20 partners and nearly 10 unique business models.

Current partners include: 

Retail                                                                               Library & K-12

Audible, Amazon, Apple                                                  Baker & Taylor

Barnes and Noble NOOK                                                EBSCO

Scribd                                                                             3M/Biblioteca                                                              

TuneIn                                                                             Follett

eStories (formerly eMusic)                                             Mackin

Playster                                                                          Perma-Bound

24symbols                                                                     Odilo

Downpour                                                                      Overdrive

Audiobooks.com                                                           Hoopla (coming soon)

Hummingbird                                                              

Libro.fm 

AudiobooksNow                                                          

Who sets the price for my audiobook?

You do! You set pricing, and we pay based on that list price for sales through most of our distribution partners. Also, you can update your price at any time and we’ll ensure all retailers

How often will I be paid?

Every month, we send you any royalties we’ve collected on your behalf. Voices will deposit royalties for you within 30 days of receipt from our partners. Some partners pay us within 30 days of the end of each month, and others pay quarterly.

Do I have to list my book with all of your partners?

Nope! You decide which partners you want to work with. If you wish to remove an audiobook from one or all of our partners, simply alert us via email (support@findawayvoices.com), and we’ll coordinate with the partner on your behalf.

How long will it take for my audiobook to be available for sale?

Each audiobook is approved separately by each of our distribution partners, who have their own processes and timing. In general, you can expect your audiobook to appear for sale about 2 – 3 weeks after you’ve published through Voices.

Source:

https://www.draft2digital.com/blog/d2dalternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/

Amazon’s unlimited subscription service for avid readers is $40 cheaper this week

Amazon is having a Prime Day sale on Kindle Unlimited, it’s all-you-can-read digital book service.

You don’t need a Kindle to use Kindle Unlimited — it’s not about the device, it’s all about the books. 

If you’ve never heard of Kindle Unlimited before, it has three major components: digital books, audiobooks, and a technology called whispersync. 

The first two are pretty self explanatory. Kindle Unlimited subscribers will have access to thousands of digital books and audiobooks through the Kindle Store. Think of it as having a Spotify subscription, but for books. The Audiobooks come courtesy of Audible.com, who Amazon acquired a few years ago.

This is important to note because the quality of Audible’s audiobooks is phenomenal. I’ve been an on-again, off-again subscriber for years and have yet to find a bad-sounding book.

Not all books sold through the Kindle store are accessible for free with Kindle Unlimited, but hundreds of thousands are. The same is true for audiobooks; only Kindle Unlimited-eligible books with an audible version come free with your subscription. 

Whispersync is the technology that makes this subscription really cool. Because the free apps for Kindle and Audible are available on multiple platforms, you’re likely to pick up and leave off books in different places.

You might read a book through the Kindle app before going to bed, and pick up where you left off on your phone during your commute. Or, you might listen to the audible version of a book during your commute, and look to keep reading the Kindle version after dinner. 

What whispersync does is keep track of where you leave off, so you can pick up exactly at that place later on. It doesn’t matter how you consume the book, or through what device. It’d be a hassle to keep track of that on your own, so this technology is a major value add for subscribers.

Of course, it’s also available for any Kindle book and Audible audiobook, so if you already own multiple copies of the same book in multiple formats, you can take advantage of whispersync now. 

If you know someone who’s always searching for something to read, I can’t think of a better gift to give them. They’ll have more options of what to read than ever before and won’t be penalized for reading whenever and however fits their lifestyle.

http://www.businessinsider.com/kindle-unlimited-sale-amazon-prime-day-deal-2017

How One Man Overcame Blindness and Started an Audiobook Show for New Scifi and Fantasy

In early 2015, 33-year-old Chris Herron was declared legally blind, and was told he had an 80-percent chance of losing his sight entirely in three months. Now, he’s almost fully recovered, and has launched an audiobook channel that helps scifi and fantasy authors… just like how they once helped him.

Herron is the founder of Tall Tale TV, a YouTube channel where he makes and releases audiobooks for burgeoning scifi and fantasy works. Before that, he spent almost a year wondering if he would be able to read books again after being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of blindness for working-age adults. It’s where people with diabetes (Herron’s had Type 1 since he was 7) suffer from leaks or bleeding behind the eyes if they don’t keep their blood sugar low. He was told he’d need surgery in both eyes, and he had a four in five chance of going blind.

“[When I found out], I hyperventilated and they had to lay me down. It came as a major shock, I had never even considered the possibility of not being able to see,” Herron told io9. “I decided I was going to fight it, and I was going to come out the other side regardless what they told me the chances were.”

He immediately set out to change his lifestyle— losing 30 pounds in the first month from diet and any exercise he could do, which started as guided walks with his wife. He described his sight as “like looking through a cloud of ink,” which meant he had trouble with many basic tasks. He also lost the ability to read and didn’t know how to read Braille. Given his lifelong love of fantasy and science fiction, and how they served as an emotional release during bouts of depression, this hit hard.

“It was actually pretty devastating because I loved writing and I loved reading,” Herron said. “It was actually my wife who suggested I turn to audio books.”

The first audiobooks he picked up were from Terry Pratchett’s Disc World series, and Herron said they changed his life. He’d listened to audiobooks before, but it was in passing while commuting to work, so he was worried it wouldn’t be the same. But Herron was amazed at how much he loved them, saying “it gave the book[s] an entire new layer or dimension.” Herron listened to them for several months, using them to help during a difficult time. Then, his sight started to return. Herron said it happened gradually so he didn’t really notice, but one visit to a doctor’s office showed how far he’d come and the odds he’d beaten.

 

“My doctor looked at my eyes and he personally was kind of floored… he told me, ‘Your vision is back at about 80-percent, and you’re going to be fine,’” Herron said. “I was so happy I cried.”

Since then, Herron’s sight has improved to about 90-percent of what it was before the diagnosis. He’s able to read regular books again, as well as use a computer for longer than a minute or two. But, he’s still “obsessed with audiobooks.” More so… he’s making them now.

A couple of months ago, Herron started Tall Tale TV, in hopes he could expose scifi and fantasy writers to a diverse audience, and give readers (especially those who are visually impaired) a new way of experiencing their work. The site focuses on short stories and individual chapters, so people don’t get overwhelmed when listening to them. Right now, Herron narrates all of them by himself in his spare time (he also has a full-time job), but is looking to expand with more books and voice actors in the future.

 
 
 

You can check out Tall Tale TV here, with a new audiobook chapter expected to go up this week. It’s worth checking out. The channel is a new project, but a noble one. Herron’s helping burgeoning writers grow in a genre that many of them have loved during their entire lives, using a medium that helped him during one of the hardest times of his own.

Source:

http://io9.gizmodo.com/how-one-man-overcame-blindness-and-started-an-audiobook-1796402123

Audiobooks Continues Double-Digit Growth

The Audio Publishers Association released the results from their annual sales survey, conducted by the independent research firm Management Practice, as well as the latest consumer study conducted by Edison Research, which revealed that the strong growth the audiobook industry has seen in recent years continues. Based on information from responding publishers, the APA estimates that audiobook sales in 2016 totaled more than $2.1 billion, up 18.2% over 2015, and with a corresponding 33.9% increase in units. This is the third consecutive year that audiobook sales have expanded by nearly 20%.

The increase in sales is driven in large part by a listening audience that continues to grow. According to the new study from Edison Research, 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) have completed at least one audiobook in the last year, a 22% increase over the 2015 survey.

Edison Research’s national survey of American audiobook listeners features new data on audiobook consumption patterns, purchasing behavior, podcast listening, and audiobook content. In addition to measuring the size of the listening audience, the study also revealed:

Who listens to audiobooks?

  • Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
  • Audiobook listeners are often also podcast listeners. Respondents who consumed both podcasts and audiobooks listened to twice as many audiobooks in the past 12 months as non-podcast consumers.
  • Avid readers are also listening. Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year, and 77% of frequent listeners agreed or strongly agreed that “audiobooks help you finish more books.

How and where are they listening?

  • Far more listeners are saying they use their smartphone most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before – 29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015.
  • A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), with the car being the second most frequently-cited location (32%).
  • 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks. Other multitasking activities among frequent listeners include baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
  • The 2017 survey asked about voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) for the first time, with 19% of all listeners reporting using them to listen to an audiobook in the last year. Among frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.

Additional Key Findings

  • Libraries remain major access channels and important drivers of audiobook discovery. 27% of people said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
  • Of the more than 50,000 titles produced on audio in 2016, the most popular genres were Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Romance.
  • The top three reasons why people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) They can do other things while listening; 2) Audiobooks are portable and people can listen wherever they are; and 3) They enjoy being read to.

According to Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy for Edison Research, “The audiobook market continues to grow, with more people than ever before indicating that they have listened to the medium in the past year. That growth, combined with the growth of the podcast market and the strong relationship between the two, are all part of a renaissance for spoken word programming.”
“It’s another banner year for audiobooks,” says Anthony Goff, VP and Research Committee Chair for the APA, and SVP, Publisher at Hachette Audio. “It has been exhilarating for everyone involved in audio to see such healthy growth maintained, year in and year out. Learning more about audiobook listeners by digging deeper into the metrics of consumer behavior is one of the key ways we can help that growth continue.”

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/audiobooks-continues-double-digit-growth

Scribd says it has over 500,000 subscribers paying $8.99/month for ebooks, audiobooks, and now news

Scribd’s $8.99/month subscription service started out with only ebooks. Over time, it’s expanded to audiobooks, sheet music, documents, magazines — and, as of Tuesday, newspapers. “Select articles” from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian, as well as some archival content from the Financial Times, will now be available to Scribd subscribers.

And Scribd says there are quite a lot of subscribers: The service now has over half a million paying subscribers, paying $8.99 a month, and the company is profitable. I was so surprised by the subscriber number that I asked CEO Trip Adler to repeat himself; it’s true, he said: “We have a $50 million revenue run rate.” The San Francisco–based company now has more than 110 employees.

Newspaper content was a “natural addition” for Scribd, Adler said. The most popular forms of the content on the service are, in order, ebooks, audiobooks, and documents. Magazines were added last fall. Scribd used to also include comic books and graphic novels in its service, but stopped including them because there wasn’t enough reader interest. It also switched from a completely unlimited content model to one that offers access to three ebooks and one audiobook per month. (Documents, magazines, and newspapers are unlimited.)

1405503192

Judging by Scribd’s stated membership numbers, the switch in business model appears to have worked. The numbers seem impressive and are not something that I would have predicted a couple years ago when the ebook subscription site Oyster shut down — especially considering that Amazon keeps adding more reading offerings to Prime.

Scribd won’t be focusing on breaking news from the papers it partners with. Instead, it’s looking for longer, more evergreen content that “fits in with a book kind of experience,” Adler said. “We’re going for the longer-form content that might actually take a few minutes to read, has a longer shelf life, and will be interesting beyond the first day it comes out.” The newspaper content — along with Scribd’s other content — is organized by interest.

Each of the newspapers is making a fixed number of articles available to Scribd; Scribd editors choose which ones to include on the service. Some of the publishers are being paid a flat licensing fee; others are paid by the read.

“People have been talking for a long time about how to monetize journalism and we think we’ve come up with a really interesting answer,” Adler said. The newspapers included for now are the big names that aren’t having as much trouble monetizing as smaller papers, but Scribd may include more papers in the future. “We think, if we can offer all these different newspapers together for one subscription price, we can return more money to journalists that way.”

Source:

http://www.niemanlab.org/2017/05/scribd-says-it-has-over-500000-subscribers-paying-8-99month-for-ebooks-audiobooks-and-now-news/

Simon and Schuster Audiobook Sales Increase by 35% in Q1 2017

Simon and Schuster has reported that their audiobook unit saw a 35% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2017. S&S is bullish about their audiobook growth because Brad Thor, Ruth Ware, Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Stephen and Owen King, and Walter Isaacson all have new audiobooks that are coming out later this year.

Revenue at Simon & Schuster rose 11% in the first quarter ended March 31, 2017 over the comparable period a year ago, hitting $161 million. S&S pointed to a string of bestsellers for the strong first quarter performance, including Unshakeable, A Man Called Ove, All By Myself, End of Watch, Dork Diaries 11 and Baseball Genius. The purchase of Adams Media late last year also gave a boost to sales as did the release of the first books in two new imprints, Gallery 13 and Salaam Reads, which focuses on Muslim characters and stories.

One of the most interesting aspects about the recent quarterly report is that there is no e-book data. The company did disclose that e-book sales are down, but did not mention by how much or even what type of revenue their digital department generated.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/digital-publishing/simon-and-schuster-audiobook-sales-increase-by-35-in-q1-2017

Audiobooks trending among millennials

Over the course of growing up (if one can even consider me a ‘grownup’) and gaining my education, I lost what formerly was a fierce love of reading, and I became obsessed with productivity.

At some point, my days of being engrossed in a Harry Potter novel for eight hours at a time ended. Now my day is a series of tasks involving school, fitness, work and communications through email or phone.

There are probably multiple factors to blame for this lost love. Whether it is a distraction from using my phone for social media in my free time, being burnt out from having too much academic reading, or conforming with society’s general obsession with productivity rather than leisure, I cannot remember the last time I read an entire novel.

A trend among people in their 20s combines both reading and productivity. According to a Wall Street Journal article, “Audiobooks are the fastest growing format in the book business today.”

Audio

The idea of this is immediately intriguing to me.

In a QZ feature, Thu-Huong Ha writes “Audiobooks are a way for people who were once big readers to keep up with their youthful curiosity. As they find themselves with less leisure time than they had in college, the gym and the car become opportunities to be stimulated.”

Most of my classmates are similar to me and have a “sleep when you’re dead” mindset when it comes to productivity. We are a generation fearful of our downtime or moments with nothing to do.

Audiobooks are the opportunity to maximize time when that would otherwise be spent in a not explicitly productive way. In other words, audiobooks can fill car rides, workouts or even time spent getting ready in the mornings with entertainment.

Another benefit is that reading is associated with a wider vocabulary, higher intelligence level, and being a generally well-rounded person. The Audio Publishers Association reports, “We find that our users are well educated, well paid, and successful.”

QZ reports that audiobook listeners tend to be above the U.S. average when it comes to income and education.

As a former book lover who seeks knowledge and wants to stay well informed on a variety of subjects, audiobooks are the perfect opportunity to maximize growth in my life during my downtime.

“Audiobooks mean we never have to be idle,” Thu-Huong Ha writes. “They’re a cure to widespread restless mind syndrome, with its daily self-imposed nagging to make progress: Be more effective, says your productivity tracker. Do and learn more, says your to-do list. Optimize your to-do list, says your faddish new notebook.”

One can even listen to an audiobook at faster speeds in order to limit distraction in pauses during the reading.

Although there is value to having downtime when the mind can wander, audiobooks are an incredibly convenient way to become more cultured and well-rounded.

10-brilliant-audiobooks-that-can-teach-you-a-new-skill-in-less-than-a-day

Source:

http://www.thebakerorange.com/news/2017/apr/17/audiobook-column/

E-Books Decline 16.4% and Audiobooks increase by 29.2%

The Association of American Publishers has reported that from January to November 2016 e-books declined by 16.4% and digital audiobooks increased by 29.2%. This is good news for the audio industry that has been consistently been seeing massive gains over the past three years.

Trade Books

From Jan. – Nov. 2016 vs. the same time in 2015 trade books were flat at 0.5% growth year-to-date.

