Home » Amazon, Audiobooks, Ebooks » With Audiobooks Hot, Publishers Should Look to Bundle Them With E-Books

With Audiobooks Hot, Publishers Should Look to Bundle Them With E-Books

21 March 2017

From Publishers Weekly:

I grew up in a rural area with not much to offer an imaginative kid who’d much rather live in London—and, though my parents were very educated, the town I lived in couldn’t support a bookstore. Fortunately, our house was close to the public library, where I basically lived until I was 15, at which point they hired me as a page after school and on weekends.

Holding a new and different book in my room or at the base of the willow tree where I liked to read in summer was a nearly sacred feeling for me. Books were views into worlds I wanted to partake in—worlds where people spoke other languages, had other ways of living, and didn’t have to put up with boys stealing their calculators before chem class and dismantling them. Decades later, I moved from physical books to e-books, which I adopted enthusiastically to cut down on the sheer mass of books in my apartment and avoid lugging around the heavy sagas I love to lose myself in while traveling.

Recently, though, I’ve been part of the return-to-print trend demonstrated by the 3.3% rise of print unit sales in 2016, reported earlier this year by NPD BookScan. The feeling of holding the book, which mattered so much to me as a kid, was just too powerful to let go. I also need to curl up before bed with a long, immersive story—and screen glare tends to affect my sleep thereafter. The soft yellowish invitation of a page, as opposed to the harsh blue glare of a screen, seems more welcoming and soothing.

But I’ve just started a new consulting gig that has me commuting from Staten Island to Manhattan. And I’m not as young as I was—I don’t want to throw my back out carrying Bleak House around, and I’d alike to be able to adjust print size.

. . . .

 Since the inception of the Kindle, publishers have agonized over e-book pricing. When e-book prices from the major publishers reverted back to the agency model, Amazon retaliated by heavily discounting the paperback versions. Thanks to the first-sale doctrine, which applies to physical products, Amazon has the right to set any price it likes on titles it’s purchased from publishers. By positioning print books as a sort of loss leader—the very way they positioned e-books to gain adoption in 2007—Amazon made it more likely that consumers choose physical over digital books.

. . . .

 What the consumer seems to want, in terms of bundling, is an e-book–audio package.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

Amazon, Audiobooks, Ebooks

13 Comments to “With Audiobooks Hot, Publishers Should Look to Bundle Them With E-Books”

  1. It seems Joe Wikert now has a pen name.

  2. Another Anonymous

    At the prices trad-pub is demanding for their ebooks, the audio book should come with them for free.

  3. What the consumer seems to want, in terms of bundling, is an e-book–audio package.

    Not this consumer. I don’t care for audio books: there is no easy analogue to flipping back a page to see if you read that right, and you have to read at the speed the narrator talks, not the speed you choose to read.

    What I want are ebooks at a conscionable price, unbundled. Big Publishing is dead set against giving me that: so much the worse for them.

    • I actually limit my Kindle unlimited decisions to those that have the free audiobooks as well. I use WhisperSync all the time, during commutes and exercise times.

  4. Anyone who grew up in a rural area without a bookstore ought to see the advantages of digital, available anywhere anytime, over print. I’m in a rural area myself, and availability is one of the many joys of ebooks.

    As to libraries – when I was a kid in a small town, I had more books at home than our town’s tiny library had that were appropriate for me.

    The blue glare at bedtime business means someone was reading on something other than an e-ink device.

    I’m another one for whom audio books are a non-desire. Not only have I reached an age where I want the ability of my Kindle to choose font size, even aided, my hearing isn’t good enough for me to want to listen to books, although I never had the desire anyway.

  5. Thanks to the first-sale doctrine, which applies to physical products, Amazon has the right to set any price it likes on titles it’s purchased from publishers.

    I thought if you priced your books below your wholesale cost that that tiptoed up to the line, possibly over it, of being predatory pricing?

    • Which Amazon hasn’t done, or many so-called ‘author’ groups would be screaming for blood and FedExing the DoJ.

      What does have them screaming for blood (well, whining anyway) is Amazon reducing their discount of some trad-pub paper/hard books, showing said books don’t sell as well at the higher prices.

      If of course those author groups think Amazon is wrong in their pricing they should talk to their publishers about going ‘agency’ on their paper/hard books to take price control away from Amazon. After all, it’s worked so well for their ebooks …

  6. Whenever I download a kindle book it asks me if I want to add audio, often at a very attractive price. I’m not sure if that’s the audible introductory offer though.

    If you haven’t tried audiobooks but you have the hardware that will support them, give them a shot. Overdrive audio books are free. They are good for walking and for household chores and can be very relaxing when you’re just bushed and want to stretch out.

    I have a bluetooth headset that I use that has skip back/forward buttons for those few moments when I’m distracted and need to back up.

    I’ve been listening to Stephen Briggs read Terry Pratchett. Highly recommended.

    • The lower price is a form of bundling that Amazon has been doing for a few years. It does not require an Audible membership.

      We have offered our ebooks for $0.99 in a bookbub promotion, and then someone can often get the audiobook for an extra $1.99. That is a very good deal on a “bundle”.

      So as usual, Amazon is way ahead of the publishers….and the author of this piece.

      • I do this alot when I buy books (or later when I’m looking for an audiobook for a long drive). The trouble comes when a tradpub company sells you an e-book for $9 (or more. There are a couple authors who get an autobuy from me on release day, but only a couple) and then the AUDIO book is another 8 or 9. Nope. Nope. Nope. And it’s not worth using my Audible credits because then I’m essentially flushing my money down the drain.

        Stupid tradpub audio book prices ><

  7. the numbers for the author doesnt read out. IT costs a bundle of $ and time, recording equip etc to record an hour, let alone hours and hours of a book.

    Overdrive gives little to zero money to authors in audio. They make the absolute lion’s share. The acx percentage is pathetic.

    We sell audio separately, never through overdrive or audible.

  8. IIRC, there are a number of apps that can read text and “speak” it aloud. Not sure how that might work with .mobi and .epub files, but it certainly would work for .pdf, .rtf, .txt, and .docx files. You could record the text-to-audio output, put it on a flash drive, and insert the drive into your car stereo. (I’ve done that with a number of podcasts.)

    Of course, the audio for such files would lack the dramatic pacing, inflections, and other ear-candy that a good professional narrator would bring. The text-to-audio apps I’ve heard sound like a Swedish speaker droning along. But hey, it’d be free, and make drive time more productive and enjoyable.

  9. The problem with bundling ebooks and audiobooks is, of course, in most cases with traditional publishers, there’s another entity involved in the audiobook that needs to get paid for each copy. So, the publisher could give the ebook AWAY for free with the audiobook purchase, if they wanted… but what would be the point?

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