Audible is Paying Inexplicable Bonuses to Authors in Audible Romance

11 March 2018

From The Digital Reader

After news broke last week Audible was paying an abysmally low royalty rate for its romance audiobook service, Audible Romance, the audiobook retailer promised to patch the problem with a bonus, but wouldn’t give specifics.

The bonus payments have started to arrive, and we still don’t know any more than we did before.

. . . .

So far the reports from authors include:

  • I received my bonus. It was $140. I only made $5 in the program.
  • I got $25 and I had no minutes for the period.
  • I made one cent from two books and got a $25 bonus.

. . . .

While it’s great that Audible is making up for last quarter’s disastrous royalty payment, they still haven’t said anything about how they will fix the fundamental problem of the Audible Romance subscription service.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

PG says Amazon has rarely made a misstep when it comes to compensating authors, but he suspects more than one indie author (and way more than one voice actor) is mentally placing Audible on probation.

Audible’s product quality is also likely to take a hit as authors choose lower budget narrators like Uncle Harry, who was a shock jock in Los Angeles thirty years ago, still has a bunch of old recording equipment in the garage and promises not to do drugs before recording sessions.

Successful indie authors are entrepreneurial and will spend their time and effort where there’s a real payback.

The New York Times to Launch Monthly Audiobook Best-Seller Lists

11 March 2018

From The New York Times Press Room:

The New York Times announced today that it will publish monthly Audiobook Best-Seller Lists for the first time, featuring the top 15 fiction and top 15 nonfiction audiobook lists, based on sales from the previous month.

. . . .

“The vibrant growth of audiobooks in the industry has created a need for an impartial, reliable source for tracking and reporting the top-selling audiobooks across the country,” said Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review. “The Times recognizes the increased reader and listener interest in audiobooks, as well as in the Book Review’s increasing depth of coverage of audiobooks, and we’re thrilled we’ll be able to provide them independent data they can rely on.”

The Book Review will continue to publish in print the Combined Lists and Hardcover Lists each week. The third page will highlight other Best-Seller Lists on a weekly rotating basis, including the following categories: Paperback (Trade Fiction and Paperback Nonfiction), the four Children’s Books lists, and Audiobooks.

Link to the rest at The New York Times Press Room and thanks to Roberta for the tip.

The Men Behind the Words

26 February 2018
Comments Off on The Men Behind the Words

From No Shelf Required:

In 1974, a book by Theodore Rosengarten was published and went  on to the win the National Book Award for Contemporary Affairs (a category that later became “Nonfiction”). The work itself was an oral history of a man identified as Nate Shaw (Ned Cobb), a sharecropper in Alabama who stood up against sheriffs who had come to take away a fellow sharecropper’s property.

. . . .

In both print and audio formats, the work has received wide critical praise, and the man underneath the writing and then the performance of the written—Nate Shaw/Ned Cobb—remains alive through these interventions of other men’s voices. In effect, the fact of Nate Shaw can become fixed because his unscripted speaking was heard, recorded in written text, and now heard again through the oral performance of an informed actor. Instead of these interventions diluting the immediate and personal accounting of Mr. Shaw, they serve to extend the reach, and the permanence, of his witnessing to history.

Link to the rest at No Shelf Required

Here’s a link to All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw

Amazon launches a WordPress plugin that turns blog posts into audio, including podcasts

8 February 2018

From Tech Crunch:

Amazon today is launching a new Amazon Polly WordPress plugin that gives your blog a voice by creating audio versions of your posts. The resulting audio can be played from within the blog post itself, or accessed in podcast form using a feature called Amazon Pollycast, the company says.

The plugin itself was jointly designed by Amazon’s AWS team and managed WordPress platform provider WP Engine, and takes advantage of Amazon’s text-to-speech service, Polly.

First introduced at Amazon’s re:Invent developer event back in November 2016, Polly uses machine learning technologies under the hood to deliver more life-like speech. For example, Polly understands that the word “live” would be pronounced differently based on its usage. In the phrases “I live in Seattle” and “Live from New York,” the word is spelled the same but is not spoken in the same way. That means the voices sound more natural than some other, more basic voice-to-text engines.

. . . .

The technology’s capabilities have also evolved, with added support for things like whispering, speech marks, a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression. These sorts of voice technology advancements are also things that make Alexa sound more natural, too.

. . . .

In addition to simply reading posts aloud, Polly’s flexibility means you could configure different voices for different bylines, or use different voices for quoted text – if you’re technically-minded – these options aren’t available in the plugin itself. Polly could also offer translation capabilities so your blog could be read by those who speak other languages.

Link to the rest at Tech Crunch

Readers, Listen Up: Amazon Is Shaking up the Audiobook Market

5 February 2018

From The Wall Street Journal:

When Olympic snowboarder Shaun White’s memoir lands later this year, readers will have to wait. That is because his book will be released as an audiobook a month before the hardcover and e-book editions.

