Audible.com — an Amazon.com company that is the web’s largest retailer of audiobooks — just announced that it’s starting a new program that should simultaneously boost the number of audiobooks available and give book authors some extra cash.
The program is called Audible Author Services. When authors sign up for the program, they’re given $1 (from a $20 million fund that has been set up) each time their book (in audio form) is downloaded via Audible.com, Audible.co.uk, or iTunes. That $1 goes straight to the author, not the book’s publisher.
To enroll in the program, the books of course first need to be available through Audible. If they are not already available, Audible says:
One of the easiest, best, and no-cost ways to get your books into audio is through the Audiobook Creation Exchange (www.acx.com), a service created by Audible that connects rights holders with audiobook producers in order to have more audiobooks made.
Audible then cautions authors, “If you’re not sure whether you hold the audio rights to your book, check your book contract or call your agent or lawyer.”
But yeah, that’s all that authors have to do. Just sign up and they are paid $1 per download/sale of their audiobook.
This gives authors more reason to actively market their own audiobooks. You rarely hear authors talking about the audio versions of their books, and this is a good way to for Audible/Amazon to encourage them to do just that. An extra $1 per sale sounds like a pretty good incentive. It’s essentially free money for very little extra work.
This also could be an early move on Audible’s part toward cutting out the middleman (i.e., the publisher) out of the audiobook equation, much like Amazon has already done with its Kindle self publishing platform. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the next couple years.
Authors can sign up for Audible Author Services here.