Storytel Norway denies rumour it plans to pay publishers by the minute rather than a fixed rate per download

From The New Publishing Standard:

Storytel Norway is the only one of the 21 Storytel markets where it still pays a fixed rate per download to publishers, rather than compensating by the minute consumed. The reason being Norway’s fixed price book law.

Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen, per a report in the Norwegian publishing journal Bok365, claims to have seen an internal memo between Norwegian publisher Gyldendal and Storytel NO which asserted,

Storytel will switch to a time-based royalty model, where the author receives NOK 1.25 ($0.14) per hour played.

Storytel NO currently pays a minimum of NOK 10 ($1.13) per unit played after 20% consumption, and told Bok365:

We operate in the Norwegian market according to the agreements that apply here, and have not changed to time-based royalty settlement (adding that) Storytel Norway has been through a somewhat challenging third quarter.

A challenging third quarter, when elsewhere Storytel appears to be thriving amid the pandemic? That would appear to be directly related to the fixed-rate payout. Per Bok365:

Short books that are listened to by an increasing number of subscribers become bad business and cannibalise the earnings of longer audio books.

This of course exactly the imbalance the by-the-hour compensation was intended to remedy.

Havik happily admits he would prefer Storytel NO have the same payments system as the rest of the Storytel empire, but said Storytel NO would observe the local law. He explained to Bok365 that the Klassekampen story arose from a specific incident where a Norwegian publisher offered a dozen short children’s stories, which are a classic problem for the fixed rate unlimited subscription model where an audiobook of perhaps thirty minutes duration will be paid the same as one of twenty hours, leaving the subscription service in the red. 

Link to the rest at The New Publishing Standard