每日跟讀#474 : Listen Carefully, Book Lovers: Top Authors Are Skipping Print
When Michael Lewis had an idea for his next book, a contemporary political narrative, he decided he would test it out first as a 10,000-word magazine article, as he often does before committing to a yearslong project.
But this time he made a surprising pivot. Instead of publishing the story in Vanity Fair, where he has been a contributing writer for nearly a decade, he sold it to Audible, the audiobook publisher and retailer.
“You’re not going to be able to read it, you’re only going to be able to listen to it,” Lewis said. “I’ve become Audible’s first magazine writer.”
Lewis is part of a growing group of A-list authors bypassing print and releasing audiobook originals, hoping to take advantage of the exploding audiobook market. It’s the latest sign that audiobooks are no longer an appendage of print, but a creative medium in their own right. But the rise of stand-alone audio has also made some traditional publishers nervous, as Audible strikes deals directly with writers, including best-selling authors like historian Robert Caro and novelist Jeffery Deaver.
Audible, which is owned by Amazon and the biggest player with more than 425,000 titles in its online store, has an enormous advantage in this increasingly crowded arena. Amazon has been pushing audiobooks on its platform, listing them as “free” with a trial Audible membership, which costs $15 a month, and includes a book each month. (The typical price of a la carte audiobooks ranges from about $15 to $40 depending on the length.)
In the past five years, Hachette has doubled the number of audiobooks it produces; it will release about 700 titles this year. Penguin Random House will put out roughly 1,200 audio titles, up from 652 in 2014, and now has 15 recording studios. Macmillan Audio will release 470 audiobooks this year, a 46 percent increase over 2017. Two of the company’s biggest recent hits are the audiobooks for James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty,” which has sold more than 167,000 copies, and Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” which sold about 320,000.
Ellen Archer, president of HMH Trade Publishing, said she expects the audio release will boost print sales, rather than cannibalizing them. “The marketing muscle they’re going to put behind this book is going to drive interest in the print version,” she said.
Source: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/330427/web/文／Alexandra Alter譯／莊蕙嘉
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