How Audiobooks Work

Things have been a little chaotic here--hopefully by Wednesday everything will have settled and I'll be able to write. Anyway, I did manage to read David Byrne's How Music Works, which was interesting to me on a lot of levels.

He has an entire chapter on the many different ways to distribute music nowadays (he uses examples from his own career, breaking out expenses and revenues--he's a very open guy). That section was of special interest because while I don't mind giving Trang away as a free podcast, I'd also like to have an audiobook that people can buy if they want, plus if I record the later titles I would want to do them as paid audiobooks and not as free podcasts.

A lot of the places he was talking about just do music, because the only way onto Amazon or iTunes if you are an audiobook is via Audible, and that means going through ACX. The issue with that is that they have pretty specific production requirements--I don't know if they are impossibly specific, though, mainly because I don't know what's involved in mastering. You also have no control over price.

The other option (actually, it looks like you can do both) is Bandcamp, which is a straightforward retail arrangement--no distribution included. They charge a percentage of your sales, but other than that it's free. You can set your price there however you want, which is nice.

Serendipitously, Erin Dolan of Unclutterer, a site I often read, has produced her own audiobook. In her case, she just put an E-Junkie shopping cart onto her Web site--a click on the link takes you right to PayPal.

That looks interesting, doesn't it? For $5 a month I could sell every e-book format plus the audiobooks directly from this Web site. Well, that's going into the Must Investigate in the Future pile.