OverDrive Improves Its Audiobook Listening Experience
Audiobook publishing continues to grow, making it one of the most exciting segments to watch in book publishing. In 2014, the Audiobook Publisher's Association reported that its members grew sales revenue by 10.9% collectively to $376.6 million. Technology, in particular mobile devices, is a huge proponent of that growth, wrote APA director Michele Cobb in an article for Book Business. In order to amplify the audiobook boom, she added, publishers must continue to partner with new technology that makes the purchase and listening process as easy as possible.
Today, Rakuten's OverDrive announced an improvement to its audiobook collection that promises the accessibility and seamless listening experience for which Cobb advocates. The library ebook and audiobook distributor launched OverDrive Listen, which allows users to browse audiobooks in their library catalog and stream them directly from a web browser. No downloads or software is required. OverDrive Listen is available on Windows, OSX, and on Chromebooks.
OverDrive compares the platform to OverDrive Read, a service that allows users to read ebooks and ebook samples on their browser and prompts purchases with "Buy It Now" buttons. Publishers should expect similar buy buttons in the audiobook version and similar data offered -- information on number of titles listened to and data on when users engage with and drop off from a title. It will be interesting to see if this new platform increases overall audiobook listening and reflects that growth in sales.
See OverDrive's announcement here.