Innovation and The Audiobook Market

When I was at NINC in 2018, I was telling my mailing list that all the exciting developments in the audiobook market are coming from outside Amazon – companies like Findaway, Kobo, Chirp/BookBub, and various others serving the library market as well.

This is a most welcome development because it also feels like many of the moves (Amazon-owned) Audible has been making lately have been quite negative: the royalty cut, the new subscription service and its low pay rates, and Amazon’s controversial and brazen move to start captioning audiobooks without compensating publishers and authors – which resulted in an immediate lawsuit from the Big 5.

Those large publishers have themselves been making no friends with libraries recently, offering ever-worsening terms for audiobooks, to match those for ebooks. Which is an opportunity for indies, of course, especially those using companies like Findaway to better serve that market.

The Audiobook Market & Indies

But what really excites me is the dynamic in audiobook publishing that is the complete opposite of that which upended the ebook market. In the same way that Amazon gave indies a level playing field, and pricing control, and let them do their thang, the non-Amazon entities in this space have adopted that strategy while Audible resolutely goes in the other direction.

Companies like Findaway and Kobo and Chirp realized something very important: if you let indies actually market their audiobooks (especially by giving them pricing control), they can bring you lots of new customers. We’re growing the pie, and everyone is benefiting – not least us.

(Unless you are tied to ACX/Audible right now, of course, which is the situation with one of my titles; I’m counting down until I get those rights back…)

I spoke with my list about various audio experiments I will be engaging in the future and the first of those was the audiobook edition of Strangers to Superfanswhich you can check out here.

This audiobook is produced and distributed by Findaway Voices – a company I’ll be talking a lot more soon, because they have a very different approach to production and distribution.

But just to give you a taste of how much broader your distribution will be with Findaway, check out this list of retailers and library services where Superfans will be available:

Amazon, Audible, Apple, Nook Audiobooks, Kobo,, Google Play, Scribd, Biblioteca, Chirp, Walmart, Hibooks, Hoopla, Storytel, OverDrive, Playster, Baker & Taylor, Beek, Downpour, Ebsco, eStories, Follett, Hummingbird, Instaread,, Mlol, Nextory, 3Leaf Group, 24Symbols, Odilo, Permabound, and Wheelers.

That’s not even a complete list, there will be more coming very soon too. And notice that Amazon and Audible are on that list – being with Findaway doesn’t keep you out of any of the major stores, including Audible. Just to knock another myth on its head: it also doesn’t stop your Findaway-distributed title getting Whispersynced on Amazon either.

Having pricing control is exciting. The ability to run discounts will allow indies to truly market their audiobooks for the first time – some are even experimenting through various storefronts with perma-free series openers. It’s a really exciting time, and I’ll have lots more on this topic soon.

For now, check out the Superfans audiobook here. It’s narrated by Melinda Wade, who was just wonderful to work with, and I’ll speak more about that process in future posts.

David Gaughran

David Gaughran

Born in Ireland, he now lives in a little fishing village in Portugal, although this hasn’t increased the time spent outside. He writes novels under another name, has helped thousands of authors build a readership with his books, blogs, workshops, and courses, and has created marketing campaigns for some of the biggest self-publishers on the planet. Friend to all dogs.