The Big Audiobook Discussion!

Hey!
So, we’ve been working on the audiobook versions of The Monarch Papers for nearly a year and they’re just about ready!

Going forward the time between an Ackerly Green print book and its audibook companion will be much shorter. I just had to learn and entirely new development process. As usual. :slight_smile:

I partnered with Findaway Voices to help find a narrator and to help with all of the behind the scenes production that goes into crafting an audiobook. They’re a great company that has been revolutionary for indie authors, and they’ve also just launched a program called Authors Direct, where authors can sell audiobooks directly to their customers, kind of like how I use Bookfunnel for my ebooks. Authors Direct has its own app for listening to books, and I and Ackerly Green would make substantially more from each sale by selling directly to my readers from our shop. I’m considering using Authors Direct as well as Audible and other retailer platforms, as well as library lending, but I’m curious how you all would feel about using an exclusive (and we’ll built) app to listen to AGP audiobooks?

Also, and just as important, I would LOVE to know all of your thoughts on audiobooks. Do you listen to them? Do you buy or borrow them? What apps/platforms/retailers do you use for audiobooks?

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I’m totally fine using an exclusive app, especially if it means you get more income from it! You work hard and do good work and you deserve it.

I don’t listen to audiobooks all that often anymore, but I used to nearly every day, and all through high school I fell asleep to books on tape from my local library. I really like audiobooks, and although right now I don’t have access to a library and I typically buy them for myself because of that, my preferred method is usually borrowing from a library. I do buy old favorites or audiobooks I know I will love, which of course includes TMP.

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I tried an audiobook from the library once since that was the only form they had it, and it did not go so well. :sweat_smile:

All on me and my brain, of course. I think it’s whatever allows me to listen to Welcome to Nightvale without looking at anything, but will not let me listen to the podcast version of Critical Role.

That said, I have physical copies I can look at while I’m listening, so I should be able to trick my brain into allowing for audiobook. :simon:

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First, let me say I’m SO EXCITED for an audiobook of TMP.

Second, I’m a person who is committed enough to the story that I will download a specific app to participate in any and all AGP content, full stop. Outside of that, I use Scribd for “renting” audiobooks via subscription and Podcast Addict for podcasts or free broadcasts of podcasts and public domain audiobooks. This is primarily because I perceive audiobooks differently than physical books; an audiobook reader can greatly influence my desire to listen to a book or put it away as a “maybe” or a “lost cause” (though pandemic has also effected this decision) and I’m more reluctant to purchase audiobooks than physical books because the additional degree of mediation can affect my enjoyment of the story.

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For myself, I’d prefer to out right purchase DRM free, free/open source, lossless format, no sign in required, can be played on any device, can be copied, backed up and isn’t reliant on a specific 3rd party piece of software working/existing.

I realise my preferred option both gives you direct control in that it can be sold from the current AG shop, but ultimately opens the door to ‘pirate-ed’ version that net you no profit.

My concerns with a specific AG app for listening would be:
You are limiting the ability for people to stumble upon your books(countered by offering it on other platforms)
You’d have to support said software forever.
Time and money you’d need for development, when tbh there are bigger companies already doing this.

These concerns aren’t insurmountable, but what is gained from an AG specific audio app? (other than shiney!)

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I don’t tend to listen to audiobooks as I’m a little too good at tuning out audio while doing other things. However, on the subject of apps, I’m going to have to sit on the fence. Being able to keep buying direct from AG seems like a really good option. The ability to have one app that you could use for anything AG in the future (books, forum, narrative alerts, AG+ reveals, Brair Society) would certainly help with ease of use within the community. However, I also share Sapphire’s concerns. There’s a potential for people to miss out on finding the community through the book.

As for other apps, I have no idea on useability/accessability. Popular platforms might bring in new readership/numbers based income, while having something similar to Bookfunnel where you can choose which platform/format for the file would help to cover so many basis that compatibility wouldn’t be an issue.

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I appreciate all these thoughts! To clarify, the app, Authors Direct, already exists and wouldn’t be proprietary to AGP. It’s built and managed by Findaway. Also, if you buy audiobooks from other indie authors who use Findaway and Authors Direct, the audiobooks you purchase from them would also appear in the app. It’s basically indie Audible and that’s the big draw for me as an author. With Amazon/Audible I’m borrowing their audience instead of building my own.

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I usually borrow audio books from my library via their app.

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Oh, also, and this is pretty important business-wise… Audible gives me 20-25% royalty for every audiobook sold through their platform. Authors Direct gives me 85% royalty for every audiobook sold through my platform, but to offset the cost of hosting and providing customer service and them making far less per book, I pay a small monthly fee to Authors Direct every month, just like I do with Bookfunnel.

It’s pricey to be indie, but there is also a lot of potential reward.

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Added to budget to buy when it comes out :white_check_mark:
I would deeply appreciate a non audible option, sounds like that’s pretty in the cards.
I used to use audible but didn’t want to support amazon, Im still working through my backlog so haven’t needed to borrow from the library. I generally dont buy audiobooks out of subscription but would make an exception for yours.

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