  • By Category:
    • Adult Books were down 2.1% to $4.4 billion
    • Childrens & YA Books were up 5.8% to $1.6 billion
    • Religious Presses were up 8.6% to $455.4 million
  • By Format
    • Paperback books grew 6.5% to $2.0 billion
    • Hardback books grew 2.1% $2.5 billion
    • Downloaded audio grew 29.2% to $244.1 million
    • eBooks were down 16.4% to $1.1 billion

Educational Materials and Professional Books

  • Educational Materials had a revenue loss of 9.0% for PreK-12 Instructional Materials and 11.5% for Higher Education Course Materials from Jan. – Nov. 2016 vs. the same time in 2015
  • Professional Publishing was down 21.1% From Jan. – Nov. 2016 vs. the same time in 2015. These categories include business, medical, law, scientific and technical books. University presses were down 2.5% for the 11 months.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/e-books-decline-16-4-and-audiobooks-increase-by-29-2

Audible Suspends The Ability To Gift Credits

Audible has just disabled the ability for people to send credits to each other. This is a system in which authors would commonly send credits to users to get a free copy of their audiobooks, but it was abused by people on EBAY selling the credits at a steep discount. Audible has stated that the reason why the killed this system was so they could focus on popular gift memberships and send this book feature.

I believe one of the reasons why Audible disabled the ability to gift credits was because of what a small minority of users were doing. A user by the name of Sixbucks explained what he used to do with the credits “Back when there were a bunch of promos running I would have 4 accounts all taking advantage of the deal and gifting the credits to my primary account.” This resulted in one user with many accounts accumulating a massive amount of credits. They would use the credits to rack up a huge library of audio titles or simply sell the credits on EBAY.

I am very sure that authors and narrators that used to give out credits so people can be exposed to their work will be overjoyed that the credit system has been suspended.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/audible-suspends-the-ability-to-gift-credits

RBmedia launches with focus on digital media, acquires Audiobooks.com

A new digital media company is making its debut with a splashy acquisition: RBmedia, a new entity formed by combining eight brands focused on digital magazine and audio content, will acquire Audiobooks.com, the audiobook streaming and download service the offers access to over 100,000 books via apps for various devices and platforms.

The company’s reach already includes spoken audio content, but the audiobook acquisition opens up a whole new audience, including listeners on platforms like Sonos, CarPlay, Android Auto and across over 10,000 libraries worldwide that use RBmedia’s tech for book lending. The Maryland-based company had already enjoyed a strong library business, but the Audiobooks.com acquisition represents its direct-to-consumer efforts.

“The biggest picture is that audiobooks are really exploding,” explained RBmedia CEO Tom MacIsaac in an interview. “They’re benefiting from a bunch of other trends in the market, and we’re really trying to take advantage of that; we’re trying to build a category-killer in the space. Print book and ebook growth is especially flat. Depending on who you listen to, audiobook growth is 20 to 30 percent per year. We think that’s for two principal reasons – one is the growth of podcasts.”

“We think of podcasts as training wheels for audiobooks,” MacIsaac continued. “When consumers get accustomed to listening to short-form content, it basically conditions them and gets them excited to embrace listening to long-form content. That dynamic has really, really helped the growth of audiobooks.”

 

The other big contributing factor to the rise of audiobooks, MacIssac says, is the growth of voice-based interaction, via connected homes and connected vehicles. Use of voice assistants like Siri, and devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, have primed consumers for audio content delivery. Likewise, in-car platforms like Android Auto and CarPlay, and growing use of smartphone-based content delivery apps for in-car listening, have helped grow the amount of time and attention users have to dedicate to listening to long-form audio.

While RBmedia’s spoken audio business focuses on book-length content, the company is also in regular discussion with dedicated podcast businesses regarding potential collaboration where their models and interests intersect. MacIsaac said that they often talk to “Gimlet, PodcastOne” and others and that they’re “going to be announcing ways in which we collaborate with them” at some point in the future.

The new media distribution company also offers distribution for digital magazines, games, language learning, continuing education courses and more. Basically, it partners with platforms and operates its own wherever there’s a demand for getting digital editions out to the masses. Spoken audio is a key growth area, however, and one where it’s clear McIsaac and company see a lot of new opportunity.

America’s unhealthy obsession with productivity is driving its biggest new reading trend

“I probably started reading ultra hardcore about seven or eight years ago,” says Tom Bilyeu, an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. “Ultra hardcore” means that Bilyeu reads everywhere: While he brushes his teeth, while he gets dressed, in the 30 seconds it takes to cross rooms in his house, he’s reading.

“My big secret is,” says Bilyeu, “I read in all those little transitional moments.” Plus, for the last eight years, he’s optimized his intellectual consumption by listening to audiobooks at three times the normal speed.

Audiobooks are the latest trend in book publishing. They’re part of the podcast boom, and they’re helping US publishers keep losses down as ebook sales from big-name companies continue to slump. What’s been around since the 1980s has a sleek new face, and today who’s listening, where, and why, offers a glimpse into a new reading trend sweeping the US.

Audiobook listening is growing rapidly specifically with 25- to 34-year-olds, thanks to a pernicious “sleep when you’re dead” mindset reflective of the young, aspirational, educated American: We are fearful of mono-tasking, find downtime distasteful, and feel anxious around idleness. Even when picking socks from a drawer, young workers feel better if information’s somehow flowing into their brains. And this is exactly the restless market that book publishers need.

A fast growing format

Audiobooks are booming audibly in the mobile age. In the US, growth of audio is stronger than any other format, according to the Association of American Publishers, which tracks revenue from 1,200 book publishers. And while audiobook unit sales numbers are still small (from January to September 2016, US traditional publishers sold $240 million in audiobooks, compared to $1.8 billion in hardcover books), the format’s growth has meant more and more publishers are putting their money in people’s ears.

“I am very bullish on audio,” Kristen McClean, executive director of business development for market trends company NPD Book. “This is on the top of my list in terms of things I’m watching.”

“What we’re seeing is something that goes beyond the simple ease of downloading,” she says. “I think there is a shift in consumption going on.”

Audiobooks are a way for people who were once big readers to keep up with their youthful curiosity. As they find themselves with less leisure time than they had in college, the gym and the car become opportunities to be stimulated. “I used to read a lot, and probably stopped when I went to law school,” says Jamie Brooks, a lawyer based in New York City. Now she listens to an audiobook a week, on average three hours a day, on the train to work and before bed.

Audiobook listeners tend to be slightly above average in terms of income and education compared to the rest of the US population, according to 2006 data (pdf), the most recent available from the Audio Publishers Association (APA). “We find that our users are well educated, well paid, and successful,” says Beth Anderson, the executive vice president and publisher of Amazon’s Audible, the world’s largest retailer and publisher of digital audiobooks. “A huge number have masters and PhDs. They’re book lovers.”

Restless minds

Audiobooks mean we never have to be idle. They’re a cure to widespread restless mind syndrome, with its daily self-imposed nagging to make progress: Be more effective, says your productivity tracker. Do and learn more, says your to-do list. Optimize your to-do list, says your faddish new notebook.

Mobile technology helps. David Gross, a doctor and longtime audiobook listener based in Washington DC, recalls the trying process of procuring them 20 years ago: “There’d be a paper catalog, you’d call a phone number, they’d mail you the CDs, you’d keep it for a month, you’d mail it back,” he says. Today, downloads take two minutes, and apps make accelerated listening easy.

Source:

America’s unhealthy obsession with productivity is driving its biggest new reading trend

With Audiobooks Hot, Publishers Should Look to Bundle Them With E-Books

I grew up in a rural area with not much to offer an imaginative kid who’d much rather live in London—and, though my parents were very educated, the town I lived in couldn’t support a bookstore. Fortunately, our house was close to the public library, where I basically lived until I was 15, at which point they hired me as a page after school and on weekends.

Holding a new and different book in my room or at the base of the willow tree where I liked to read in summer was a nearly sacred feeling for me. Books were views into worlds I wanted to partake in—worlds where people spoke other languages, had other ways of living, and didn’t have to put up with boys stealing their calculators before chem class and dismantling them. Decades later, I moved from physical books to e-books, which I adopted enthusiastically to cut down on the sheer mass of books in my apartment and avoid lugging around the heavy sagas I love to lose myself in while traveling.

Recently, though, I’ve been part of the return-to-print trend demonstrated by the 3.3% rise of print unit sales in 2016, reported earlier this year by NPD BookScan. The feeling of holding the book, which mattered so much to me as a kid, was just too powerful to let go. I also need to curl up before bed with a long, immersive story—and screen glare tends to affect my sleep thereafter. The soft yellowish invitation of a page, as opposed to the harsh blue glare of a screen, seems more welcoming and soothing.

But I’ve just started a new consulting gig that has me commuting from Staten Island to Manhattan. And I’m not as young as I was—I don’t want to throw my back out carrying Bleak House around, and I’d alike to be able to adjust print size.

In addition, I spend my lunchtime walking around the city, shaking off sedentary desk life. So I’m thinking about different ways of reading, and one possible option was to combine print and digital books. Unfortunately, as Bill Rosenblatt mentions in his blog post, “The Failure of Print and eBook Bundling,” publishers are not exactly leaping to bundle e-books with print titles. And that has to do with Amazon.

Since the inception of the Kindle, publishers have agonized over e-book pricing. When e-book prices from the major publishers reverted back to the agency model, Amazon retaliated by heavily discounting the paperback versions. Thanks to the first-sale doctrine, which applies to physical products, Amazon has the right to set any price it likes on titles it’s purchased from publishers. By positioning print books as a sort of loss leader—the very way they positioned e-books to gain adoption in 2007—Amazon made it more likely that consumers choose physical over digital books.

If book publishers offered their e-books as “sidecar” products to the print versions, they would have to price the e-books at a far lower price than they are now, which would cannibalize their standalone e-book sales. With little financial incentive, publishers have not pushed bundling. With their lower costs, e-books give publishers margin in ways that physical products can’t, and publishers are enormously reluctant to cede ground on that margin—especially given that retailers in the past have instituted processes such as returns and heavy distribution discounts on inventory.

The agency model was a line in the sand; publishers informed trading partners that the days of chipping into their margins were over—which is, in itself, laudable. But in any skirmish between trading partners, it’s the consumer who pays the price. And the consumer is Amazon’s ruthless focus.

What the consumer seems to want, in terms of bundling, is an e-book–audio package. Almost since Amazon bought Audible in 2008, it has been exploring ways to pair Audible files with Kindle books. By 2013 the technology was in place, and Amazon began offering consumers the option of a Kindle-Audible bundle. Because it’s Amazon, we can’t get sales figures on these packages, but because Audible has an enormous catalogue and solid relationships with the Big Five publishers, the bundle offering is fairly widespread on the site.

This seems to be logical. You’re already reading your book on your device. If you’re driving or walking around, you obviously can’t hold text in front of your face, so just connect the device with an audio outlet (Bluetooth speaker, headphones), and pick up where you left off.

Perhaps, then, the answer for me is to curl up in bed with an audiobook.

Source:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/retailing/article/73106-with-audiobooks-hot-publishers-should-look-to-bundle-them-with-e-books.html

Hachette Partners with Wattpad to Produce Audiobooks

Wattpad, the online writing and reading community and entertainment platform, is partnering with the Hachette Book Group to launch Hachette Audiobooks: Powered by Wattpad, a joint venture that will produce 50 audiobooks based on Wattpad stories.

The 50 initial Wattpad audiobook titles will be available beginning in the Summer 2017. Authors and titles will be named at a later date. The partnership will focus on popular Wattpad writers, using actors to adapt their stories into audiobooks for distribution beyond the Wattpad platform.

Ashleigh Gardner, Wattpad’s head of partnerships, said Hachette Audiobooks: Powered by Wattpad is the latest effort by the online community to bring the works of its writers to a broad audience. Wattpad writers continue to sign book deals with conventional book publishers, but Wattpad has also added content deals with film and TV companies such as Turner Broadcasting and Universal Cable Productions to expand the reach of its content.

Gardner said the Hachette partnership will experiment with audio formats other than the standard audiobook format. Hachette also plans to produce Wattpad audiobooks in the physical CD format for libraries and on demand for other interested parties.

The initial release of Wattpad audiobooks will include a wide variety of genres. The titles will be sold digitally and will be available via major online retailers, among them iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Audible.com, Audiobooks.com, Bandcamp, and eStories.

Anthony Goff, senior v-p content development and audio publisher at Hachette Book Group, said “content development is an important initiative for Hachette. We are excited to be working with Wattpad to amplify the audience and broaden the channels of discovery for their unique brand of storytelling.”

Source:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/73057-hachette-partners-with-wattpad-to-produce-audiobooks.html

Mazda is adopting Android Auto so you can listen to Audiobooks

One of the biggest trends in the audiobook industry over the course of the past few years have been porting their apps to Android Auto so commuters could forgo their stale musical playlist and listen to podcasts and their favorite audiobook title.  Mazda has just signed an agreement with Google to have Android Auto implemented in the near future.

Mazda declined to give a timeline or to specify which of its vehicles would be the first to receive the smartphone mirroring services. While that is all fine and good for those who are in the market for a brand new car, the more interesting news is that Jacob Brown, a Mazda spokesperson, claims that both Android Auto and CarPlay “should be retroactively available on all Mazda Connect systems.” He also said that “a potentially minimal hardware addition” would be needed.

Mazda will be bringing Android Auto to the Mazda3 that was released in 2014 and will also be porting it over to the later models.  There will be a firmware update that will eventually get pushed out and it is very likely that Audiobooks.com and Audible will likely make a push to have their apps bundled on the service.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/mazda-is-adopting-android-auto-so-you-can-listen-to-audiobooks

The Indie Authors Guide to DIY Audiobooks

So you want to enliven your self-published book with a rousing audio edition? To hear your work performed is an exciting prospect, but, before you get too deep into the weeds, understand that creating, marketing, and distributing an audiobook on your own will require a considerable commitment. In other words: it can get really expensive really quickly, and the return on investment isn’t guaranteed because audio editions can be difficult to sell. If you’re like most authors, you need serious support for every facet—from narration through production, all the way to marketing and distribution.

“It’s a big endeavor,” says Tyson Cornell, the founder of the small press Rare Bird Books and the boutique marketing and promotions shop Rare Bird Lit. Cornell’s background in the music and literary industries gives him familiarity with the worlds of publishing and audio production. “It’s more than setting up a mike and doing a podcast,” he says. “People get into their own heads really quickly. They think: I don’t need expertise, and if I have someone helping me, I’m getting scammed.”

Seek Out Services

There are many companies and individuals that offer some or all the services needed to self-publish an audiobook. Whatever you decide to do—whether to let a single company produce and distribute your audiobook or to enlist the talent and expertise à la carte—depends on your needs, your budget, and sometimes even the genre of your book. Certainly the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), hosted by Amazon-owned Audible, is the go-to marketplace for finding talent to help narrate, produce, and distribute self-published audiobooks.

“Of course, the ACX site is the prevailing way for a self-published author to hire a narrator,” says Debra Deyan, cofounder of the Deyan Institute, a school to train audiobook narrators, and head of the production company Deyan Audio Services.

ACX connects authors to three tremendous buying platforms: Amazon, Audible, and Apple’s iTunes. And while it’s true that ACX is still the go-to for indie authors interested in creating audiobooks, many e-book publishers have developed audio production services. Here’s a look at some notable providers.

Deyan Audio Services

The name Deyan is legendary in audiobook circles. Deyan Audio—which was cofounded by Debra Deyan and her late husband, Bob Deyan—offers complete audiobook production at $500 per finished hour (i.e., an hour of fully produced audio) and offers over 1,800 actors.

For authors who simply need help with editing and mastering, Deyan Audio charges $100 per finished hour for editing and $25 per finished hour for mastering.

Dog Ear Publishing

Dog Ear is a small business,” says Miles Nelson, cofounder of the Indianapolis-based company. “We take the approach that we’re the high-end boutique guys.”

The same can be said for the company’s audiobook production arm, which Nelson concedes is still a small part of Dog Ear’s overall business. For $1,600, the author can read her own work. Dog Ear provides a recorder and direction over the telephone. It also provides the editing and mastering services in-house as well as the ISBN and distribution services.

