I’m not sure what I’m agreeing with, but…
A fellow audiobook industry member, Evo Terra at podiobooks.com, as an unintentional stumbler (self proclaimed) into the audiobook business, states that (paraphrased) the audiobook industry is moribund, dinosaurish, and fearful of change. I must agree! I’m not sure what I’m agreeing with, since there’s been so much innovation in the space lately, what with our own unlimited rental model, the throwaway Playaway, audiobooks on SD chips from Audiofy, and of course the whole download thing.
Oh wait, are those all distribution innovations? I guess they are. What’s Evo’s talking about then must be the publishers who, while being really nice people, are prone to thinking primarily about intellectual property and royalties, not so much about increasing consumption. My belief is that the only reason audiobooks exist is because they have a higher profit margin than dead-tree books. Downloadable books (another “innovation”) have an even higher profit margin. And the most recent innovation, “e-books”, have an even HIGHER profit margin. You can see where this is headed. Pretty soon we’ll have no books at all, and the profit margin will be astronomical.
The thing we all have to do is make audiobooks more accessible to more people. Half the public has no idea what they are, and 75% of the public has never listened to one. With nearly all new releases being available as audio books, but only 8% of the overall book industry being audiobooks, there is tremendous upside. The benefits of listening versus reading are enormous in the right circumstances, and it’s a shame more people aren’t being made aware of it.But the innovators are coming! Tally Ho!