The force behind this unorthodox rollout is Audible, Inc.’s audiobook subscription service. Audible paid for the lion’s share of the memoir to gain rights to the audio version, which will be published by its in-house studio. Audible said it would be the first time one of its audiobooks precedes a print book in coordination with another publisher.

With the help of its deep-pocketed owner, Audible is trying to extend its dominance in a fast-growing corner of the book business. It already accounts for about 41% of U.S. audiobook unit sales, according to researcher Codex Group LLC. Audible said Mr. White’s book is a blueprint for the sorts of deals it will pursue.

As a publisher of audiobooks rather than simply a retailer, Audible can develop exclusive audio content that differs from the print version, helping to lure subscribers and fend off rivals. In working directly with authors, Audible controls the content instead of traditional publishers, which normally own all rights to books and distribute audio versions through firms like Audible and Apple Inc.’s iTunes.

Audible is pitching literary agents on the benefits of using its services, saying authors will get a competitive bidding process that could mean more money in their pockets, and will get more attention and marketing for their audiobooks.

. . . .

In the first eight months of 2017, publishers’ revenue from audiobooks grew 20% from the same period a year earlier, while print books only rose 1.5% and e-books slipped 5.4%, according to the Association of American Publishers, which collects data reported by 1,200 publishers.

. . . .

Several major publishers, including Penguin Random House and HarperCollins Publishers, say they generally won’t buy a new book without audiobook rights, which may deter authors from signing deals with Audible.

“Authors are best served if they are published as a whole and marketed as a whole and in lockstep with our digital sales team and our print team,” said Ana Maria Allessi, publisher of HarperAudio, a unit of HarperCollins Publishers. HarperCollins, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp .

With Audible, the publisher typically gets a set fee for each audiobook download, part of which is passed on to the author. When Audible owns the audiobook rights, print publishers no longer get a cut. Typically, this means more money is passed on to the author.

“As e-book sales decline and hardcover sales flatten, publishers need audiobook rights to boost their bottom line,” said Robert Gottlieb, chairman of Trident Media Group LLC, a New York literary agency. “What’s different is that Audible is trying to get agents to sell them the audiobook rights before they go out with the other publishing rights.”

. . . .

Audible Studios produced a special edition of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” read by Claire Danes, with new material that extends beyond the end of the novel.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal and thanks to Suzie for the tip.

Audiobooks for Building the Most Essential Communication Skill

27 January 2018
Comments Off on Audiobooks for Building the Most Essential Communication Skill

From No Shelf Required:

Audiobooks have long been used in English-speaking countries to support new language acquisition for immigrant students. Their use in English language teaching in places outside these countries is beginning to take hold, now that digitally available audiobooks allow for more accessibility in secondary and university learning situations.

This month The Journal of Language Teaching and Research has published a new and compelling study of the benefits of “Using Audiobooks for Developing Listening Comprehension among Saudi EFL Preparatory Year Students” (Manal Mohamed Khodary Mohamed, Suez Canal University).

. . . .

Listening is considered the most important language skill for achieving effective communication and good academic achievement among learners. It is a highly integrative skill because it is generally the first skill which learners develop (Oxford, 1993; Vandergrift, 1999). It has been emphasized as an essential component in the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) process (Vandergrift, 2003).

. . . .

The role and importance of listening in SLA exceeds acquiring meaning from sounds because it does not only mean recognizing the sounds but it also involves detecting, conveying and comprehending the information and it allows comprehending the world and creating social relationships among humans (White, 2006).

Link to the rest at No Shelf Required.

Hoopla Digital introduces ‘Read-Along’ children’s books with audio narration

10 December 2017

From TeleRead:

Starting today, digital library service Hoopla Digital is introducing a new line of “Picture Books with Read-Alongs” for young readers. Unlike Hoopla’s normal ebook titles, which feature traditional reflowable text sized to fit device screens, these Read-Along titles are displayed in specific picture-book layouts, much like PDFs. And they feature an audio player with audio narration, as well as highlighting the word currently being read.

The format is launching with titles from Hoopla’s partners Walt Disney Books, HarperCollins, Lerner, Charlesbridge, and Brittanica. As with Hoopla’s other ebooks, read-along titles can be checked out for up to 21 days.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

Opening the Mind’s Eye

17 October 2017

From No Shelf Required:

Reading by ear allows for a variety of other activities likely to require sight—running, driving, frosting birthday cakes—or no physical access to sight at all—after all, American audiobook publishing was born of the needs of blind readers. However, as with most things in life, there is a middle way: the opportunity for the sighted, or those with memory of the capacity to engage the world with their eyes, to use no organ other than ears and imagination to conjure the visual elements of what is being read. Eyes can be closed so that even the more or less automatic use of physical vision to track print across a page or screen comes out of play.

