Are you planning an audiobook? If you have a good reading voice and some decent recording equipment, you can do it yourself. That’s what I’m doing with Worlds Within Worlds. The issue though, once you’ve done it, is how to distribute it to the places where people go to get audiobooks. You can’t put your book up on itunes yourself; you need to go through a distributor, so here is a comparison of audio book distributors to help you decide how to go about it.
“What Amazon and Kindle are to book publishing, Amazon’s ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) and Audible subsidiaries are to audiobooks.” (quote from http://audiobookrevolution.com/2016/01/07/new-audiobook-option-for-authors/ ) but there are big issues with using their service.
- ACX will organise production of your audiobook for you,
- The content you make through them is exclusive to them. There’s a 7-year exclusivity clause unless you pay the production fee and opt for non-exclusivity,
- Authors have no control over the price,
- The service is limited to authors in the USA and UK,
- Distribution is to Amazon, Audible, Itunes “as well as wherever else Audible chooses”,
- Royalties are 20% of retail, or 40% if you pay your own production fees or 25% if you pay your own production fees and opt for non-exclusivity.
Alternatives to ACX
Luckily, there are now options in Author’s Republic and Scribl both of which give an opportunity for authors to create a new revenue stream without a big up-front investment and long exclusivity contracts.
Though ACX is good for those who need someone to record the book, the following are better options for those with access to quality recording equipment and can do it themselves. Author’s Republic has slightly higher royalty rates than ACX, but Scribl has far better returns for authors than both of them, not just in audio books but in their ebook distribution as well.
- Hasa dozen retail and distributor partners –i.e. more than just Amazon and itunes. They include Audiobooks.com, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Scribd, libraries and more.
- Authors can earn up to 35% of the final sales.
- They take your retail price suggestion into account and it’s honoured in most places, but Amazon, Audible and itunes will set the prices they want.
- You can opt-out after six months
- Authors have the option to record their own book on their iPhone, iPad, or on the web through the Recordioapp, but though AR may do a little post-production on it there is no guarantee of professional quality.
Scribl and Podiobooks (both Scribliotech Inc companies)
Scribl is an ebook sales outlet and distributor who also does audio books. You have to give them a copy of the ebook to sell on their website along with the audio book; however, you can put the ebook or audiobook,or both, or neither onto their distribution platform (CrowdPricing Everywhere.)
- For sales on Scribl.com, you earn 75-85% of the GROSS revenue they receive.
- You don’t have pricing control. They set the pricing automatically according to how popular your book is. They call it CrowdPricing. Readers discover your title for free, and CrowdPricing automatically ramps up the price as it gains popularity.
- If you opt into CrowdPricing Everywhere, Scribl can automatically distribute your book through just about every retail site—including Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, to name a few. Unlike other sites that offer distribution, with Scribl you always earn the full 70% share at all prices (often more than if you posted directly – see below). This applies to both ebooks and audiobooks. See figures here. The 85% return is if you list an audio book along with your ebook.
- Audio books sold and distributed through Scribl are also posted on Podiobooks as a free serialised podcast. Podiobooks.com titles are free; however, they do solicit “tips” from listeners from time to time. When that happens for your book, Podiobooks.com will send you 75% of those donations. (I doubt that will come to much but, as they say, “this is a path to payment.” Some people don’t want to wait until the next episode and so will buy the book, and you’ll be reaching more people.)
- a free ISBN for every ebook or audiobook edition that you opt-in to CrowdPricing Everywhere.
What is CrowdPricing?
In CrowdPricing, each title moves between a set of predefined price tiers based on popularity within its genre. When a title’s downloads increase, its price goes up a notch. When downloads decrease, the price drops to the lower tier. All books start at free, the idea being to give it the most visibility, and encourage readers to check out new releases.
CrowdPricing rewards authors based on the market appeal of their work relative to similar works; meanwhile, a new book finds fans through a lower starting price. And long-term prices are protected by keeping the full prices for the most popular titles. More about all this here.
Always 70%? Even on Amazon, B&N etc?
In an email to me on this question, Dorian from Support at Scribliotech, Inc. said, “Going direct to each of those sites would yield less revenue and more work for you. Every download under CrowdPricing Everywhere ALWAYS gets you at least the full 70% of your book (75% for sales on scribl.com, or 85% if you also provide an audiobook edition of the book). Even where Amazon only pays 35% in some markets or if you price outside their core band of $2.99 – $9.99, Scribl pays you the full 70% of the $CP price. At Barnes & Noble, they never pay more than 65% and go as low as 40%, where again you still get the full 70% for those sales when you self-publish through Scribl. We are uniquely able to do this because of our CrowdPricing system and the terms we have secured for authors through all of these distribution channels.”
How can they offer more than double the returns of their competitors?
Apart from whatever deal they’ve brokered with the stores, CrowdPricing produces 30 times more total revenue for content than with conventional, author-priced systems. How does CrowdPricing produce so much more? Apparently:
- Customers trust the prices, so they’re more willing to pay,
- Most downloads are paid downloads—unlike conventional systems, where most of the downloads are the free kind.
Anyway, that’s what they say. I’m planning to use them to release the audiobook of Worlds Within Worlds that I’m recording now, so I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ll be selling the book here for a start, but I do want it available in the major retail outlets as well.