How Amazon and Audible Are Pushing Audiobooks into the Mainstream
In reading DBW’s recent interview with Hugh Howey, I was surprised that he never mentioned audiobooks even though he obviously believes in the format. Howey has 37 audiobook titles on Audible.com, and he published at least 16 of them personally.
Howey’s remarks about Amazon made me think about the company’s tremendous influence on the audiobook market. In the interview, Howey said, “Amazon has vastly increased the access to books. They have also vastly increased every author’s access to the market… For a very long time, most aspiring writers had no hope of expressing themselves and having access to consumers. Amazon almost single-handedly changed that.”
Those statements are equally true of indie authors who have audiobook editions. However, most people don’t realize that Amazon has systematically acquired companies and, along with its subsidiary Audible, innovated technologies in order to push audiobooks into mainstream entertainment.
In 2007, Amazon bought Brilliance Audio, which was the largest independent producer of audiobooks in the country. At the time of the purchase, Brilliance created 12 to 15 audiobooks per month, or no more than 180 audiobooks a year. At the Audio Publishers Association conference in May, a rep from Brilliance Audio commented that the company now produces 2,000 audiobooks a year.
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