To read with the ears in this state of unaccompanied eye input is to give an open field to the images and colors the words and phrasings themselves evoke in the mind. This allows the full measure of works rich in such visual recreations to take center stage within, an experience that can be, in seriousness as well as punnery, heady and exhilarating.

. . . .

To hear this collection, [In Sunlight or In Shadow] and to do so without using the listener’s eyes elsewhere, to simply keep them closed, presents such fully formed and richly detailed sights within the mind’s eye that they become unforgettable. Dreamscape (2017) made use of a full cast to record the stories and each reader’s pacing is such that the imagistic constructions created by the authors receive every bit of light or shadow they warrant, every stroke of Hopper’s muted but frequently sunwashed paints. Hopper’s paintings, of course, are rich with narrative and narrative potential. Adding the layer of writers’ word frames and sculpting takes them to new and even more potent possibilities. Then, to come full circle and remove the reader’s own organ of vision to replace it with the tones of voice throws the listening reader onto a reserve of insight some individuals may find startling as well as intoxicating.

Link to the rest at No Shelf Required

PG has never read any of Georgette Heyer’s books, but on long auto trips with Mrs. PG, he very much enjoys listening to Heyer’s detective novels, so his particular mind’s eye is openable on an interstate.

An Auspicious Day to Use Your Words – And Learn More

20 September 2017
Comments Off on An Auspicious Day to Use Your Words – And Learn More

From No Shelf Required:

An essential aspect of early education, formal and informal and in every human culture, is coaching the very young to communicate articulately. Through explicit means, such as the preschool teacher’s
reminder to “Use your words [rather than slap the kid who just hurt your feelings]” to the implicit demand that responding when asked a question is required, we work at sharing, preserving, and refining language to serve our purposes as a social fabric.

With Samuel Johnson’s 308th birthday noted by Google and other less pervasive sources today, it’s a good time to consider how audiobooks and listening to language both maintain and expand each generation’s capacity to understand, speak, and choose the most appropriate words each individual can to keep that social fabric strong and dynamic.

. . . .

Listening to rich language, crafted by authors who make their characters both credible and relatable, and performed by narrators who understand both the rhythms of the writer and the needs of the audience, serves as a direct route to vocabulary building, flexibility in personal expression, and empathy development. Audiobooks ensure language as a lived experience, without regard to whatever verbal poverty or carelessness a child’s home might afford. For many, listening to audiobooks may be one of the few occasions when spoken language is both directed at them and demands no immediate action, simply inviting the warm bath of soaking in words, phrases, meaningful intonations that range across a wide spectrum of emotions and intentions, and opportunities to be held rapt.

Link to the rest at No Shelf Required

Audible launches Canadian dedicated service

19 September 2017

From ITWorld Canada:

Audible is launching its first Canadian dedicated service, marking the first time the Amazon subsidiary is launching a bilingual website. is live as of today, Sept. 13, offering 300,000 audiobooks and other audio content, including 100 new titles from Canadian authors in English and French. What differentiates it from its U.S. counterpart,, is that now Audible is specifically curated for English speaking and French speaking Canadians.

“A tremendous amount of writers and authors come out of Canada, and we want to recognize Canada as a unique destination with multiple cultures,” said Chris Cooper, head of international at Audible, over the phone with IT World Canada. “We want to really service Canadians with an authentic Canadian approach.”

In order to do that, Audible has specifically curated both the English and French versions of the site so that users won’t just see a translated version of the same page. This is the first time curation by language is being offered in a market, and the company has earmarked $12 million CAD over the next three years to invest in Canadian writers and voices.

“You can go back and forth with ease and just recognize the other cultures. We want to be part of the social fabric and be respectful; be a respectful visitor and resident and realize that there are cultural differences,” said Cooper.

. . . .

The launch of a dedicated Canadian service comes at just the right time, as last week Toronto-based Kobo launched its own audiobook service that will feature audiobooks from a range of publishers that Kobo already works with on the e-books front. Similarly, Kobo members can buy audiobooks individually or by subscribing to a monthly service for one download per month.

. . . .

Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn, in an email to IT World Canada said Audible isn’t really new competition since it’s been around since the 1990s. Besides, Kobo has already grappled with the competition posed by Amazon.

“Kindle was the only game in town for eBooks when we started, and yet we grew to be the dominant player in Canada by focusing on Canadian authors and publisher partnerships, and ultimately, Canadian readers,” he said. “We believe there is a huge playing field here for audiobooks.”

Link to the rest at ITWorld Canada and thanks to Tudor for the tip.

In case Canadian visitors to TPV didn’t catch it in the OP, Audible understands you’re not the part of the United States that is located somewhere north of Montana. Audible understands that some of you like to speak English and others prefer French.

Audible is also sensitive to the hockey and non-hockey elements of Canadian culture and knows Molson is not the Canadian Budweiser.



Next Page »