It gets a bit pricier if the author wants to use one of the professional narrators Dog Ear sources from the Indianapolis area: the rate can be north of $4,600 depending on the length of the book.

eBookIt

eBookIt’s initial foray into audiobook production simply meant running a book through a text-to-speech offering. Clients—mostly nonfiction authors—liked it. But the company changed its model after founder Bo Bennett had his book professionally narrated. “Once we heard that, we couldn’t listen to the computer-generated ones,” says company president Ryan Levesque. “We scrapped that and went with the human narration.”

The company now maintains a stable of eight voice actors, whose prices range between $150 and $350 per finished hour. For a $149 services fee and 15% of net sales, eBookIt manages the entire project, which includes providing an ISBN, developing the actual audiobook files, and creating an audiobook cover image from the e-book.

Because the final price varies based on options the author chooses, eBookIt has an online calculator to help authors figure out the services they want and the associated costs in advance.

Infinity Publishers

When Arthur Gutch started at Infinity Publishers, its AudioBrite arm did production work for large publishing houses such as Hachette. Gutch, now the chairman, wanted to focus more on indie authors, and Infinity offers two services catering to that smaller group. The first is unabridged audio production through Infinity’s Audio Books Publishing unit, which releases both CDs and digital files via Audible and iTunes.

The basic services include script preparation and contact with the narrator, plus recording, editing, proofing, mastering, publishing, and distribution. Depending on word count, the cost can run $4,000 to $5,000 or more. Additional services include abridgment ($599 per 10,000 words), sending audio copies to reviewers ($25), and hour-long phone consultations ($250).

For $649, Infinity’s One-Hour Audio option will abridge a book, distilling it into an hour-long listening experience. “It’s more attuned to nonfiction work, but, for shorter novels, it also applies,” Gutch says.

Finding Your Narrator

These high-touch services naturally aren’t for everybody. Many authors would prefer to handpick their own talent. ACX remains the most comprehensive tool for this, allowing authors to listen to recorded samples of prospective narrators and request auditions.

“Choose the audition selection from your book wisely,” narrator P.J. Ochlan says. For instance, it shouldn’t be longer than five to seven minutes or 1,000 words. “And it may be good to pick something that features dialogue between key characters,” he adds. “And if your book requires special skills such as accents, make certain they’re in the narrator’s wheelhouse.” Additionally, as both Ochlan and award-winning narrator Johnny Heller point out, narrators on ACX double as audiobook producers—which is why authors need to assess production quality as well as performance.

This leads to another important consideration: payment. That is, deciding whether to offer a royalty share or a flat per-finished-hour fee. And it’s up to the narrator to decide whether to accept. “If your book is already out there in an e-book or something, you should be able to tell the narrator what your sales are like,” Heller says. “Not free downloads: sales. Is there profit potential for the narrator?”

If sales aren’t great—or if an e-book hasn’t been released—it might be difficult to convince a professional narrator to agree on a royalty-share model. Narrator Jeffrey Kafer says there is no solid cutoff: “If the author is selling a thousand a month on Kindle, yup, I’ll do a royalty share. But is 500 a month a good number? Probably. Two hundred? It depends how much risk a narrator wants to take.” Other considerations, Kafer says, are an author’s social media presence, promotion efforts, and prolificacy. New releases, after all, can spur sales of the back catalogue.

Of course, paying on a per-finished-hour basis is a different story. “Get a realistic estimate of the total running time,” veteran narrator Robert Fass says. “That’s critical.” Running time should be based on word count because the variability of margins and font sizes makes page count unreliable. “It you’ve got 100,000 words, you can count on a 10-hour finished audio product,” Fass says, adding that it often takes a professional two hours to create one finished hour.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there’s a pricing floor for hiring members of SAG-AFTRA as readers. The minimum rates are negotiable but typically begin at $200 per finished hour, according to a union spokesperson, plus a 13% contribution to the guild’s health and retirement fund. “That said, narrators are free to set their own, higher rates,” the spokesperson says.

Additionally, Kafer urges indie authors to relax and let the professionals do their jobs. “One of the big things that authors do is they feel they need to direct or micromanage,” Kafer says. “I’ve heard horror stories where the narrator submits the book and gets a spreadsheet of a thousand things the author didn’t like. That’s the worst thing an author can do. I understand this is your baby, but you hired the narrator for a reason. You have to let go of your baby and let the professional you hired do their job.”

Source:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/67327-diy-audiobooks.html

8 Great Ways to Market Your Audiobooks

If you’re a traditional author looking to market your books, you’re in luck. If you want to put in the work, there are literally hundreds of spots that can help you to sell more books, and book readers follow them eagerly. Audiobook fans, on the other hand, are a different breed. They listen to your books on the go, in the gym, while doing work, and even while driving the car. None of this is true of the typical book reader. Audiobook listeners are a fast-moving bunch, and you’ll have to adjust your book marketing strategies to catch their attention. 

Give Them a Sample

Most audiobook producers allow listeners to download a short sample for free, sort of a try-before-you-buy setup. Go one step further and put up the first chapter of your book on SoundCloud. Use the same tags for this listing as you did the book online, and curious listeners will be able to search for your book. If you’ve got multiple books, you can keep them all on the same SoundCloud page, giving you a chance at multiple sales.

Make it Available

Audiobooks seem to get pushed into the background when it comes to book marketing. The simple act of giving the audiobook equal billing with your print novel and ebook will create more sales across the board.

Gather Those Reviews

Your producer may give you a certain number of coupon codes when they publish your audiobook. Use these for the most popular reviewers, giving them a copy of your work and asking for a review. In addition, ask all your loyal readers for a review as soon as they finish listening. Reviews sell.

Team Up With Your Narrator

The least you two should be doing is pushing each others’ work on your webpages and social media. Host a virtual release party with her or, if you live near each other, team up for a live event.

Show Them How it’s Done

Readers and listeners love to hear about the insider’s view of writing and publishing books. Bring your fans along while you write your next novel or nonfiction book, and then take pictures and talk about the production aspects of creating an audiobook. This will alert people to the audio before it’s live online.

Go To the Audio Audience

Email book podcast owners and volunteer to be interviewed. They’ve got to fill big editorial calendars and having a ready subject for one day could be a lifesaver for them. Do readings on radio shows, volunteer your nonfiction expertise on online talk shows, and go anywhere else you find a listening audience.

Make a Book Trailer

If you’ve got the movie-making ability to put together a quality piece about your book, you’ve already got half the work done with an audiobook. Cut together audio scenes and flash a series of relevant pictures and you’ve got a great advertisement to put on your website as well as social media.

Join the APA

The American Publishers Association is a non-profit organization that raises awareness for audiobooks. June is National Audiobook Month, when they put on a social media campaign to get the word out.

Source:

http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/bloginfinitypublishingcom/8-great-ways-to-market-your-audiobooks

What’s the best way to listen to ebooks?

My wife used to love reading but since her stroke has aphasia, no speech, limited vision and limited dexterity in her left hand only. She can select TV channels on a remote but she cannot read a short news story let alone a novel, so she listens to the radio and watches a lot of TV. I thought of getting her a Kindle e-reader but they don’t seem to do text to speech any more. A shop assistant suggested a tablet with a text-to-speech app. If so, which tablet/which app? It needs a really simple interface or my wife will not be able to use it without assistance.

I have installed OverDrive for RNIB talking books on my phone. This is far too fiddly for my wife to use. Also, the choice of books is limited. Peter

There are lots of answers to this question, but they may not work for your wife. The possibilities include good old-fashioned cassette tape recorders, specialised talking book readers such as the Victor Reader Stream, CD players, MP3 players, smartphones, tablets and PCs. You may need to use different technologies for different types of material.

Either way, remember that cassettes have been doing this job for decades, and there are thousands of tapes on eBay.co.uk. Prices vary, but you can often pick up cheap bundles for £1 per book, or less. CD audiobooks are not as common, but you may find some titles your wife would like.

 

In the future, I may have a two-word answer: Amazon Alexa. The longer version would be “a voice-recognition system with intelligent personal assistant software that can play audio on demand”. There are other AI-based PAs including Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, but Alexa is already available on the Amazon Echo, which makes it instantly available for voice commands. Google has yet to launch its copycat product, Google Home, in the UK, but it’s expected in this year’s second quarter. Alexa will also appear on Amazon’s £39.99 Fire TV Stick on 6 April.

Alexa won’t work for your wife if she has “no speech”, but voice-driven AI systems like Alexa can not only answer questions and play audio, they can operate a lot of smart gadgets. They should make life easier for people who, for whatever reason, struggle with small screens, tiny buttons and incomprehensible user interfaces. That includes me.

Kindle talk

Text-to-speech (TTS) is a relatively old technology: Texas Instruments started making the speech synthesis chips used in its Speak & Spell toy in the 1970s. Amazon introduced text-to-speech in the Kindle 2, but it ran into objections from the Authors Guild. In a New York Times opinion piece, The Kindle Swindle?, the Guild’s president argued that ebook rights don’t include audio rights, and authors needed the extra cash. (See my story from 2009: Amazon caves to Authors Guild over Kindle’s text-to-speech reading.)

But now, at long last, you can get a Kindle option. Amazon is offering a Kindle Paperwhite Blind and Visually Impaired Readers Bundle for £134.98. This includes a 7th-generation Kindle ebook reader, a small external Kindle Audio Adapter, and VoiceView for Kindle software. The audio adapter has an audio socket for headphones or speakers. It works with Kindle ebooks that support VoiceView, but it doesn’t play music. Incidentally, in the US, Amazon sells the Kindle Audio Adapter separately for $19.99 (£16.44).

Audible audiobooks

Audible Inc was one of the pioneers of digital audiobooks, and Amazon bought that company in 2008. Unfortunately, the UK’s Amazon Prime service doesn’t include a selection of Audible audio books alongside the free movies, but there is some hope: American Prime users now get free Audible Channels, for streaming only. Either way, it might be worth subscribing to Audible, which costs £7.99 per month after a free first month. Your wife might like its BBC Collection in particular.

There are numerous ways to listen to Audible books, including Amazon Fire tablets and the Echo. There are apps for Apple’s iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows and Windows 10. You can also listen online via a “cloud player” or use a compatible MP3 player. Audible has its own file formats – AA, AAX, AAX+ and M4B – which include DRM copy protection. However, audiobooks can be transferred to other devices via iTunes or Audible Manager software for Windows. (I’m not a subscriber so I’m not certain this still works.)

There are several other audiobook services that are worth a look. These include OverDrive – which you already have – Downpour and Hoopla. The Open Culture, Project Gutenberg and LibriVox websites are good sources of free audiobooks.

Amazon also offers free audiobooks. You can find them by searching for “audible audiobooks free”.

Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/askjack/2017/mar/09/listen-ebooks-amazon-kindle-stroke-reading

Findaway Launches New E-Book and Audiobook App called Duobook

Findaway is the largest audiobook distributer in the world and they power the collections of Nook Audiobooks, Scribd and hundreds of others. The company has just released a new app called Duobook, which blends the audio and e-book experience, which suggests the company might be pivoting in a new direction.

At its core, DuoBook is an audiobook player and an eBook reader in one app, but its biggest feature is how it aligns the eBook and audiobook together, allowing you to switch between formats without losing your place in the story. You can listen for a while, maybe during your commute, and then at night maybe you prefer to read before bed — when you pick up the eBook, DuoBook puts you at the right page in the story so you can just pick it back up and continue seamlessly.

Will Dages the lead developer at Duobook told me that “Every story in DuoBook will always come with both formats (audio and e-book), so there isn’t a notion of buying one format and adding on the other, it’s always a package deal. DuoBook works on iPhone and iPad right now, and syncs your position in the cloud, so if you have two devices you can switch between listening on one and reading on the other seamlessly. An Android app is coming in 2017.”

Findaway primarily markets a basic audiobook engine their customers and access to their API library incase larger companies have developers who are going to make an audio engine from scratch. Dages said “We didn’t use the white label app as our starting point for DuoBook because of how much custom work was involved with aligning the eBook and audiobook together, and the white label app is meant as a great starting point for an audiobook player, but isn’t geared towards the eBook half of what we built for DuoBook.”

Duobook launched last week and only has a handful of titles in their library, while they work out the kinks. Dages assured me that in 2017 we can expect hundreds of additional audiobooks/ebooks will be available.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/findaway-launches-new-e-book-and-audiobook-app-called-duobook

Audiobook companies are betting that Podcasts are a gateway to audiobook consumption

One of the biggest trends in the audiobook industry has been companies developing a respectable podcast portfolio in order to drive listeners to become paid audiobook customers. Audible and TuneIn Radio are dominating the US market,  but in 2017 and smaller regional players are likely going to develop similar business models.

Podcasts in 2016 showed some strong gains on both a monthly basis (17% to 21%) and weekly (10% to 13%). Those who consume podcasts on a weekly basis listened to an average of five podcasts per week.

Audible does not like the word podcasts, although the company features hundreds of them. Esther Bochner the senior PR manager at Audible told me “the original shows and series produced by Audible and available in Audible Channels aren’t called podcasts – as we find that the term is limiting in terms of customer expectations as to the scope of our content offering. Channels also includes stand-up comedy, performed fiction and nonfiction, lectures, audio editions of newspaper and magazine articles, meditations etc – many of which would never be considered podcasts, so we use the much broader language of original audio series and original audio show to categorize our content overall so as not to confuse customers.”

She went on to say “I can tell you that at Audible we are always looking for ways to attract new listeners and draw new people to the format, whether that means introducing podcast listeners to our own original and audiobook programming, or introducing our longtime audiobook listeners to short-form programming to enjoy in between audiobooks to enjoy Audible during more of their days.”

TuneIn Radio has 5.7 million podcasts in their portfolio and they recently unveiled technology so people can listen to them offline, without a cellular data or wifi connection. The offline listening experience, in addition to encrypted playback, will add approximately 15-20k audiobooks in the directory in the first or second quarter of 2017.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/audiobook-companies-are-betting-that-podcasts-are-a-gateway-to-audiobook-consumption

Audiobook Publishers Association Launches Blogger of the Year

Today the Audio Publishers Association is announcing the 3rd annual Audiobook Blogger of the Year Contest. The contest opens today, and bloggers who are based in the United States have until March 16th to enter. This year’s winner will receive two tickets to the 2017 Audie Awards Gala in New York City (valued at $700), recognition of their award at the Gala, and a $200 cash prize.

“Book bloggers sit beside librarians on the list of my favorite people on Earth,” says this year’s celebrity judge, Scott Brick. “I love their passion and their originality—there are so many unique approaches they bring to their love of books, and I find reading their posts endlessly fascinating.  We in the audiobook world are always looking for new listeners, always on the lookout for ways to introduce new people to the medium, and book bloggers are the perfect avenue for achieving that, and I’m hugely grateful.  It’s a privilege and an honor to be one of this year’s judges for the Audiobook Blogger of the Year Contest.  I can’t wait to get started!”

Audiobooks are the fastest growing segment in publishing and they are starting to get more attention in the blogosphere than ever before. I have personally been writing about the format for the past four years and continiously write about that latest happenings and once a year I write an epic report on the entire industry and it normally takes me a few months to write. It is likely the most comprehensive summary of the global audio industry and is packed with statistics, interviews, quotes and is constantly revised with new data. Sadly, because I live in Canada this automatically disqualifies me from entering this contest and getting any type of official recognition.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/audiobook-publishers-association-launches-blogger-of-the-year

Audie Award

An Audie Award (or Audie), bestowed annually in the United States, recognizes outstanding audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment. The Audies have been granted by the Audio Publishers Association, the not-for-profit trade organization of the audiobook industry, since 1996. The nominees are announced each year in February, and the winners are announced at a gala banquet held in May, usually when the BookExpo America fair is happening. The Audies are sometimes promoted as “the Oscars of the audiobook industry” and serve as a way to promote audiobooks.

