A Look At Audiobook Solutions and Providers
This article originally appeared as a sidebar in the audiobook feature in Publishing Executive's April issue. You can find that article here.
Audiobook Creation Exchange
An argument could certainly be made that the audiobook industry was forever altered in 1995, the year entrepreneur Don Katz introduced Audible.com to the world. Although as APA president Michele Cobb explains, the audiobook e-commerce portal didn't truly catch on for another six years, when Apple's iPod was launched. "That's when, for us as an industry, digital really hit its stride," she says.
The next major step in Audible's evolution occurred in 2008, when the company was acquired by Amazon for $300 million. And then in 2011, Audible introduced yet another innovation, an online marketplace known as the Audiobook Creation Exchange, or ACX. ACX is already having a significant effect on the manner in which the industry does business, largely by offering publishers both large and small easier access to the means of production.
Beth Anderson, executive vice president and publisher at Audible, likes to think of ACX as something akin to a dating site the for audiobook industry, where the rights holders-authors and publishers-are on one side, and the service providers-narrators, audio producers, studio professionals-are on the other.
"If you're talking about smaller publishers, ACX is an excellent resource," says Robin Whitten, editor of AudioFile, a monthly consumer magazine that reviews audiobooks.
The process of using the platform is relatively simple. After logging onto the site and creating a profile, publishers who own previously unexploited audio rights can post a few pages of a manuscript, and then request audio samples-mini-auditions, really-from narrators and producers.
Rights holders can also scroll through any number of general auditions from actors advertising their skilled French or German accent, say, or their particularly believable old-man voice. Where finances are concerned, deals can either take the form of hourly payments-anything between $60 and $500 per finished hour is typical-or a 50-50 royalty split between the rights holder and the talent.
Related story: Audiobook Boom Provides Big Opportunities for Publishers
Dan Eldridge is a journalist and guidebook author based in Philadelphia's historic Old City district, where he and his partner own and operate Kaya Aerial Yoga, the city's only aerial yoga studio. A longtime cultural reporter, Eldridge also writes about small business and entrepreneurship, travel, and the publishing industry. Follow him on Twitter at @YoungPioneers.