Audio Books

The sale of audiobooks has skyrocketed. Although book industry sales were off by 1 percent in 2012, downloadable audiobooks rose by an impressive 20 percent with 13,255 titles, as compared with 4,602 in 2009.

For most of human history literature was delivered with the spoken word.  The Iliad and the Odyssey were sung.  Before our modern era, as printing made books widely available and literacy reached the masses, reading, indeed, was done orally.

Today audiobooks give readers (listeners) the opportunity to multi-task while listening, or simply to relax while traveling, resting in a park, or sitting in a favorite easy chair. With audiobooks, the characters jump from the pages and enter our senses at a new level of involvement.

At Madison Avenue Publishing we are part of the ACX Network of studio producers and voice talent. We have at our disposal professional readers who can bring your book to life.  Once produced, your audiobook will be available on Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes.  If you choose an exclusive license with ACX, you can still post the link to your audiobook on your website.

Here are some excerpts from ACX relating to distribution:

Where will my finished audiobook be sold?

For exclusive distribution the audiobook will be available for digital download to consumers on Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. These three leading digital retailers in the market reach the vast majority of audiobook buyers. Audible.com is the sole aggregator for iTunes.

If you choose the non-exclusive distribution option, you can distribute your audiobook to any additional retailers, in digital and/or physical format, on your own.

If I choose the non-exclusive distribution option does that affect my royalty?

Yes.  Your royalty is 40 percent of the sales price (with adjustments) for exclusive distribution and 25 percent of the sales price (with adjustments) for a non-exclusive licensing agreement with ACX.

How much will my audiobook sell for in stores?

Each retailer of your audiobook independently prices your product and determines such price in their sole discretion. While not always the case, the regular price on Audible.com for the product is generally priced based on its length, as follows:

  • under 1 hour: under $7
  • 1 – 3: $7 – $10
  • 3 – 5 hours: $10 – $20
  • 5 – 10 hours: $15 – $25
  • 10 – 20 hours: $20 – $30
  • over 20 hours: $25 – 35

To be clear, although the above represents general guidelines as retailer of audiobooks sold on Audible.com, Audible retains the sole discretion to set the price of the audiobooks it sells. Additionally, on Audible.com, consumers can buy your audiobook “a la carte” for the above price, but many Audible customers are AudibleListener members who can purchase the audiobook with an Audible “credit” which they get as part of their Audible membership. These credits are generally for about fifteen dollars per month. AudibleListener members end up paying less per audiobook, but they are voracious audiobook consumers who tend to purchase over seventeen audiobooks per year from Audible.com. This is much higher than other audiobook customers, who generally purchase just one or two books per year. iTune pricing is controlled by iTunes; however, no matter how they price it, you will be paid the same amount as you are for Audible “a la carte” sales (i.e. a percentage of Audible’s “a la carte” price).

As a Rights Holder, what else can/should I do with my audiobook if I chose the non-exclusive deal?

Anything you want! Note that most retailers do not do deals with individual authors, but rather distributors, aggregators, and publishers. You might want to explore forging a relationship with a distributor, aggregator, or publisher.

How do I know what territory rights I have for my book?

If you’re not completely certain which territory rights you have, check your contracts and/or ask your agent. If you’re still not sure, contact us and we’ll try to help. Note that we cannot dispense legal advice, but perhaps we can help point you in the right direction.

Books are often published with territory restrictions. In other words, they’re licensed to be sold only in a specific region. Also, your book may be licensed in more than one area or territory, by more than one publishing house.

To protect everyone, we need to understand what territory rights you have. That’s why we ask you to indicate this when you’re posting your title profile. Your choices are:

  • World
  • World excluding British Commonwealth
  • World excluding UK
  • US
  • US and Canada
  • US, Canada, Philippines
  • US, Canada, UK
  • US, Open Market (open market means English-speaking areas that are not North America or the British Commonwealth)
  • US, Canada, Open Market
  • US, Canada, British Commonwealth
  • US, Canada, and the rest of the world – excluding the British Commonwealth (normally British Commonwealth does include Canada but in this particular distribution choice, Canadian territory rights are included)

How can I get my audiobook on iTunes?

All audiobooks created through ACX will be sold through iTunes. Audible is the exclusive supplier of audiobooks to iTunes and since ACX is Audible’s platform, all audiobooks produced using ACX will go straight to Audible.com as well as iTunes.

Can ACX also get me onto the Kindle platform?

When purchased and downloaded through Audible.com, Amazon.com, or iTunes your audiobook will play on a Kindle. However, if a consumer wants to both listen to your book and read the text, he or she would have to purchase both the audiobook and the Kindle edition.