From The New York Times:
Print has been good to Jeffery Deaver. Over the last 26 years, Mr. Deaver, a lawyer-turned-thriller writer, has published 35 novels and sold 40 million copies of them globally.
But his latest work, “The Starling Project,” a globe-spanning mystery about a grizzled war crimes investigator, isn’t available in bookstores. It won’t be printed at all. The story was conceived, written and produced as an original audio drama for Audible, the audiobook producer and retailer. If Mr. Deaver’s readers want the story, they’ll have to listen to it.
“My fans are quite loyal,” Mr. Deaver said. “If they hear I’ve done this and that it’s a thriller, I think they’ll come to it.”
“The Starling Project,” which came out in mid-November, will test the appetite for an emerging art form that blends the immersive charm of old-time radio drama with digital technology. It’s also the latest sign that audiobooks, which have long been regarded as a quaint backwater of the publishing industry and an appendage to print, are coming into their own as a creative medium.
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So far, Audible has commissioned and produced around 30 original works, as varied as a serialized thriller about a conspiracy that drives India and Pakistan to the brink of nuclear war, and original short stories set in the world of Charlaine Harris’s vampire novels.
“You have this massive opportunity when you don’t have to fight for people’s eyes,” said Donald Katz, chief executive of Audible. “It’s time for us to move from sourcing content that can produce fantastic audio, on to imagining what the aesthetic of this new medium should be from the ground up.”
Some are shunning the term “audiobook” and trying to rebrand their content as “audio entertainment” or “movies for your ears.”
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It’s no surprise that authors are eager to make their mark in the medium. As the print business stagnates, digital audiobooks are booming. In the first eight months of this year, sales were up 28 percent over the same period last year, far outstripping the growth of e-books, which rose 6 percent, according to theAssociation of American Publishers. Meanwhile, hardcover print sales for adult fiction and nonfiction fell by nearly 2 percent.
Link to the rest at The New York Times and thanks to Robert and sevreral others for the tip.