Author Topic: Audio Books - Do they sell?  (Read 238 times)  

Online David Blake

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Audio Books - Do they sell?
« on: Today at 01:20:56 PM »
I've been asked when I'm going to get audio books done, but I've no idea if they're profitable.

Does anyone know if they sell, and if they do, what's the approx percentage of sales in relation to normal downloads?
« Last Edit: Today at 01:26:58 PM by David Blake »

Offline Annie B

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Re: Audio Books - Do they sell?
« Reply #1 on: Today at 02:48:56 PM »
It varies and totally depends, alas. Nobody can predict what you will or won't sell in audio just like nobody can tell you what you will or won't sell in ebooks.

That said, if you are selling more than 500-1000 copies of a book a month, I think audio would be a good choice. It also depends on genre, on length (longer books do better in audio etc), and other factors like how good/popular your narrator is etc.

Online thevoiceofone

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Re: Audio Books - Do they sell?
« Reply #2 on: Today at 03:01:54 PM »
I've been asked when I'm going to get audio books done, but I've no idea if they're profitable.

Does anyone know if they sell, and if they do, what's the approx percentage of sales in relation to normal downloads?

They are worth it IF you have books that sell. 

If you don't do audio. ( even if it's a split with a narrator) you are leaving money on the table.

Online David VanDyke

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Re: Audio Books - Do they sell?
« Reply #3 on: Today at 03:25:58 PM »
I had all my own audiobooks done via ACX. They are done to a good standard, but because they were not done by Audible Studios or any other well-known studio, they don't ever seem to get any internal push or free publicity.

They sell about (in the aggregate) 1 audiobook for every ebook sold. They used to do better, until Amazon raised the whispersync prices so drastically. I ended up with more money per audiobook sold, but fewer sold overall.

My permafrees used to drive audiobook sales very well, especially with a BookBub on a permafree, as they in effect gave people an audiobook for $1.99 or so, and they could use Audible credits or retail for the later books.

The whispersync changes altered my expected pay-back for my investment (I paid for all my books up front) from 2-4 years to probably 4-6 years to break even. That's still a good ROI, but because things might change drastically in the next 4-6 years, I'm not so sure I'd have invested so heavily. Fortunately, I'm close to breaking even on all my investments in audiobooks, and from then on everything is gravy.

I think that today, though, I'd consider trying harder to find a decent narrator willing to do royalty split, even if I had to sweeten the deal with a completion bonus of a few hundred bucks or so, the purpose being to spread my risk. In other words, give a narrator, say, $300 on the side, plus the usual ACX royalty split, in order to not have to invest the $3000+ I'd normally need to get an audiobook completed.

Another good choice might be getting an agent for audio rights and let them negotiate a deal that gets you advance, though your royalty rate will be much lower. That would depend on you showing a good track record for your ebook sales, I suspect.

Or, of you are flush with cash, go ahead and roll the dice. Odds are still good that your investment will break even within (conservatively) 5-10 years.


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Online KevinH

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Re: Audio Books - Do they sell?
« Reply #4 on: Today at 04:16:15 PM »
I've found audiobooks to be immensely profitable, and I consider myself blessed to be well into the black since my first audio release.  (I also realize that I'm probably an outlier in that regard.)  That said, I agree with the prior statements that how the ebook is selling is probably a good indicator of what you can expect with audio.  Also, I took a chance early on and decided to pay my narrator upfront, but doing the royalty split is probably a cost-effective way of getting it done without taking on as much risk.

In short, I concur that you may be leaving money on the table if you don't do audio, but as David pointed out, you might need a long time horizon to earn back any outlay of cash. (Fortunately, your book can stay out there and continue to sell forever.)

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