Awards are given in about thirty categories. Some of the awards relate to types of writing, including abridged and unabridged fiction and non-fiction, and such genres as romance, fantasy and mystery; other awards recognize excellence in different styles of narration and production, such as multi-voiced performance and production values. Over the years, the structure and the categories of the awards have changed. These changes are reflected in the lists of the Audie award winners in the external links below.

The 2016 award ceremony was held May 11 at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and was hosted by Paula Poundstone.

Awards are given out in the following 29 categories only for works sold in the US that contain at least 51% spoken word content:

  • Audiobook of the Year
  • Fiction: titles that don’t fit into the following nine specific fiction categories.
  • Literary Fiction & Classics
  • Mystery
  • Thriller/Suspense
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Paranormal
  • Romance
  • Erotica
  • Inspirational/Faith-based Fiction
  • Non-fiction: titles that don’t fit into the following ten specific non-fiction categories.
  • History/Biography
  • Autobiography
  • Business/Personal Development
  • Inspirational/Faith-based Non-fiction
  • Humor
  • Original Work: not based on a print work
  • Young Listeners
  • Middle Grade
  • Young Adult
  • Audio Drama
  • Best Female Narrator
  • Best Male Narrator
  • Best Narration by the Author
  • Multi-voiced Performance: multiple readers with little to no interaction

These are given to the Industry at the Audio Publishers Association conference:

  • Excellence in Design
  • Excellence in Marketing
  • Excellence in Production

How Publishers Are Marketing Digital Audiobooks

As audiobook listeners increasingly turn to digital content, how do publishers catch those ears (and eyes), especially during the holiday gift-buying season? While a number of audiobook marketing executives say the aim of promotional efforts should be to draw attention to audio regardless of format, there are some different avenues that can be used to highlight digital editions.

The biggest challenge in the digital marketing scenario, according to Linda Lee, v-p and general manager for Scholastic Audio, is to give one’s programs an edge in a crowded field. “Since many digital distributors are able to offer hundreds of thousands of titles—compared to retail hard-copy resellers, who might have product SKUs only in the thousands—it is hard to have a title stand out,” she says. “Therefore we usually have to be far more aggressive with our promotions in the digital space.” As examples of means of drawing in consumers, she cites offering larger discounts and even free titles. “We try to focus these highly discounted and/or free offers on first-of-series titles,” she says, hoping to hook listeners who will want to purchase subsequent titles at full price at a later date.

Hachette Audio takes a similar tack: “One thing we do to promote digital audio is create special low-priced offers for download titles we know make great gifts, particularly when we have a tie-in moment—for example, when a new book in the series is coming out in hardcover, or when the title we’re downpricing is newly available in paperback,” says Megan Fitzpatrick, director of marketing and publicity.

At Tantor Audio, marketing manager Cassandra McNeil says that though she plans various discounts throughout the holiday shopping season, “the big digital focus for us comes after the holidays, where we can change the focus to asking, ‘Did you get a new MP3 player/audio device?’ and then offering sales to help listeners choose new titles for their new devices.”

Not surprisingly, such downloadable audio promotions are a perfect fit with social media, and the majority of publishers that PW spoke with mentioned targeting listeners via Facebook, Instagram, and SoundCloud, that latter of which, Fitzpatrick says, is “one of our most crucial social media channels—we have 386,000 followers.” Samantha Edelson, marketing director at Macmillan Audio, says that advertising on social media, as well as with bloggers or podcasts, as ways to extend the company’s digital reach. And Sarah Lieberman, v-p and marketing director for Simon & Schuster Audio, points to the role authors can play in the promotion process. “Many of our authors are increasingly supportive and excited about audio,” she says, and they work together to promote audio titles through the author’s various channels as well. To that end, Lieberman says that she and her team focus on procuring behind-the-scenes material—recorded interviews, videos, in-the-studio photos—that could be used for promotion, or even as bonus material for a published recording: “It’s on our mind for every single person that comes through the studio. We think it adds to the consumer sense of being a part of what we’re doing.”

Source:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/audio-books/article/68951-how-publishers-are-marketing-digital-audiobooks.html

9 Easy & Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Audiobook

As an independent author and publisher, I’m constantly faced with the challenge of how to compete in a crowded marketplace with titles that have big budgets and entire publicity teams behind them. Many shy away from the challenge, chalking it up as impossible, but I’ve learned that you can reach readers without spending big money; you just have to be creative.

Here are nine easy and inexpensive ideas you can try right away…

1. Reviews

Just as there are reviewers for print and e-books, there are reviewers who specialize in audiobooks. There are traditional publications, like AudioFile Magazine, which is published in print and digital formats and is dedicated solely to audiobooks, as well as a host of audiobook review blogs that are always looking for new titles. These reviewers can be found with a simple Google search or by perusing directories like the Book Blogger directory, Indie View, or the Book Blogger List.

Don’t forget about your own fan base. If you’ve produced your audiobook with ACX, then you will receive 25 promo codes that you can use to give away free copies of your audiobook in exchange for a review.

>Tip: As stellar reviews come pouring in, re-post them on your social sites to help spread the good word.

2. Interviews

Reach audiobook enthusiasts using other audio formats, like radio and podcasts. There are thousands of radio stations and podcasts that offer a variety of programs, which are often looking for guests and experts. Think about the subjects explored in your audiobook and how they could translate into an interesting discussion or interview. Then, identify a list of shows that would benefit from having you as a guest and pitch yourself to the shows’ producers.

For example, my audiobook, Empty Arms, explores teen pregnancy, forced adoptions, sealed records, and their devastating impact on an entire generation of women, so I’ve been targeting programs that deal with women’s issues.

To find radio shows that might be a good fit for your subject matter, check out the Radio Locator database. It’s a useful tool that allows you to search for radio stations by geography or format and then connects you to each station’s website, where you can learn about upcoming show topics and find the producer’s contact information.

For podcasts, visit the Podcasts section of the iTunes store and try searching for different keywords related to your book. You’ll be surprised at the number of shows you find. (Here’s an interview I scored over at The BookCast.)

>Tip: It can be time-consuming to monitor all of the publicity opportunities out there. You might find it useful to subscribe to Radio Guest List, a free booking service that sends you a daily e-mail with current radio, podcast, and television publicity opportunities.

3. Sponsorships

Unlike most radio shows, podcasts are often produced at the expense of the host. As a result, many are seeking sponsorships to help offset their production costs. Sponsorships are generally short messages that are either read by the host or pre-recorded by the sponsor and played during the show. Often times, the cost is nominal but the impact can be strong if you work with shows that reach your target audience.

4. Free Samples

Give people an easy, risk-free way to sample your audiobook. SoundCloud allows you to create a free sample that you can embed on your website, in blog posts, and all throughout your social presence (see mine below). Plus, it links directly to your audiobook’s buying page to allow for easy conversion. This is different than the “free audio sample” feature on Audible because you don’t have to send people over to Audible to hear it.

Tip: When creating your free sample, be sure to capture a compelling scene that leaves listeners wanting more, so they’re more likely to buy your audiobook.

5. One-Minute Trailer

Many books launch with a book trailer, but where some go wrong is creating a book trailer that is too long. I saw one that was five minutes long! Five minutes is a lifetime, but most people have a minute to spare. By creating a one-minute book trailer, you are promising not to waste the person’s time. For an example, see my one-minute trailer for Empty Arms below.

Tip: In addition to linking to your one-minute trailer on your website and social sites, try including it in your e-mail signature (along with your free audio sample mentioned above) to maximize reach.

6. Collateral

Digital audiobooks can be challenging to sell in person because they’re not a tangible product, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a presence at an event. A postcard-sized promotional card can go a long way in telling people about your audiobook and reminding them to order it when they get home. I use them at book festivals, signings, conferences, and I even keep a few in my purse to give to people I meet when I’m out and about. Online printing services like VistaPrint make it fast and affordable to produce marketing collateral for your audiobook

>Tip: If you aren’t skilled in graphic design, there are budget-friendly services like 99 Designs and CrowdSpring that allow you to submit a creative brief for your project and then have a pool of talented design pros compete for the job.

7. Affiliations

What groups, clubs, networks, or associations are you part of? Think collegiate, professional, religious, service, and hobby. Do any of your groups have newsletters? If so, find out if there’s a section dedicated to member news. Opportunities like this are a great source of free advertising, yet they’re often overlooked.

8. Social Media Advertising

Social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, offer low cost, highly targeted advertising opportunities. Ad campaigns are easy to create—they require a little bit of text and an optional image—and they’re budget sensitive, so you can dictate how much you’re willing to pay per click, set a daily budget cap, and stop your campaign at any time, giving you full control over how much you spend.

With regards to targeting, Facebook allows you to filter your audience by location, gender, age, and interests (which include categories like “audiobooks”). These filters ensure that your ad is only being seen and clicked on by people who might actually be interested in buying your audiobook. Since LinkedIn is a social site for professionals, it’s a great place to target business travelers and commuters who might be likely to listen to audiobooks while they’re on the road. Goodreads is another logical place to promote your audiobook because it’s a community of readers. Plus, its ad platform allows you to reach your audience based on the genres and authors they like.

>Tip: Create a unique ad headline and body copy for each audience you target to increase the chance that your ad will resonate and turn into a sale.

9. Awards

The Audio Publishers Association holds the annual Audie Awards (it’s like the Emmy’s, but for audiobooks). The Audies recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment across 30 different categories. Entry fees for this award can be a little pricey ($100 for APA members; $175 for non-members), but this sort of recognition can go a long way in letting the world know about your audiobook.

Source:

http://writerunboxed.com/2014/10/04/9-easy-inexpensive-ways-to-promote-your-audiobook/

5 Surprising Trends in the Book Industry

In the changing technological landscape of the 21st century, the book publishing industry is in constant flux. Here are five trends to watch for in the publishing realm.

Return to brick-and-mortar

Years after their near-extinction—due in part to the increase of e-readers and the dominance of online booksellers—brick-and-mortar bookstores are making a comeback. In 2015, new stores began opening and others expanded to new locations, according to The Wall Street Journal. Amazon, a significant factor in the demise of brick-and-mortar bookstores, is hopping on the bandwagon with physical bookstores in Seattle, San Diego and Portland, and plans to open hundreds more by the end of 2017.

Rise of self-publishing

According to publishersweekly.com, self-publishing is becoming more popular each year. Self-published authors can earn from 60 to 80 percent of the royalties from their book’s list price as opposed to traditional publishing, where authors earn only around 12 percent to 17 percent. According to writersdigest.com, self-publishing can serve as a catalyst for breaking into mainstream publishing. Publishers are more likely to take on a book if the writer has already proven his success through self-publishing.

Audio book boom

With the recent rise of podcasts and in-car and home streaming, audio books are experiencing a bump in popularity as well. According to goodereader.com, audio books are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry: 43,000 new audiobooks were released in 2015, compared to 36,000 in 2014 and 20,000 in 2013. Between August 2014 and August 2015, sales of audio book sales increased 43.4 percent. Publishers believe the ease of listening to an audiobook anywhere draws consumers.

Authors and social media

Gone are the days when an author retreated to her office to write, emerging six months later with a finished manuscript. These days, authors are expected to keep up with social media channels and expand their reach digitally to boost sales. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has 8.44 million Twitter followers. Rupi Kaur, a young writer from Canada, landed a book deal partly because of the 672,000 fans who follow her on Instagram.

Apps are up, e-readers down

When the Kindle and Nook were first released, a customer needed to own a dedicated e-reader in order to access their libraries and features. Now, you can download a Kindle app on your smart phone, computer or tablet and have the same experience. Amazon and Barnes & Noble realized that expanding the market for e-books more than made up for potential declines in the sales of the devices themselves. (According to Bookseller magazine, e-reader sales fell for the very first time in 2015.) The Wall Street Journal reports that publishers are looking toward phone applications instead of e-readers. Although the majority of people who use electronics to read use tablets, that number is declining as the number of those reading on phones increases.


Reporter’s Takeaway

• The trend toward more brick-and-mortar bookstores, most famously announced by Amazon, is spreading across the country. Explore the reasons for the original decline in your region, as well as a possible resurgence.

• Self-publishing is another major shift in the book business. It’s worth investigating how this is impacting the traditional publishing industry as well as the platforms on which authors now publish. No matter how they are being published, authors are expected to use social media as a key marketing tool; take a look at authors who are using it most effectively.

• While audio books have gained in popularity, the sale of e-readers is in a slump. You can conduct man-on-the-street interviews that explore this trend, and ask publishing professionals for their long-range predictions.

Source:

http://businessjournalism.org/2016/10/5-surprising-trends-in-the-book-industry/

Audiobook now Available on Amazon

42 chapters of tasty recipes every parent will love. The recipes are simple and easy to read. The family dinners include some flavorful recipes that any family will enjoy. Kasani’s Baby and Toddler CookBook is your guide to these important first years of eating. Find the building blocks of starting your child on solid foods, how to recognize food allergies, and easy ways to cook in bulk. Recipes progress from single-ingredient purées to multi-flavor blends like Garden Vegetable combo and Beets Blueberry mesh. This book also includes oral allergy information as well as the best BPA free utensils for children. Stage 1 and Stage 2 foods are included. Most can be made ahead and frozen, many are easily adapted for grown-up tastes, and all include full nutritional value. Please consult with your pediatrician ahead of time for food allergies also included in depth. Free of pesticides, hormones, GMOs, and additives, these delicious purees promote strong immune systems and healthy growth.

Audiobooks.com becomes the first premium audiobook service to offer full Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatch compatibility

TORONTO, Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Audiobooks.com is pleased to announce their full compatibility with both Apple and Android wearable technologies, making them the only premium audiobook service to provide that option to their customers.

“We recognize how important innovation and convenience are to our customers, so offering them the option to listen with Apple and Android watches was important to us,” says Ian Small, Audiobooks.com CEO.

This expansion into wearable technology is in addition to Audiobooks.com’s availability on tvOS, Sonos, CarPlay, Android Auto, and select infotainment systems in GM, Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles.

“Connective technology – in homes, in cars, and now in style – is the way of the future, and Audiobooks.com is committed to being on the leading edge of that movement.”

Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatch users can now:

  • Launch the Audiobooks.com app from their smartwatch
  • Browse and listen to any audiobook in their My Books library
  • Access controls for play, pause, forward, rewind and volume

This announcement follows the recent Wear 2.0 version update for Android, with which Audiobooks.com is fully compatible when coupled with the mobile app.

About Audiobooks.com
Founded in 2011, Audiobooks.com is an app-based streaming and download service for audiobooks, delivering fast and easy access to over 100,000 titles to booklovers around the world. Subscribers can listen to their audiobook of choice on any Internet-enabled device via the free Audiobooks.com app. The company’s proprietary technology synchronizes users’ last listened-to position across all devices, creating a seamless user experience. Find out more at www.Audiobooks.com.

Source:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/audiobookscom-becomes-the-first-premium-audiobook-service-to-offer-full-apple-watch-and-android-wear-smartwatch-compatibility-300408061.html

Self-published author Bethany Claire amassed over $60,000 in earnings in audiobooks

Q: How did you become an author and audiobook publisher?

A: The writing bug bit me in college. I started writing creatively just for fun, which allowed me to escape from my 18-hour course load for a half an hour each day, and I lived for it. But that half hour quickly grew into several hours, and I knew that my passion for writing went far beyond the enthusiasm I’d had for any other hobby. Over the course of the next four years, I changed my major seven times. But it wasn’t writing.

Then, on one fateful summer day, I heard about a writers’ academy hosted by my university. I enrolled right away. It was the first time I’d been around other people who were as passionate about writing as I was. It totally changed my world.

