Amazon Now Going After Audiobook Authors

So says Nate Hoffelder’s post on The Digital Reader, with some serious food for thought. Here’s a quote:

Amazon made a move today which shows that they’re nit just trying to cut publishers out of the ebook market; they’re horning in on the audiobook market as well.

They’ve just announced a new $20 million fund for authors. They’re calling it Audible Author Services, and authors who sign up will get a buck for each copy of an audiobook sold via Audible. Clever, no?

The purchase of audiobook producer Brilliance Audio in mid-2007 gave Amazon a toe-hold in the recording, duplicating, and distribution of physical audiobooks. Amazon’s purchase of audiobook download innovator Audible in early 2008 certainly heralded an interest in the growning audio marketplace. And when Brilliance Audio suspended distribution to public libraries of all digital titles through OverDrive early this year, it wasn’t hard to see Amazon’s shadow. I asked some audio insiders about  Amazon’s new Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) during a set of four interviews here on Audiobooker last December, and received mostly positive responses. In Hoffelder’s post, he has this to say:

And yes, I do think the long term goal is to bypass publishers. Amazon wants authors to sign in with their existing Amazon accounts, you know, the ones they use to submit their ebooks to KDP. This is going to let Amazon connect 2 possibly unrelated details about each author.

Also, this new program is being administered via Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), Audible’s new self-pub platform for audiobooks. There are even a few subtle hints that authors might want to check the ACX help pages for tips on promoting their work. Clearly Amazon is looking to build a direct relationship.

My opinion? Amazon wants in on the explosive growth of audio and has a clear campaign. From testing the waters of the physical market with Brilliance, to developing a way for authors to contract narrators for, in essence, self-publishing titles for download via ACX & Audible – Amazon has shown their marketing savvy. In channeling audiobook creation away from traditional publishers, Amazon removes availability from the current model of library acquisition. Libraries now face the same dilemmas with audiobooks as eBooks – a limited number of download providers, publishers pulling out of library download agreements, a self-publishing market difficult to assess and provide to patrons. Where do we go from here? Down another trail in the Wild West of digital life for libraries. Hold on for a rough ride…



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

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