I wanted to give you guys an update on the audiobook industry, Amazon, and how it impacts self-publishers. Audible’s predatory practices have come under some scrutiny and fire.

One example of this is author and friend Grace Draven who has posted that she is putting off producing book in audio format for now while she does research to figure out how best to move forward.

Producing audiobooks is tremendously expensive. It can cost an author something like $6,500 just to get an audiobook produced, and Audible’s return policies and reporting system have been a gigantic blow to content creators. I would like to remind readers that very few authors can afford to live on the proceeds of what they make from their writing career.

*It isn’t difficult to reach a place where they feel they can’t continue in a profession when they can’t put food on the table or pay rent.* And when that happens, they often stop creating.

ACX, the self-publishing arm of Audible, sent out an email about how there have been many concerns voiced about Audible’s return policy, so they’re going to give authors an extra 5% royalty for December. I’d like to be clear about this: that 5% royalty for a month is absolute bullshit. What would NOT be bullshit is for ACX/Audible to implement policies that are not predatory and actually pay content creators a fair royalty.

Writers, like a lot of other people in other professions, are looking for ways to survive, and predatory practices like this one, along with the massive problem of ebook piracy – which is theft – can make it extremely challenging to create new content and pay bills.

Narrator Sophie Eastlake and I co-produce the self-published Thea Harrison audiobooks that have been released through ACX/Audible, and she and I have talked before about the logistics of trying to move away from their stranglehold on the market. We haven’t yet figured out a way to do it. But I think we need to have another conversation.

What does this mean for future Thea Harrison audiobooks? The short answer is, I don’t know yet. I don’t know if there will be delays or how we will address the current challenges in front of us.If you would like to read the long version of “Audiblegate” you can do so here:

Here’s a cute meme for making it through all the text.

4 Responses

  1. Rebekah says:

    What an interesting read! Those of us who are not in the publishing industry would never know otherwise, so thank you for the update. I love Ms. Eastlake’s character portrayals and I would have no problem purchasing on a different platform.

  2. Mary Elizabeth says:

    This makes me very sad and angry, all at the same time. I love Audible. It is how I found the Elder Races books! Not to mention, I could listen to Sophie Eastlake read stereo instructions! Love you both. I wish corporations and conglomerates were more conscionable and just did the right thing by the ones that supply them. With that said, I love your work and would purchase the audio versions through alternate avenues. Just keep us posted!! AND… Keep’em coming!

  3. Ashley prest says:

    I fell in love with your elder race series with pia and dragos. My family travels so much across country in the car that audio books is our main form of “reading” and I would absolutely purchase on a different platform, as long as when we bought the audio book and downloaded it was ours to keep. We ran into that problem with audible, once we canceled our membership we couldn’t relisten to ones we had bought before.

  4. Linda says:

    I agree with you Thea, that artists should be paid for their product. If I purchased audiobooks, I would no longer use audible.

    I’m old school and prefer hardcopy reading material, but because of cost I frequently purchase ebooks ( which turns out to be easier on my eyes….lol)

    I’m not a fan of audiobooks…. my enjoyment of an audiobook depends on how it’s narrated…and so far 98% of the ones I’ve tested don’t measure up to the way the books are written. It turn’s out it takes more than just reading the words…