When I decided to drop out of college and pursue writing full-time, I wrote like a fiend, studied every single thing I could find about the business, and made a plan for publication. I continued to work part-time before releasing my novels, but five months after dropping out of school, I released the first three books in my Morna’s Legacy Series. Less than a year after that, I hit the USA Today best-seller’s list.

Two years after releasing my first three books, I made the jump into audio after listening to ACX representatives speak at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference. It was something that my readers wanted, and I’d been curious about for a while. I knew it had the potential to be an extra source of income for my business, and I looked forward to the creative process of bringing the characters in my stories to life.

Q: What decisions have contributed to your audiobook success, and what made them the right decisions?

A: From the very start, I think one of the best things I did was offer a high per-finished-hour payment rather than the royalty share option. Despite my fear of investing so much money upfront for the audiobook production, I knew that my goal with my business has always been to look at long-term success. I knew that eventually I would earn out on that investment, and once I did, I would be so glad that I was able to keep my full royalties. It was an excellent decision. It only took a couple of months for me to earn out on the investment of paying my narrator a set amount.

disneyland-collage

Focusing a section of my marketing efforts towards the sale of my audiobooks has really helped with my success. Giving out the free download codes that ACX provides with each new audiobook release is a great way to build buzz among your readers about a new release and to encourage reviews. I also post and tweet about my audiobooks often, and use online design tools such as Canva to create beautiful and professional-looking images to go along with my posts and ads.

Q: How about when getting your start in audiobooks?

I wish that someone had urged me to start sooner! I waited two years to get into audiobooks—two years that I could’ve spent growing my audiobook audience and income. I was nervous to take the initial dive into this format, but I had nothing to fear and so much to look forward to. I wish that I had considered audiobooks at the beginning of my publishing career.

Another piece of advice I would offer to fellow authors is that if you have a book that contains multiple points of view, post an audition piece that allows the narrators to read from each POV. For example, all of my books have scenes from both female and male POVs, and they are romance novels. So when I posted my audition script, I included a scene from each POV, as well as a love scene. Hearing the narrators read these portions helped me cast the perfect voice.

Q: What is your “must have” item in your writing space?

A: Every time I sit down to write, I diffuse peppermint and orange essential oils in the diffuser that sits close to my desk. The peppermint keeps me alert, and the orange is a mood lifter.

Bethany Claire is a USA Today Bestselling Author of the Morna’s Legacy Series, with more than ten books published since the release of her first novel in 2013. Bethany loves to immerse her readers in a world filled with lush landscapes, hunky Scots, lots of magic, and happy endings. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Source:

https://blog.acx.com/

Why Indie Authors Must Start Producing Audiobooks

One of the first questions that indie authors and small- to mid-size publishers ask me about audiobook production is, “How much does it cost?”

My answer is always, “It depends.”

Producing an audiobook is like building a house: your choices dictate your final cost. Each recording is custom-made rather than mass-produced. When people contact me about narrating and producing their audiobook for them, I always want to educate them about the time and skills necessary for a polished production. However, most people want me to simply cut to the chase and give them a firm number.

Before I can even give a ballpark estimate on a custom quote, though, I point out, “You can have the finished audiobook fast, good, or cheap. Pick any two.”

Since no dollar figure can apply to all circumstances, the more useful questions for authors might be:

1. How much do I need to pay up front?
2. What are the long-term costs?
3. If I pay up front, how long will it take to recoup my investment?

While other production sites and models are available, I’ll use Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange for this discussion, since it’s practically the only way for an author to produce an audiobook with a professional narrator and have no up-front costs. ACX also is a completely free service to both authors and narrators. Finally, in my research, I have not found a company that will pay a higher royalty rate than the 40 percent offered by Audible.

Traditionally, publishers have paid narrators, sound engineers and proof listeners on a per finished hour (PFH) basis. However, studio time may be charged in real hours.

The general rule of thumb is that at least 6.2 hours of time are required to produce that one finished hour. The 6.2 hours covers the recording, editing, proofing and mastering needed to create the retail-ready product.

An audiobook that runs 10 hours, therefore, generally would require at least 62 hours to complete—and possibly many more, depending on its complexity.

Given the number of people involved and the studio rental costs, you’ll often see traditional production quotes of $5,000 or more, depending on the length of the book.

On ACX, the narrator is also the producer who is responsible for all phases of production. Most narrators on ACX have created a home recording studio and do not charge a separate fee for its use. The narrator may do her own editing, proofing and mastering, or hire someone to do those tasks.

Now that you have a little background, let’s look at each question individually.

1. How much do I need to pay up front?

If you want to pay nothing up front, you could post your book on ACX under a royalty share (RS) contract. Many authors think of this type of production as “free,” but it’s really a deferred payment in which the costs of production are repaid to the narrator over time through the royalties paid by Audible. Choosing this option means:

  • You must choose exclusive distribution with Audible, which includes Amazon and iTunes in its reach. You won’t be able to sell your audiobook on any other website—including your own—you won’t be able to sell it on CD, and it won’t be available to libraries.
  • You will split the royalties paid by Audible 50-50 with the narrator for the seven-year distribution period. Under the current terms, each of you would earn 20 percent of the royalties paid in that timeframe.

The author earns royalties from all editions of her work, but the RS narrator only gets paid when the audiobook sells. Therefore, the RS narrator is taking ALL of the risk for low or no sales of the audiobook.

She also has to consider her up-front costs: she must pay her editor and proofer at the time service is rendered. Since a narrator could easily stay in the red for quite a long time on an RS project, most experienced narrators are reluctant or may even refuse to consider an RS contract.

Alternately, you could decide to pay the production costs up front by hiring a narrator on a PFH contract, which is a buy-out option that lets the author retain all royalties. This choice is especially attractive when your ebook routinely sells 1,000 or more copies a month.

Experienced narrators charge between $200 and $400 per finished hour. For instance, at $200 PFH, a narrator would send a $2,000 invoice for complete production of a 10-hour audiobook.

By the way, if you want to select non-exclusive distribution with Audible, you must choose a PFH contract.

2. What are the long-term costs?

Although an RS contract initially seems ideal to authors, many indie authors get frustrated with it over time for several reasons:

  • Most narrators who work on RS projects understandably schedule those titles after work that pays up front. The audiobook might take longer to produce as a result.
  • Production and/or acting quality could be lower with inexperienced narrators, which might lead to bad reviews and lower sales of the audiobook.
  • Under exclusive distribution, the author incurs the hidden opportunity costs of unavailable options, like back-of-the-room sales.
  • The author earns only half of the available royalties for seven years.

On the other hand, a PFH contract has no long-term costs. The author pays once for the production, retains all royalties and has the freedom of choice in distribution options.

3. If I pay up front, how long will it take to recoup my investment?

Audible pays monthly royalties based on the amount it received for each unit sold, not the title’s purchase price. Audible member credits are worth about $10 each and account for the most sales. Other factors such as special sales and currency exchange rates affect the proceeds.

Generally, for a 10-hour book, Audible pays about $4 in royalties per unit sold. The author keeps the entire royalty amount on a PFH contract. On an RS contract, the author can expect to earn only half of the available royalties, or around $2 per audiobook sold.

In our earlier example of the $200 PFH contract, the author pays $2,000 for production costs of a 10-hour audiobook. After selling only an estimated 500 units of the audiobook, the author would break even from the royalty payments. From that point forward, all remaining audiobook sales would generate pure profit of around $4 in royalties paid per unit sold.

Many authors get quite excited when they realize that it may not take long to break even on a PFH contract and then earn double the profit they would have had in an RS contract!

A final useful question for authors who are thinking about audiobook production is:

With the increasing number of devoted audiobook listeners and press coverage about the audiobook industry, can you afford to not produce audiobooks of your titles?

Source:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/authors-can-you-afford-to-produce-an-audiobook/

Aided by apps, audiobooks market grows in Japan

The use of audiobooks is increasing steadily in Japan, providing a boon to the publishing industry, which is facing declining sales of ordinary books.

Audiobooks already account for 10 percent of book sales in the United States and Europe. In the U.S., audiobooks, which started as cassette tapes to listen to while driving, currently form a market worth ¥160 billion.

In Japan, audiobooks as cassette tapes started in the 1980s, but were limited to niche markets such as learning foreign languages and listening to rakugo (comic stories).

People in Japan shunned bulky cassette tape players because they usually commute by train, said Wataru Ueda, chairman of Otobank Inc., an audiobook distributor founded in 2004.

“The situation has changed drastically thanks to easy access (to audiobooks) via smartphone apps,” Ueda said.

Otobank opened a downloading site, called Febe, in 2007 and the number of users has increased from about 2,000 to 180,000. The company now offers 19,000 books, ranging from business titles to literary works.

Otobank has stimulated demand for audiobooks due partly to the adoption of poets, as well as popular actors and dubbing artists, as readers.

Users often listen to audiobooks while commuting, jogging or doing household chores.

Audiobooks have a market of ¥5 billion in Japan. Given their market share of around 10 percent in the U.S. and Europe, the market “could grow to ¥90 billion to ¥100 billion,” Ueda said.

To capitalize on the growth potential, U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. broke into the Japanese market in July 2015 with its Audible audiobook service already available in countries such as the U.S., Britain and Australia.

As part of its marketing offensive in Japan, Amazon decided to use actor Morio Kazama to record all seven books in the popular Harry Potter series. Although the number of audiobooks offered by Amazon is limited by comparison with Otobank, it allows users to listen to as many books as they like for a fixed monthly fee of ¥1,500.

This compares to Audible services overseas, which in principle require users to pay each time they download a book.

“The market is expected to expand in Japan, which, like the U.S. and other countries, has a large population of educated people who like to read books,” said Misako Furuya, head of the Audible business at Amazon Japan G.K.

In April 2015, a total of 16 Japanese publishers, including industry leaders Shinchosha, Kodansha Ltd. and Shogakukan Inc., formed the Japan Audiobook Association to conduct joint market research and studies on the protection of copyrights in order to prepare for an expansion of the market here.

Pending issues are the high cost of producing audiobooks and low public recognition of them, Otobank’s Ueda said.

Compared with electronic books, which are produced by converting physical books into digital data, the production of audiobooks costs more because it uses dubbing artists and, when necessary, special sound effects.

The future of audiobooks will depend on whether producers can overcome cost and other difficulties and offer an extensive lineup of works.

Source:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/13/business/aided-apps-audiobooks-market-grows-japan/#.WKGxidIrK1s

8 Ways Podcasters Can Profit From Their Shows

As podcasts continue to explode in popularity, more and more people are jumping in head-first and creating new shows, in an effort to leverage themselves as industry experts, build an audience, connect with more influencers, build personal brands and boost exposure for their businesses. 

A lot of people are also now successfully using podcasting as an additional revenue stream for their businesses and for themselves as individuals. 

 

If you too are interested in making more money from podcasting, here are eight different ways you can profit from your show:

1. Podcast sponsorships

Popular podcasts like Entrepreneur on Fire, The Art of Charm and the $100 MBA Show generate thousands of dollars — each month — through sponsorships. With the CPM (cost per impression) model, your show will get:

•  $18 per 1,000 downloads for a 15–second pre–roll

•  $25 per 1,000 downloads for a 60–second mid–roll slot

If your podcast gets 3,000 downloads per episode, you’ll get $54 for a 15–second pre–roll and $75 for a mid–roll slot.

“This could help cover some of your podcasting costs,” says Yann Ilunga, organizer of the Podcast Success Summit, the largest digital conference about podcasting. “New podcasters in particular focus on downloads and landing sponsors, but there are different ways to profit from a podcast — even if you have a “small audience.”

2. Relationships

Some may not consider relationships a profitable element within the podcasting world. Ilunga, however, disagrees. “Regardless of whether you’re hosting an interview–based podcast or not, relationships are a very powerful element in podcast, just like in business,” he says.

“After interviewing several top podcasters I can say that networking is the number-one reason why many entrepreneurs, marketers, authors and coaches decide to start a podcast.”

When looking for guests to interview, don’t focus exclusively on their status, but think about your business. “Many hosts want to interview A–listers on their shows, and there isn’t anything bad with that,” saysJessica Rhodes of Rhodes to Success. “Think about your business, though. Instead of chasing guests because of their status, be strategic and try to interview people who you may collaborate and actually do business with.”

3. Increase the sales of your products and services.

Before running after sponsors, take a look at the products and services your business is selling already. Is your product relevant to the people who tune in to your show episode after episode, week after week? If the answer is yes, think of ways you can strategically leverage your podcast to increase sales.

An exclusive discount for your audience could contribute to an increase in sales. Remember, your being in your listeners’ earbuds is a powerful way to build authority and reinforce the “know, like and trust” factor. You’re building that factor with your show, so don’t be afraid to promote your products and services or offer exclusive discounts, assuming they are relevant to your audience.

Start looking at your show in a more strategic way and think of it as a marketing tool that can help you turn listeners into subscribers, and turn prospects into paying customers.

4. Coaching

In Booked, best-selling author Josh Turner discussed an appointment–setting system that builds around social media. Are you a business coach with a podcast? You may want to consider a similar approach that, instead of social media, revolves around your show.

Again, think of ways you can turn listeners into subscribers first. Do you offer a free 30-minute session? Why not leverage your podcast and invite people to sign up for it?

If free consultations aren’t part of your coaching business plan, consider exclusive discounts for your audience.

5. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is an option to consider, especially if your show is rather technical and often features you mentioning resources. “During a recent interview The Audacity to Podcast host Daniel J. Lewis shared the fact that affiliate commissions allow him to generate a good income from his podcast,” Ilunga recalled.

In all likelihood, most of your own podcast content is evergreen. This means that the information you shared yesterday is still relevant today and will be relevant over the next months and years.

This means that, as your show grows, you could potentially generate passive income — through affiliate marketing — by podcasting.

6. Books and audiobooks

As a podcaster, you spend hours creating high-value content, which you give away for free. People tune in, get advice and have the option of applying it to their business. In “3 Content Marketing Trends You Need to Be Addressing in Q2,” I talked about repurposed content as a powerful content-marketing practice.

Who says that you can’t apply repurposed content to your podcast to make money?

Hack the Entrepreneur host Jon Nastor is a great example of a podcaster who repurposed part of his content and created a product people pay for: a book. To write his book, he simply took some takeaways from the interviews he hosted on that podcast and combined them with brand new content.

Not that everybody is a writer, and writing a book may not be your thing. But, what about audiobooks? “As podcasters craft their art, they become better communicators and better storytellers,” says narrator and audiobook creation expert Krystal Wascher. “Why not take your recording skills and create an audiobook? You probably have content and know how to record. It’s a no-brainer, really.”

7. Crowdfunding

In some cases, you may consider asking for your community’s contribution. A crowdfunding platform like Patreon allows you to get your audience’s support in the form of pledges. “Noah Lugeons, for instance, is making $1,200 an episode,” explains Brian Kane, a.k.a. “The Real Brian, host of Profitcast. “There are several components that go into successful crowdfunding, but it’s important for podcasters to understand that there are ways to profit from your show beyond the traditional CPM sponsorship model.”

8. Virtual summits

Podcasts and relationships can also turn into a monetary business opportunity, in the form of virtual summits. Navid Moazzez, founder of The Branding Summit, and Yann Ilunga with his Podcast Success Summit, are examples of podcasters who leveraged their shows to build relationships and then used those to put together world-leading digital conferences.

With the Branding Summit, Moazzez generated $20,000 in sales and increased his email list by 3,000 subscribers.

Adds Llung: “Are you a podcaster who would like to organize the largest virtual summit in your industry? Tap into the connections you made through your podcast — that’s how I did it, and managed to put together an event that features over 80 expert speakers. I leveraged the relationships I had built through interviews for my podcast.”

