I’ve written previously about Author’s Republic from the narrators point of view, but this is for authors looking for audiobook publishing options.
What Amazon and Kindle are to book publishing, Amazon’s ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) and Audible subsidiaries are to audiobooks. Amazon has control over independent audio publishing. But, there is a brand new competitor in audiobook publishing called “Author’s Republic.” It’s another opportunity for authors to create a new revenue stream without a big up-front investment.
Author’s Republic (AR), which, like Audiobooks.com, is a Canadian company owned by Simply Audiobooks, is attempting to make it easier for authors to sell audiobooks through over a dozen retail and distributor partners and earn up to 35% of the final sales. In an interview for my upcoming book The Author’s Guide to Audiobook Creation, AR’s CEO Sanjay Singhal says his “aggregate publisher” of audiobooks is a new opportunity for authors to go beyond the Amazon/Audible/iTunes channels.
Why is Author’s Republic Necessary?
“Audible has begun a strategy of creating audiobooks itself through Audible studios as well as through ACX,” says Sanjay, “and it was making all that content exclusive to itself. We felt that as that gap widened between Audible’s library and everyone else’s library that it was going to make them so dominant that they couldn’t be competed with, so we felt there had to be an alternative to that nightmarish future, dystopian future, of ruling everything.”
“ACX is doing some great work,” Sanjay concedes, “but there are a lot of issues there that our service was built to address.”
Sanjay believes “ACX takes away a lot of rights from audiobooks rights holders without giving them reasonable competition for those rights. For example, the 7-year exclusivity clause is unheard of, draconian like, and given that someone is giving them a finished audiobook, and they then have the non-terminable rights for 7 years is just unconscionable. The first time I read it I assumed I read it wrong.” Author’s Republic allows authors to “opt-out” after six months.
There is also a difference in the way audiobooks are priced on AR vs. ACX.
“(ACX) does not allow the Rights Holders to have any control over the Suggested Retail Price, where we allow authors to set an MSRP,” says AR’s Success Architect, Meaghan Sansom, “Although we can’t guarantee that price will be honored, because ultimately that lies in the hands of the retailer, we pass (the MSRP) along to all our distribution partners, and in pretty much every case except Amazon, Audible and iTunes, that MSRP is taken into account in a very big way. We found that very important to authors”.
AR wants to be a “Smashwords” kind of alternative to ACX, offering world-wide distribution, where ACX is limited to the U.S. and U.K.
Important points to consider before choosing to go with Author’s Republic:
- An audiobook must be “non-exclusive” to be distributed on AR’s channels, which include Audiobooks.com, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Scribd, libraries and more (see below).
- If a Rights Holder has signed the ACX “exclusive” agreement, the audiobook is NOT eligible for distribution through Author’s Republic.
- If an author has a “non-exclusive” agreement with ACX or Audible, Author’s Republic can distribute the audiobook through Amazon/Audible/iTunes and its other channels.
- Amazon’s ACX still has the edge over AR when it comes to the “Royalty Share” option of producing an audiobook by splitting royalty payments. AR requires authors to pay a narrator in a separate business arrangement.
Author “Self-Recording” through Recordio
Author’s Republic also offers authors the option of recording their own book on their iPhone, iPad, or on the web (not Android yet) through the Recordio app. AR does some post-production to improve sound quality. But authors do NOT have to use Recordio to upload their audio files. It is aimed primarily at non-fiction authors looking for a technically easier, less expensive way to narrate their own books, even if the quality is not to professional recording studio standards.
“Author submitted content will certainly match what you currently get through ACX,” says Sanjay. ”It may not be as good as what Audible studios themselves can do, or what our own publishing division, Audiobooks.com publishing would do. If you comparing them side by side you will be able to tell the difference, but if all you were doing was listening to the Recordio version, you would think ‘hey, this is pretty good.’ You wouldn’t be thinking ‘hey, this is annoying, this must be a Recordio book.’”
Amazon, Audible, and ACX can certainly be projected to continue to be the largest independent audio distribution options in the years ahead, but Author’s Republic and its sister company Audiobooks.com have big plans to compete.
“I just see way more places to get audiobooks, and the proliferation of smartphones has made it really easy to get digital audiobooks,” says Sanjay.
“The next thing you will see is audiobook applications embedded everywhere. For example, in 2016, all new GM vehicles will come with an audiobook app installed in the car. You won’t need a smartphone any more. You will just be able to press a button on your screen to get audiobooks, and that’s our technology.” Sanjay continues, “if you have a new Apple TV, there is only one audiobook app on there. It’s ours. The Apple watch will soon have an audiobook app.”
This is a competition authors who create audiobooks can win.
Richard Rieman at RRVoice.com is author of the upcoming book The Author’s Guide to AudioBook Creation and has narrated and produced over 30 audiobooks.Ne