Audiobook Boom Provides Big Opportunities for Publishers
Especially when a publisher is operating within an open market like Audible's ACX, "the [only] way you can assure you're going to get good quality," says Zackman, "is if you know you're getting a narrator of quality."
That's a sentiment Audible's Beth Anderson certainly agrees with. One of the biggest mistakes many publishers stumble over when first entering the audio market, Anderon says, involves the belief that everything should be author-read. "Sometimes that's a good idea," she adds, "but sometimes it's not a good idea. Because these actors do something very special that's not necessarily what the author who wrote the book, and wrote the words, and thought up the whole thing can do."
If your author has a platform, however, he'll probably be your best narrator. As Goff explains it, the Hachette Audio vision largely revolves around an effort to create an extended version of their author's print book in audio—a product that will essentially help to widen the channel.
"Our mission is really to bring the author's vision to life, and to help expand the author's fanbase," Goff says. "So the pressure is on, because you want to make sure that what you're doing is ultimately selling more books, and selling more audio, and getting the author out there in a big way."
To that end, Goff suggests not only involving a book's author in the audio process, but also having those authors with significant platforms actually narrate their audiobooks themselves. "I think a book will ultimately sell more copies when it's read by [a well-known author]," he says. "[Especially] in terms of nonfiction. But there are delicate balances there, because authors will cost more. And they might also live in Idaho. So you have to really make some serious considerations [in terms of] where you're going to record, and how you're going to get them there. And the cost only goes up from there, versus using talent from New York or L.A. So it's definitely a case-by-case basis when you're deciding what to publish and how to publish it."
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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.