Source:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/277912

The State of Indie Audiobooks

For the second consecutive year, sales of audiobooks grew around 20% in 2015, totaling about $1.77 billion, according to the Audio Publishers Association (APA). The boom is due to the explosion of digital audio, which has made audiobooks more accessible.

Self-published audio has also taken off, with the maturation of Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) and the rise of institutions catering to authors who want to self-publish their audiobooks. For instance, the Deyan Institute, which opened in 2014, offers training for audiobook performers. And Author’s Republic, owned by Audiobooks.com, launched last November to help self-published audiobook creators distribute their work.

“In five short years, ACX has literally turned the audiobook industry on its ear by making audiobook production available to those who may never have considered it,” said Audible’s EVP and publisher, Beth Anderson. “Thousands of publishers and authors have introduced their works in a new format, and thousands of narrators and producers have accepted gigs to make 58,000 audiobooks.”

And while a lot goes into self-publishing an audiobook—authors must handle everything from hiring narrators and setting up distribution to production and editing—signs point to an increase in the number of self-published audiobook titles, and the audiobook industry is confident that self-publishing is taking off. “Anecdotally, there are definitely more titles produced in audio, and we know more people are doing it by themselves,” says Michele Cobb, executive director of the APA.

Certainly, one can see the growth of self-published audiobooks through their representation in major awards such as the Audies. In 2016, Leah Atwood’s Christian romance Come to Me Alive was an Audie finalist. In 2015, Joe Cipriano’s memoir Living on Air, which he cowrote with his wife, Ann Cipriano, was an Audie finalist, as was Rosalind James’s contemporary romance Just This Once. And 2014 saw Richard Bard’s thriller The Enemy of My Enemy represented, as well as Eric Thomas’s autobiography, The Secret to Success. And, in five years, ACX authors have received 20 Audie nominations and won three times.

And quality has improved as more audiobooks are self-published. “As the ability to get into self-published audio has grown, so has the knowledge of standards within the industry,” says Jessica Kaye, who, in 2006, founded Big Happy Family, an audiobook distributor.

Authors are much more aware of what a clean audiobook should sound like, Kaye says. “It’s not just the content—it’s the quality of production. Those two things must marry to be a good audiobook. One of the saddest things is when someone sends me a sample and says they know it’s great because they recorded it at a professional studio. And they may have, but it’s not a studio that knows how to do audiobooks.”

Distribution Matters

There’s also more understanding about the importance of effective audiobook distribution, especially given the proliferation of digital portals that traffic in audiobooks. Audiobooks published exclusively with ACX are distributed on Amazon, iTunes, and Audible, but not on other platforms such as Hoopla, OverDrive, and Bibliotheca’s 3M, which serve libraries. ACX also offers a nonexclusive option, which allows authors to distribute their books via any platform. “The library market has always been an important part of the book market,” Cobb says. “It’s where a lot of discovery happens, and a lot of people feel it’s important that their titles are there.”

In addition to publishing for the library market, authors can make their self-published audiobooks available on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Scribd’s TuneIn, and emerging platforms such as Downpour and Libro.fm. And, according to Meaghan Sansom, COO at Author’s Republic, the international market is burgeoning as well.

This variety of audiobook portals has generated a need for the type of distribution services provided by Big Happy Family and Author’s Republic, especially as many portals won’t work with individual authors. Though ACX does, its policies can be limiting. As Sansom points out, it only accepts submissions from U.S. and U.K. residents, is exclusive for seven years, and doesn’t give authors control over list prices.

Despite these issues, Audible’s influence in driving authors toward self-publishing their audiobooks is undeniable. “Audible strongly suggested it,” Rosalind James says about her decision to self-publish. “They’re really pushing audio as more of a first choice rather than as a boutique choice for reading.”

To date, James has about 10 books produced through ACX and six books published through Audible Studios and Brilliance Audio. And James isn’t the only author who was persuaded by Audible. ACX offered Leah Atwood a stipend to entice her to do an audiobook version of Come to Me Alive. ACX provides stipends for select titles to encourage audiobook creators to try its royalty-share option, which allows them to produce their audiobooks with no out-of-pocket costs and compensates narrators with a 50% share of the royalties, with payments coming once the title is completed.

The stipend gave Atwood wider berth to choose from various narrators, especially as the going rate for a professional narrator can be about $300 per finished hour of audio. “I don’t think you’ll find a high-quality narrator below $150 per finished hour,” Atwood says, “but I don’t think I’ve ever paid $300 for one.”

Big Happy Family’s Kaye says there are many factors that can influence the price of narration. A narrator might simply be interested in the project and offer to take less, for example.

While a narrator can make or break an audiobook, there are other expenses as well, including hiring a director, a sound engineer, and a producer. Costs can run well into the thousands of dollars, yet, for many authors, it’s worth it to be able to oversee the final product.

“Because I was self-published and funding it myself, I hired all the people who worked on it,” says voice-over actor Joe Cipriano about Living On Air. “It didn’t matter if it took three or four or eight weeks. I was going to take my time and do what needed to be done so the finished product was something I could be proud of.”

Cipriano wanted to stage his audiobook like a radio play. “Besides telling the story, I wanted to entertain,” he adds.

James prefers the process of self-publishing audiobooks to that of releasing them via convention audio publishers. “I got to give detailed character notes to my narrator, chapter by chapter,” James says. “If a teenage girl sounds too snotty, I can say, ‘Hey, back off on her.’”

Dollars and Cents

Though creating an audiobook is easier today than it had been in the past, it still takes quite a bit of time and money—even for authors who write copiously and sell well. James says her audiobook production costs range from $4,000 to $6,000 per title.

Atwood says audiobook sales are about 5% of her monthly income. “It sounds small, but it’s still a nice chunk of change,” she says. “I’ve made back everything I’ve invested in them, even though I’m not making a fortune.”

Thriller writer Richard Bard, author of the popular Brainrush series, says: “What ultimately drives the sale of the audiobook is getting the digital and print book at the top of the bestseller lists.” But this can be more difficult in some genres than others. For instance, James says some authors can land in the top 10 for a given genre by selling 100 books per day. Authors writing contemporary romance, however, have to sell about 1,000 books a day to hit that list.

Another factor authors must consider when self-publishing audiobooks with ACX is that the company changed its payout terms two years ago. Under the old contract, ACX had a 50% royalty rate and escalator clauses stating that for every 500 books sold, the royalty rate goes up a percentage point. That put James at a 62% royalty rate. “Under the new contract,” James says, “it’s a flat 40%.”

Still, Anderson notes that Audible’s rates can be very lucrative for authors. “Many ACX authors have revealed that they actually make more money from their audiobooks than they do from their print or e-books because of the attractive royalty and bounty rates that the service provides. Many of them earn just as much through ACX’s generous customer bounties as they do through royalties.” (An author receives a bounty payment when his or her book is an Audible customer’s first download, if that customer remains an Audible member for two billing cycles.)

Despite the many challenges, James—and many narrators—sees audiobooks as a profitable investment. In addition to the payout, having audiobooks gives her a degree of credibility. “If your books are offered as e-books, paperbacks, and audiobooks, you look like a real author,” she says.

“ACX works great if Audible promotes you,” James says. Last month, a buy-one-get-one-free special drove about 900 unit sales of her books. “That’s huge for audio, and it trickles down, since people go on to read the series,” she says.

Digital channels and social media may increase authors’ options, but many have found that they need to be creative in promoting their audiobooks. ACX, for instance, gives out free promo codes that authors can give away to reviewers, and Bard hopes to incorporate the giveaway feature into Facebook ads targeted at audiobook listeners with the aim of driving free downloads of his first book, Brainrush.

Anderson says that this is just part of ACX’s commitment to helping authors promote audiobooks: “ACX’s blog offers constantly updated marketing and promotional tips for authors, as well as success stories that other rights holders can learn from.”

Source:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/70745-the-state-of-indie-audiobooks.html

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Publishing on ACX

Audio content is making a comeback. Just look at the recent popularity of the podcast Serial. MILLIONS OF PEOPLEtuned in every week, as if the radio age were still upon us. More people are using the audio medium to consume content because it’s easier than ever to listen on the go.

Consumers can download a podcast to their phone so they can listen on their commute. They can stream an audio course on their car stereo for a trip to the in-laws. They can even pop on their headphones at work and listen to an entire audiobook.

When you look for ways to increase your book revenue, it’s important to choose platforms with an upward trajectory. The Audiobook Creation Exchange, ACX, is an Amazon company that allows authors to publish their books in audio format. As the audio boom continues to spread, ACX may be the next logical place for you to find additional sales for your book. Here are six things you might not know about publishing on ACX:

1. You Can Publish For Free

Before ACX, it’s likely that you’d need between $200 and $500 per finished hour of content to get your book recorded. For a 10-hour book, that could mean a $5,000 investment for a high-quality author. ACX has a feature that lets you do a 50/50 royalty split with narrators with no upfront costs. While this fact may prompt you to quickly post all your books to the platform, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Most good narrators are picky with their projects. When they consider narrating a royalty-share book, they’ll want to ensure that they’ll get a positive return on investment. If they look at the book on Amazon and see that it only has five reviews and a poor sales rank, then they likely won’t even audition for it.

You can improve the chances of your book being selected if you secure a stipend from ACX. The audiobook retailer will provide royalty-share narrators with $100 PER FINISHED HOUR OF WORK for stipend books. To secure a stipend, you need to craft a pitch to ACX detailing your plan for how you’ll sell your book. They’ll only award the stipend to projects they think will sell well on the platform.

2. Audiobooks Take Time

An ACX project takes more time than you’d think. First, you’ll need to audition narrator candidates. Posting a stipend-approved book with a strong sales pitch may get you a dozen or more potential readers. Without the stipend or a commendable sales record, you may need to go hunting for narrators one-by-one through the ACX system. As you’re looking, it’s a good idea to check out the other books the candidates have narrated to ensure their books are well-reviewed. After you select a narrator, the waiting game begins.

Narrators often have several projects on their plate at once. This means it could take several weeks or months until you get a completed book. Keep in mind that you can speed the process along by staying in close contact with your narrator and listening to the first 15 minutes he or she provides as soon as possible.

When the book is complete, Amazon will take up to three weeks to process the project. Finally, after two weeks of auditioning, two months of narrating, and another two weeks of processing, you’ll be able to start selling your book.

3. There’s No Price Control

Selling through Amazon’s KDP platform can make you spoiled when it comes to price. For many years, authors had no price control whatsoever when it came to their books. Unfortunately, ACX is similar to traditional publishing in that respect. ACX controls the price of your book and when it will put your book on sale. You will not receive a notification when your book is discounted either. If you’re used to using discounts as your number one marketing method, then you’ll need to think outside the box when it comes to your audio promotion.

4. Promotion Is Challenging

You can’t expect your audiobooks to sell well simply because your ebook or paperback versions have done so. While there is a lack of price promotion on ACX, there are some audio specific promotions that can lead to success.

Booking interviews on podcasts can serve multiple masters. Podcasts are growing in popularity and they’re part of an audio-based medium. As a result, you may sell significantly more audiobooks than you would as part of a blog tour.

You’re entitled to use 15 minutes or 10 percent of your finished book, whichever is larger, to promote your work as well. You can use this to create AUDIO-SPECIFIC PROMOTION through a sort of trailer on YouTube or SoundCloud. ACX will also provide you with 25 codes that you can use to gift the book to reviewers. You can also request an additional set of codes, which ACX is usually happy to provide.

Beyond those methods, you’ll need to be creative when it comes to getting the word out about your books.

5. You Need to Sign a Contract

Putting your books on ACX is a major commitment; a seven-year commitment to be exact. When you produce your book through ACX, you’re required to sign a long-term contract that gives you 40 percent royalties if you go exclusive and 25 percent royalties to retain the right to sell elsewhere. These rates are cut in half if you decide to go with the royalty-share option on a particular project.

This contract is non-negotiable and you’ll have to sign it if you want your audiobooks to be displayed on Amazon.

6. Audiobooks Are On The Rise

Despite the challenges related to time, promotion, and exclusivity, the rise of audio content may be worth the hassle. Authors with multiple books on the platform have reported consistent THREE- TO FOUR-FIGURE months on ACX. As the audio resurgence continues to grow, those paydays could jump even higher in the years to come.

It’s Time to Listen Up

The rise of audio programming is difficult to ignore. Like any business pivot, learning and enhancing the audio side of publishing will take time. Once you’ve developed a production and promotion routine, however, the monthly royalties may be more than worth listening to.

Source:

http://authormarketinginstitute.com/6-things-you-didnt-know-about-publishing-on-acx/

Authors, Can You Afford to Produce an Audiobook?

One of the first questions that indie authors and small- to mid-size publishers ask me about audiobook production is, “How much does it cost?”

My answer is always, “It depends.”

Producing an audiobook is like building a house: your choices dictate your final cost. Each recording is custom-made rather than mass-produced. When people contact me about narrating and producing their audiobook for them, I always want to educate them about the time and skills necessary for a polished production. However, most people want me to simply cut to the chase and give them a firm number.

Before I can even give a ballpark estimate on a custom quote, though, I point out, “You can have the finished audiobook fast, good, or cheap. Pick any two.”

Since no dollar figure can apply to all circumstances, the more useful questions for authors might be:

1. How much do I need to pay up front?
2. What are the long-term costs?
3. If I pay up front, how long will it take to recoup my investment?

While other production sites and models are available, I’ll use Audible’s Audiobook Creation Exchange for this discussion, since it’s practically the only way for an author to produce an audiobook with a professional narrator and have no up-front costs. ACX also is a completely free service to both authors and narrators. Finally, in my research, I have not found a company that will pay a higher royalty rate than the 40 percent offered by Audible.

Traditionally, publishers have paid narrators, sound engineers and proof listeners on a per finished hour (PFH) basis. However, studio time may be charged in real hours.

The general rule of thumb is that at least 6.2 hours of time are required to produce that one finished hour. The 6.2 hours covers the recording, editing, proofing and mastering needed to create the retail-ready product.

An audiobook that runs 10 hours, therefore, generally would require at least 62 hours to complete—and possibly many more, depending on its complexity.

Given the number of people involved and the studio rental costs, you’ll often see traditional production quotes of $5,000 or more, depending on the length of the book.

On ACX, the narrator is also the producer who is responsible for all phases of production. Most narrators on ACX have created a home recording studio and do not charge a separate fee for its use. The narrator may do her own editing, proofing and mastering, or hire someone to do those tasks.

Now that you have a little background, let’s look at each question individually.

1. How much do I need to pay up front?

If you want to pay nothing up front, you could post your book on ACX under a royalty share (RS) contract. Many authors think of this type of production as “free,” but it’s really a deferred payment in which the costs of production are repaid to the narrator over time through the royalties paid by Audible. Choosing this option means:

  • You must choose exclusive distribution with Audible, which includes Amazon and iTunes in its reach. You won’t be able to sell your audiobook on any other website—including your own—you won’t be able to sell it on CD, and it won’t be available to libraries.
  • You will split the royalties paid by Audible 50-50 with the narrator for the seven-year distribution period. Under the current terms, each of you would earn 20 percent of the royalties paid in that timeframe.

The author earns royalties from all editions of her work, but the RS narrator only gets paid when the audiobook sells. Therefore, the RS narrator is taking ALL of the risk for low or no sales of the audiobook.

She also has to consider her up-front costs: she must pay her editor and proofer at the time service is rendered. Since a narrator could easily stay in the red for quite a long time on an RS project, most experienced narrators are reluctant or may even refuse to consider an RS contract.

Alternately, you could decide to pay the production costs up front by hiring a narrator on a PFH contract, which is a buy-out option that lets the author retain all royalties. This choice is especially attractive when your ebook routinely sells 1,000 or more copies a month.

Experienced narrators charge between $200 and $400 per finished hour. For instance, at $200 PFH, a narrator would send a $2,000 invoice for complete production of a 10-hour audiobook.

By the way, if you want to select non-exclusive distribution with Audible, you must choose a PFH contract.

2. What are the long-term costs?

Although an RS contract initially seems ideal to authors, many indie authors get frustrated with it over time for several reasons:

  • Most narrators who work on RS projects understandably schedule those titles after work that pays up front. The audiobook might take longer to produce as a result.
  • Production and/or acting quality could be lower with inexperienced narrators, which might lead to bad reviews and lower sales of the audiobook.
  • Under exclusive distribution, the author incurs the hidden opportunity costs of unavailable options, like back-of-the-room sales.
  • The author earns only half of the available royalties for seven years.

On the other hand, a PFH contract has no long-term costs. The author pays once for the production, retains all royalties and has the freedom of choice in distribution options.

3. If I pay up front, how long will it take to recoup my investment?

Audible pays monthly royalties based on the amount it received for each unit sold, not the title’s purchase price. Audible member credits are worth about $10 each and account for the most sales. Other factors such as special sales and currency exchange rates affect the proceeds.

Generally, for a 10-hour book, Audible pays about $4 in royalties per unit sold. The author keeps the entire royalty amount on a PFH contract. On an RS contract, the author can expect to earn only half of the available royalties, or around $2 per audiobook sold.

In our earlier example of the $200 PFH contract, the author pays $2,000 for production costs of a 10-hour audiobook. After selling only an estimated 500 units of the audiobook, the author would break even from the royalty payments. From that point forward, all remaining audiobook sales would generate pure profit of around $4 in royalties paid per unit sold.

Many authors get quite excited when they realize that it may not take long to break even on a PFH contract and then earn double the profit they would have had in an RS contract!

A final useful question for authors who are thinking about audiobook production is:

With the increasing number of devoted audiobook listeners and press coverage about the audiobook industry, can you afford to not produce audiobooks of your titles?

Source:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/authors-can-you-afford-to-produce-an-audiobook/

The new norm: Audiobooks see boom in digital, multitasking age

Curling up with a paperback may be a forgotten luxury for many thanks to today’s busy lifestyles, but listening to a book on the go, while shopping or jogging, is fast becoming the new norm.

Gone are the cumbersome cassette sets that could cost three times as much as an old-fashioned book and often featured only excerpts to cut down on costs.

Now, audiobooks are just a click away and can be uploaded onto a smartphone for the same, if not lower, price as the print edition.

Mary Beth Roche, president and publisher of Macmillan Audio, says their reader feedback suggests many use audiobooks as a “multitasking tool,” a way to “consume books when their eyes are busy.”

For others — whose work lives may involve long stretches at the screen — they are a way to unplug.

“It’s sort of nice to sit back, and relax and have a story told to you,” said Roche.

Some 35,574 audiobook titles were released in the United States in 2015, according to the Audio Publishers Association, an eight-fold increase over five years.

That year, sales of books read out loud reached $1.77 billion, an annual jump of 20 percent.

According to the Author Earnings website, Amazon largely dominates the market — even more so than for the print book industry — with around 119,000 audiobooks sold per day in January 2016.

At the core of its earnings is industry leader Audible, which Amazon bought in 2008. The tech and retail giant also offers subscription deals, including one book per month for $14.95.

Most major publishers now have dedicated audiobook teams.

– A favorite in the car –

In the United States, audiobooks have long been serious business — simply because Americans on average spend so much time in their cars.

“What we found out is that’s a way for consumers to make that time in traffic, quality time,” said Roche.

“Even way back when it was the cassette and then the CD, the number one place that people listen is in the car. We do find that a long car trip or a long commute is often what triggers someone to try an audiobook and to experience it for the first time and then they find other places where they can listen.”

When audiobooks became available in digital format, people started using them during other activities — when out shopping or jogging, performing household tasks or crafting.

– ‘Lose myself’ –

For thriller author John Hart, gyms and shops are not necessarily the best place to enjoy a book.

“But if it’s a quite contemplative type of environment, driving or working in a quiet manner, it’s probably a great way to experience these books,” he said.

“Driving your car on a long trip I find for instance an audiobook is every bit as satisfying as sitting in a quiet room and reading and in fact it can even become more so completely immersive. I’d lose myself in the experience.”

The audio rights for Hart’s first book were sold to Recorded Books. After that, his publisher Macmillan sought to retain control of the audiobook as well as the print rights.

Anthony Goff, senior vice president at Hachette Book Group, noted that authors today have a much keener interest than before in the audiobook version of their works, sometimes suggesting readers or offering to do the reading themselves.

Most celebrities who recently published autobiographical works in the United States also provided recordings of the volumes, including Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Fisher and Bernie Sanders.

On average, audiobooks account for 10 percent of sales of the print version, said Roche. But the figure is greater for some genres, such as science fiction, fantasy and especially self-help works.

Roche estimates that at least 1,000 copies of a given audiobook must be sold in order to start making a profit. That’s because they can be expensive to produce.

“We still count on print to lead the charge, but I do believe that audio sales are helping to expand the market and finding new fans for our authors,” said Goff.

Source:

http://tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/technology/the-new-norm-audiobooks-see-boom-in-digital-multitasking-age/56640036

Audiobooks see boom in digital age

CURLING up with a paperback may be a forgotten luxury for many thanks to today’s busy lifestyles, but listening to a book on the go, while shopping or jogging, is fast becoming the new norm.

Gone are the cumbersome cassette sets that could cost three times as much as an old-fashioned book and often featured only excerpts to cut down on costs.

Now, audiobooks are just a click away and can be uploaded onto a smartphone for the same, if not lower, price as the print edition.Mary Beth Roche, president and publisher of Macmillan Audio, said their reader feedback suggests many use audiobooks as a “multitasking tool,” a way to “consume books when their eyes are busy.”

For others — whose work lives may involve long stretches at the screen — they are a way to unplug.

“It’s sort of nice to sit back, and relax and have a story told to you,” said Roche.

Some 35,574 audiobook titles were released in the United States in 2015, according to the Audio Publishers Association, an eight-fold increase over five years.

That year, sales of books read out loud reached US$1.77bil (RM7.94bil), an annual jump of 20 percent.

According to the Author Earnings website, Amazon largely dominates the market — even more so than for the print book industry — with around 119,000 audiobooks sold per day in January 2016.

At the core of its earnings is industry leader Audible, which Amazon bought in 2008. The tech and retail giant also offers subscription deals, including one book per month for US$14.95 (RM67).

Most major publishers now have dedicated audiobook teams.

A favourite in the car

In the United States, audiobooks have long been serious business — simply because Americans on average spend so much time in their cars.

“What we found out is that’s a way for consumers to make that time in traffic, quality time,” said Roche.

“Even way back when it was the cassette and then the CD, the number one place that people listen is in the car. We do find that a long car trip or a long commute is often what triggers someone to try an audiobook and to experience it for the first time and then they find other places where they can listen.”

When audiobooks became available in digital format, people started using them during other activities — when out shopping or jogging, performing household tasks or crafting.

For thriller author John Hart, gyms and shops are not necessarily the best place to enjoy a book.

“But if it’s a quite contemplative type of environment, driving or working in a quiet manner, it’s probably a great way to experience these books,” he said.

“Driving your car on a long trip, I find for instance an audiobook is every bit as satisfying as sitting in a quiet room and reading and in fact it can even become more so completely immersive. I’d lose myself in the experience.”

The audio rights for Hart’s first book were sold to Recorded Books. After that, his publisher Macmillan sought to retain control of the audiobook as well as the print rights.Anthony Goff, senior vice president at Hachette Book Group, noted that authors today have a much keener interest than before in the audiobook version of their works, sometimes suggesting readers or offering to do the reading themselves.

Most celebrities who recently published autobiographical works in the United States also provided recordings of the volumes, including Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Fisher and Bernie Sanders.

On average, audiobooks account for 10 percent of sales of the print version, said Roche. But the figure is greater for some genres, such as science fiction, fantasy and especially self-help works.

Roche estimates that at least 1,000 copies of a given audiobook must be sold in order to start making a profit. That’s because they can be expensive to produce.

“We still count on print to lead the charge, but I do believe that audio sales are helping to expand the market and finding new fans for our authors,” said Goff. — Relaxnews
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/education/2017/02/05/audiobooks-see-boom-in-digital-age/#L6AgjygzhfTkXKgm.99

7 Reasons Why Your Book Should Also Be An Audiobook

Reason #1: The Size of the Audiobook Industry is Nearly a Billion-Dollar Industry.

The Audio Publishers Association estimated in December 2004 that the size of the audiobook market was $800 million. Since then, audiobook sales growth has exploded due to the ability to download audiobooks from sites like Audible.com, iTunes and ChristianAudio.com. I predict that when the APA releases their next set of numbers, the industry will have broken 1 billion dollars in revenue.

Is your book getting a piece of that action?

Reason #2: Book Mavens Listen to Audiobooks.

A maven is somebody who is a connoisseur of information. When people have a question, they often go to the maven in their life. Chances are you know a car maven who is the first person you talk to when you need to buy a new car. Another word for “maven” is “nerd.”

A book maven is the kind of person who reads 50+ books a year and has hundreds of books on their GoodReads bookshelf.

Audiobook mavens are able to read so much because they listen to books while driving, working out, or cooking. If you have an audiobook, not only will you make money selling the audio versions, you’ll make additional money through the recommendations of book mavens who listened to the audio version.

Reason #3: Audiobooks Protect You From the Oprah Effect.

The Oprah Effect is when a famous person recommends your book out of the blue. Suddenly, 100,000 people all want to buy your book and the 5,000 copies in the stores are gone within hours. Then your publisher scrambles to print more books, only to have them returned because everyone’s forgotten about the book. The opportunity was lost because the books went out of stock. E-books are the best protection for this, but audiobooks protect you as well.

If someone famous recommends your book, there will never be a shortage of (downloadable) audio books. Whether it’s ten downloads or a million downloads, you’re covered.

Reason #4: Audio Books Boost Paper & eBook Sales.

If people love your audiobook, they’ll sometimes go back and buy a paper copy so they can underline it and show it off on their bookshelf. So not only do the audio mavens recommend the book to friends, but people will buy additional copies for themselves as well.

Amazon’s Whisper Sync is now causing this sales boost to apply to Kindle books as well.

Reason #5: Audiobooks Give You Access to Non-Readers.

There are millions of people in the world who hate reading, but love listening.  These “non-readers” either can’t or won’t take the time to sit down and read a book. Perhaps they struggle with slow reading, dyslexia or are blind. Or they may be a busy CEO or reporter. When you have an audiobook, the pie of potential readers gets bigger, which is exactly what the publishing industry needs.

I am one of these non-readers. I only “read” audiobooks and I “read” a lot of audiobooks. I listened to 69 books last year and am on track to read 60+ this year. If you want people like me to read and recommend your book, there had better be an audio version.

Reason #6: Having an Audiobook Makes You Easier to Find.

There are over 100,000 books on Audible. There are millions of books on Amazon. I can’t think of an easier way to break your book out of the crowd than to turn it into an audiobook.

It’s a lot easier to stand out from the crowd if you’re in a small crowd. Click to Tweet!

Often I’ve looked for a book, only to find there was no audio version available. Then I see that a competing book is available on audio. Which book do you think I purchased? There are many topics that still have no audiobook.  The first author to put an audiobook up on that topic wins the entire pie of interested readers.

The audiobook pie is filled with mavens who can make you famous. Click to Tweet!

Reason #7: Audiobooks Are Cheap & Easy to Make.

In the olden days (aka the 2000s), producing an audiobook was expensive and time consuming. Publishers could only afford produce their most popular titles in audio. Now, services like ACX and Voices.com make producing an audiobook cheap and easy. ACX even lets you produce the audiobook for free, provided you split the revenue with the narrator 50/50.

Many publishers still do audiobooks the old expensive way, which isn’t a problem as long as they make the audiobook. Unfortunately they often retain the audio rights and yet don’t pay to make the audiobook, which is the worst scenario. The best scenario is for your publisher to pay to get the audiobook created. The second best is where you record it yourself or go through a service like ACX.

Source:

http://www.authormedia.com/why-your-book-should-audio-book/

Ten Ways to Use Audio to Sell More Books

We all know that audio can be a powerful way to engage your audience, but can it really help you make a book sale? You bet it can. Though with all the focus on eBooks is there any room for audio-anything? Yes, and in fact in February of this year the Audio Publishers Association announced that audio books were a $1 billion dollar industry – and growing. Don’t overlook audio. Here are some ways you can use audio to help sell your book:

  1. Audio book samples: Do a reading from your book, maybe a chapter or two and load it onto your website (if you don’t think you’re a good reader, have someone else do it or hire some voice-over talent).

 

  1. Audio on your website: While I’m not in favor of having an audio file load when your website does, there’s some merit to having a short little audio (or video) “hello, welcome to my site message;” for an example of this, check out the Author Marketing Experts site at:

 

  1. http://www.amarketingexpert.com(you’ll see our video on the home page).
  2. Daily/weekly Podcast: Podcasting is powerful, there’s no two ways about it and it’s here to stay. Creating your own podcast that you update daily or weekly is a great idea and a terrific way to draw some interest to your book. You can do this easily through BlogTalk radio or you can record it on your own and upload it to iTunes. Super easy. Don’t believe me? Check out this great article on podcasting: http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/6-ways-to-create-a-world-famous-money-making-podcast/

 

  1. Teleclasses/webinars: I’ve personally done webinars and teleclasses for years and I love them. They’re not only a fantastic way to promote your message, but you’re also educating on your topic which is always a great idea. Remember: record every teleclass you do so you can use it as another sales item on your website.

 

  1. Audio series: Consider creating an audio series based on your book’s topic. Remember though, if you’re just rereading the content from your book then these cd’s aren’t necessarily an added value item but an audio book. Your audio cd needs to be different from your book in order to entice the reader to buy it in addition to the book. For example, if you finish your book and you say, “Gee, I wish I had included a chapter on XYZ,” now you can create that additional chapter (or chapters) in your audio series.

 

  1. Freebies: Offering any of your audio products as a freebie to add value to a sale is a great idea. Something I’ll do at the end of a speaking gig is offer a free download to anyone who buys a book after my session! I also capture their email by doing this so I can market to them again.

 

  1. Speak up! It’s not always about a recorded product or podcast, get out and talk about your topic in front of a crowd. Passion sells, and if you speak passionately about your topic, your audience will resonate with your message and (hopefully) book sales will follow. Not sure where to speak? There are tons of places you could start locally. Trade shows, rotary club meetings, networking events. Consider starting in your neighborhood and then when you’re ready, you can branch out.

 

  1. Book trailers: Well, maybe that’s cheating a little, technically it’s audio and video, but we’re still talking about hitting the same sensory targets. Book trailers are hot, if you don’t believe me just Google them and see what I mean. Getting your book into a visual medium can be powerful. They can also be pretty easy to do thanks to programs like iMovie for you Mac lovers and Microsoft Movie for the PC crowd. If you have an eye for this, you can do one yourself. Check out this video, which was made by the author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r90INxcl1bc

 

  1. Radio is another powerful way to sell books. Keep in mind that one radio show often doesn’t sell books but doing many shows might. Also, if you’re going to do radio, get some media training so you’re spot-on in your presentation and can relay your most important points in succinct, bulleted, benefit-driven points. These will help engage the listeners and encourage them to buy. Not sure where to pitch yourself? Here’s a listing of radio shows around the country: http://www.radio-locator.com/

 

  1. And we just got done talking about podcasting, right? Why not pitch yourself there, too? There are tons of online shows looking for guests and often you can find even more niche topics so you can really target your shows and your readers! Here’s a directory to get you started: http://www.podcast411.com/page2.html

 

Using audio to promote your book is a powerful way to gain additional reader attention. Not only that, but you never know who will respond better to audio than to a printed review, ad, or article. Putting the audio element into your sales arsenal can make for a powerful partnership, and the good news is that every day, audio and the creation of audio products becomes more accessible.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/ten-ways-to-use-audio-to_b_3975431.html

How My Audiobook Addiction Has Made Me A Better Reader And Writer

I’ve always been a bit of a book addict, and although I tend to prefer the real thing over digital iterations, I have to confess: I’m obsessed with audiobooks. Over the last six months, I’ve listened to over two dozen narrations, and after half a year of constant listening, I realized how my audiobook addiction has made me a better reader and writer.

Don’t get me wrong, I will probably always prefer turning the pages of physical books over clicking through digital versions or listening to audio ones, but I can’t deny all of the benefits to the alternative styles of reading. When I’m getting ready in the morning, cooking something in the kitchen, out driving around town, or running errands, audiobooks are an easy way to read all day long. Although multitasking while reading usually doesn’t involve much more than drinking tea (OK, wine) and occasionally fluffing the pillow, audiobooks make it easy to get through your To-Do list and your TBR-list at the same time.

But audiobooks do so much more than that.

Listening to audiobooks has changed the way I experience stories, and in turn, made me a better reader and writer. Stepping away from the traditional form of books has also forced me to step away from my old habits, crutches, and generally bad literary behaviors.

If you’ve considered trying it but haven’t taken the leap yet, here are 5 ways audiobook addiction has made me a better reader and writer.

 

Although some people may think of audiobook listening as “cheating,” I still consider it actual reading, and scientists agree that your brain doesn’t really detect a difference.  That’s why I never feel guilty when my TBR pile grows smaller thanks to my constant reading — er, I mean, listening.

What way to become a better read than to just simply read more? Whether I’m cleaning, cooking, walking the dogs, working out, or just getting ready in the morning, audiobooks make it possible to stay constantly plugged into my current read, which makes crossing new books of my list even easier.

2They make me a more attentive, engaged reader.

While I may be multitasking while listening to my audiobook, I still find myself paying more attention to the story that if I was physically reading it. Unlike physical books, audiobooks aren’t skimmable — you can’t simply skip ahead to the dialogue.

Listening to audiobooks is an immersive experience, one that pulls you into the story fully, even if you’re doing dishes or running on the treadmill at the same time. For me, audiobooks mean I’m more involved, more engaged, and more committed to whatever story is being told.

3Listening to audiobooks have helped me improve my written dialogue.

Source:

https://www.bustle.com/p/how-my-audiobook-addiction-has-made-me-a-better-reader-writer-35295

You should update Kindle for PC right now

Kindle for PC allows you to manage your e-book collection and read any of the titles you have purchased on your home computer or tablet. Amazon has just issued a monumental update that includes typesetting enhancements, search improvements, and a text-to-speech feature which allows the app to read some e-Books aloud to you.

All of these new updates were made possible because Amazon no longer delivers e-books into your account with the AZW format, instead they are now sent in KFX.

There is lots of conjecture about the KFX e-book format, simply because it came out in 2016. One of the biggest factors is that it is digitally encrypted and nobody has managed to crack the DRM system, which prevents piracy. The KFX format is also “pre-rendered” to some extent, such as having hyphenation pre calculated and added to the text as either soft-hyphens or html tags. This is similar to what Kobo does with kepub. This allows Amazon to push out their new Ember and Bookerly formats and to make e-books like way better than with Caecilia.

Source:

http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/you-should-update-kindle-for-pc-right-now

Meet the man behind the audiobook revolution

When he was growing up on the Isle of Bute in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde, Laurence Howell spent a great deal of his spare time in the Rothesay Library. His bibliophilic tendencies continued into adulthood: since 1990, he has worked his way from being a bookseller at Waterstones to non-fiction buyer at WHSmith and then, since July 2011, to the Amazon-owned Audible, where he is director of content.

download

The spoken-word audiobook and radio show platform has been growing rapidly. In 2015, its global membership surged 40 per cent year-on-year, with users downloading an impressive 1.6 billion hours of audio compared to 1.2 billion the previous year. Howell’s role puts him at the very centre of creative decision-making.

“From the early days of Homer, the origins of western literature have their basis in oral storytelling,” the 52-year-old says. “Over many centuries, we have told stories to each other and we still retain a love of a great performance, whether that is being read to as a child or listening to audiobooks.”
 
In 2016, Howell has paired famous voices, such as that of Emma Thompson, with classic works of literature, such as Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw.

The London-based creative thinks audio’s strength is the ease with which consumers can integrate it into their lives via digital channels. For that reason, its appeal is unlikely to diminish. “Having a voice piped directly into your ear is an incredibly intimate experience,” he says.

Source:

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/trendsetter-laurence-howell

Audible to Release Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Audiobook Narrated by Eddie Redmayne

Audible, the Netflix of digital audiobooks, has just announced they’re releasing an audiobook of J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts library book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and that it will be narrated by Academy Award-winner and the star of 2016’s film, Eddie Redmayne. The audiobook will be released on March 14, and will feature six new beasts, a new foreword by Newt Scamander and an elaborate sound design.

Redmayne expressed his excitement over the announcement in a statement, saying:

Before I was cast in the film, David Yates told me about Newt and this textbook. I found it so funny and so enchanting and really wittily written. But it wasn’t until I started reading it out loud for the audiobook that I realized how tricky and poetic J.K. Rowling’s use of sounds and language can be. There are some really great tongue twister words in here! Occasionally, I had to stop recording just because I was incapable of saying the words without either laughing or getting my tongue in a muddle. I enjoyed the challenge and hope listeners can sense that in my narration.

This is a pretty exciting announcement for fans of both the film and the book, allowing them to dive even deeper into the Potterverse than they they might have otherwise. It’s also a smart move for Audible to cash in on some of that Potterverse fever, because it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Said Audible’s Chief Content Officer Andy Gaies in a statement:

We are thrilled to offer Audible listeners, the most voracious readers there are, the opportunity to enjoy a brilliant performance of yet another essential component of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World seamlessly through the Audible service. We look forward to bringing even more listeners to this richly imagined universe through our effortless and affordable service. Ever since we first made the Harry Potter series available on Audible in 2015, they have been consistently among the highest rated, most downloaded, and most listened to audiobooks in our store.

Source:

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/01/eddie-redmayne-will-narrate-audiobook-of-fantastic.html

Audiobooks.com Brings Digital Audiobooks into the Home with Sonos

TORONTO, January 18, 2017 – Audiobooks.com, a leader in the audiobook service space, is pleased to announce their immediate availability on Sonos worldwide. Audiobooks.com subscribers can listen to their content of choice through Sonos speakers, offering high-quality sound in every room of their homes.

“Sonos shares in our vision of using technology to create great listening experiences, so this was a natural partnership,” says Ian Small, Audiobooks.com’s CEO. “Since more and more of our customers are using connected technology in their homes, we wanted to provide them with the opportunity to enjoy audiobooks in that space using the Sonos platform.”

This collaboration with Sonos is in addition to Audiobooks.com’s availability on Android Auto, CarPlay, tvOS, and select GM, Jaguar and Land Rover infotainment systems.

Audiobooks.com on Sonos was tested by listeners through a successful beta program that started in late 2016. To stream Audiobooks.com on Sonos, customers simply select ‘Add Music Services’ from any Sonos controller app, scroll down to the Audiobooks.com icon, and login.

About Audiobooks.com
Founded in 2011, Audiobooks.com is an app-based streaming and download service for audiobooks, delivering fast and easy access to over 100,000 titles to booklovers around the world. Subscribers can listen to their audiobook of choice on any Internet-enabled device via the free Audiobooks.com app. The company’s proprietary technology synchronizes users’ last listened-to position across all devices, creating a seamless user experience. Find out more at http://www.Audiobooks.com.

Source:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2017/audiobooks-com-brings-digital-audiobooks-into-the-home-with-sonos/

Amazon, Apple to end audiobook exclusivity: EU

BRUSSELS–European Union antitrust regulators on Thursday said they welcomed a move by Amazon.com Inc. to end exclusivity obligations for the supply and distribution of audiobooks between the e-commerce giant and Apple Inc.

The European Commission, the EU’s antitrust watchdog, said the exclusivity obligations required Apple to source only from Amazon’s unit Audible and also required Audible not to supply other music digital platforms besides Apple’s iTunes store.

The agreement between the two companies, which was struck Jan. 5 2017, will improve competition in downloadable audiobook distribution in Europe, the EU said.

 

Source:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-apple-to-end-audiobook-exclusivity-eu-2017-01-19

How to Convert Your Ebooks into Audiobooks on Amazon

Expand your reach with a digital audiobook! Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) makes it easy to produce and distribute your digital audiobook, and you’ll also be able to take advantage of the exciting new Kindle features Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading to reach more readers in more ways.

Use ACX to produce a digital  audiobook edition of your book using our marketplace of professional audiobook  producers and earn royalties of up to 40%. ACX provides access to thousands of  talented audiobook producers, and both actors and studios, available for hire  for a fee or for a no-cost, royalty-sharing partnership. ACX also provides   distribution options to the leading retailers of audiobooks: Audible.com,  Amazon.com, and iTunes, as well as their global partners. It’s free to try ACX.

Additionally, your audiobook may be eligible for  the new Whispersync for Voice functionality, which allows customers to purchase  your Whispersync for Voice-ready Audible audiobook at a special limited time  discounted price. This function allows customers to switch seamlessly between reading the Kindle book and listening  to the professionally-narrated audiobook across devices without losing their  place. Audiobooks will also be enabled for Immersion Reading, which will allow  customers with Fire HD devices to listen to the professional narration as the  words of the eBook are highlighted on the screen.

Authors can learn more about ACX at www.acx.com.

 

Audiobook Production with ACX

Can I choose the narrator?
Yes, you can choose the narrator. (Note: on ACX, narrators are generally referred to as “Producers” because they not only narrate the audio version of your book, but they produce a retail-ready audiobook). You can search the ACX website for the perfect narrator/producer, or wait for ACX narrators/producers to audition for your audiobook project. You will also be involved in the audiobook production, approving it at various points along the way.

Can I narrate my own audiobook?
We find that most audiobooks are best performed by professional actors, but it is possible for you to narrate your own audiobook.

I live outside of the US and cannot provide a W9. Is ACX open to me?
At this time, ACX is open only to residents of the United States and United Kingdom who have a US or UK mailing address, and a valid US or UK Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). For more information on Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN), please visit the IRS website. We hope to increase our availability to a more global audience in the future.

Royalty and Distribution:

What is the audio distribution and royalty that I will get?
ACX  distributes your audiobook to Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes, the three leading retailers of audiobooks, as well as their global retail partners. Your  royalty is dependent upon the distribution and production options you select.  If you choose to distribute exclusively to these three channels, you will earn  40%. However, if you choose to produce the audiobook using the Royalty Share  option, you will earn 20%. If you choose to distribute your audiobook  non-exclusively, you will earn 25% and retain the right to distribute your  recording at your discretion. More information is available here.

Where will my finished audiobook be sold?
Posting  your book on ACX means that if and when your book is made into an audiobook,  the finished audiobook will be available to consumers on all of Audible’s  retail channels, currently Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. These three leading digital retailers reach the vast majority of audiobook buyers.  You will also have an option to choose a non-exclusive distribution option, through which you can distribute your audiobook to any additional retailers, in digital and physical format, on your own.

How do I get paid for my audiobook sales?
You may  choose to receive monthly royalties via check or by direct deposit to the  account of your choice. You’ll get a monthly statement from ACX, which will  include unit sales numbers from sales on Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes.  Along with the statement, if sales are more than $50 per period, you will  receive a corresponding royalty payment.

How much will I get paid for sales of my audiobook?
Royalty rates are outlined here, and if you are eligible for ACX’s $50 bounty program, you can earn an extra $50 on certain sales. Get more details on the bounty program.

Why is the upgrade price for my digital audiobook for customers who buy the Kindle version different than the a la carte price for my digital audiobook – and how are these prices set?
We want to encourage people who have purchased a Kindle book to try the new Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading features, so prices for this digital audiobook upgrade are generally lower than purchasing the audiobook a la carte.

Enabling Audiobook for Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading

How can I create a digital audiobook version of my book and make it eligible for Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading?
The basic technical  requirement that your audiobook must meet to qualify for Whispersync for Voice is a nearly perfect sync rate between the Kindle and audiobook content. Your audiobook must also be unabridged. For more information, visit ACX.

My book is already produced in digital audiobook format and available at Audible.com. How can it be made eligible for Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading?
Currently not all books are enabled for these new features, but the Audible team is working to increase the number of books enabled. If your book is already available on Audible.com, you can contact Audible’s customer care team to discuss Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading.

How are Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading different than the current text-to-speech Kindle feature?
There are several differences between these features – a full description of each can be found at Audible.com. Millions of customers who already use Audible know how wonderful it is to listen to a book narrated by the author or performed by a skilled actor.

How long will it take to produce my book and enable it for Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading?
From the time you start the production process, we estimate that it will take about 6 to  12 weeks to complete the audiobook, depending on the length of the book and the  Producer’s schedule. Once the finished audiobook is approved by you, it typically takes up to 14 business days to get the audiobook into stores. The  work done during this time ensures that the audiobook is recorded correctly and  ready for retail distribution, and attempts to enable it for Whispersync for  Voice and Immersion Reading.

How can I make sure my Kindle book and audiobook are able to sync?
We need  the narrated words to perfectly mirror the words in the Kindle book to be  eligible for the Whispersync for Voice program. Here is some general advice for  both you and the audiobook’s producer to ensure your production has the best  chance of being made eligible:

  • Avoid ad-lib in narration.
  • Make sure the audiobook is edited well and sentences are not inserted twice (e.g. editor leaves in duplicate actor takes of the same sentence).
  • Do not add  audio content that isn’t in the Kindle version. If there is a chapter of audio  that isn’t in the Kindle book, often it’s not  sync-able.
  • Avoid background music; music in the audiobook reduces the likelihood that it will be sync-able.
  • Do not have the narrator read footnotes “in line.”
  • Do not describe figures or photographs when the description isn’t in the actual text of the Kindle book.

Furthermore, if  you make changes to your Kindle book, such changes may cause the two products  to be unsync-able (inside the book, this includes inserting or rewriting  sentences, paragraphs, or chapters). If you make any significant changes, the  two products will not be sync-able. Some changes including margin size, font  color, font size, background color, and minor punctuation updates may not  impact the features. Also, metadata changes will not impact the features  (price, title, author, product description, etc.).

Can I still make updates to the Kindle version of my book or will that impact the Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading features?
Metadata changes to your book will not impact the features (price, title, author, product description, etc.). Changes made inside your Kindle book may impact the Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading features. However, if you are alerted about formatting issues with your Kindle book, we recommend that you correct those issues. When you make these changes, your book will not by sync-able immediately. If it remains un-synced for more than 1 week, we suggest that you contact the ACX customer care team to alert them. Some changes including margin size, font color, font size, background color, and minor punctuation updates may not impact the features.

KDP Select:

If my book is in KDP Select and available in the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL), will people who borrow my book through KOLL be able to purchase the digital audiobook at the upgrade price?
No, only purchases of Kindle books qualify for the audiobook upgrade discount. If a customer has borrowed a Kindle book through KOLL, they are not eligible to the discounted price at Audible. Those discounts are tied to purchases only.

Will people who download my book for free during my KDP Select free promotion days be able to purchase the digital audiobook at the upgrade price?
Yes, they will be able to get the audiobook at the discounted upgrade price if they have bought the Kindle book, even if the price of the Kindle book is $0.

%d bloggers like this: