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Author Topic: D2D enters the audiobook fray -- OR, is this a reason for the audio price hike?  (Read 5731 times)  

Offline Mark E. Cooper

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So D2D enters the audiobook market on July 18th through an audio partner called Voices. Here is the news release and FAQ https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-partners-with-findaway-voices-to-provide-an-alternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/


Authors get 80% of what Voices receives, but how much is that? I have a feeling (feeling only, no proof) that Voices will get 40% the way ACX publishers already do. So D2D will give us 80% of 40%

BUT

Price control is HUGE. I WANT that. I've always wanted that, and I've told ACX many times through feedback. Thing is, I'm locked in with all current books to ACX. It might sway me to try them for future work though.

BUT...

Is Amazon/audible/ACX already responding in the background with something else? I don't know, but the recent price hike suggests (suggests only not proof) they're up to something sneaky. Netflix for "unlimited" audio streaming maybe? Who the hell knows, I don't!

Offline TheLemontree

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Bingo. Audio books for those of us outside the US.

Now *that* is good news.

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Offline Michael_J_Sullivan

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Price control is HUGE. I WANT that. I've always wanted that, and I've told ACX many times through feedback.

It's my understanding that NO ONE has price control when it comes to audio and Audible.com.  In other words, not an author using ACX, not an audio producer like Recorded Books, and not the audio branch of a big-five (such as Hachette Audio).  All audio pricing is determined by Audible.com and is, as far as I can see, greatly determined by running time (length of the work).
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Online TobiasRoote

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So D2D enters the audiobook market on July 18th through an audio partner called Voices. Here is the news release and FAQ https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-partners-with-findaway-voices-to-provide-an-alternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/


Authors get 80% of what Voices receives, but how much is that? I have a feeling (feeling only, no proof) that Voices will get 40% the way ACX publishers already do. So D2D will give us 80% of 40%

BUT

Price control is HUGE. I WANT that. I've always wanted that, and I've told ACX many times through feedback. Thing is, I'm locked in with all current books to ACX. It might sway me to try them for future work though.

BUT...

Is Amazon/audible/ACX already responding in the background with something else? I don't know, but the recent price hike suggests (suggests only not proof) they're up to something sneaky. Netflix for "unlimited" audio streaming maybe? Who the hell knows, I don't!

It's the one thing I have wanted and reason I haven't gone to ACX after my first audio book. If I can get back control of that now, I will and probably can as there's no money in it at whispersync prices. I made $100 on 50% royalties last year. I'm very keen to get marketing and price control of this. If Amazon brings out anything it will still demand that it locks you in to their system.


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Offline Mark E. Cooper

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It's my understanding that NO ONE has price control when it comes to audio and Audible.com.  In other words, not an author using ACX, not an audio producer like Recorded Books, and not the audio branch of a big-five (such as Hachette Audio).  All audio pricing is determined by Audible.com and is, as far as I can see, greatly determined by running time (length of the work).


I linked the FAQ for a reason. Price control and promos are now achievable via D2D Voices. That's huge, but is it enough to take 80% of ?%

Offline Al Stevens

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How will an audiobook distributed by D2D->Voices via Amazon be listed? Will it be alongside the e-book, paperback listings the same way Audible books are? Exposure is important.

Audible is now marketing with prime-time TV commercials (which I believe accounts for the recent price hikes) How will this new channel compete?

Offline Jill Nojack

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I linked the FAQ for a reason. Price control and promos are now achievable via D2D Voices. That's huge, but is it enough to take 80% of ?%


I linked the FAQ for a reason. Price control and promos are now achievable via D2D Voices. That's huge, but is it enough to take 80% of ?%

The FAQ is now saying it is 80% of "Audible: Standard non-exclusive terms". So it will be 80% of 20% on Audible.

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Offline vaughanwsmith

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It seems like a pretty fair agreement. The pricing control and wide distribution may help offset the 20% cut. For someone like me who is in Australia, it gives me an option where Audible/ACX do not.

Let's see - assume you list it for $20.00:

Royalty payment is $4.00
Voices gets $0.80
Author gets $3.20

Assume your book is 10 hours length and your narrator is $200 PFH. That's $2,000 outlay and you need to move 625 units to break even. That doesn't sound too bad really. Less if there's a better royalty on the other stores. I'm assuming this kind of setup avoids whisper sync etc. Somebody who knows audio better may be able to weigh in with better numbers.


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Offline Huldra

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I got this reply from D2D when I fired off a few questions, may be of use to others:

Hello,

As the author or publisher, you keep 80% of all royalties Voices receives, which vary by partner, channel, and business model. The royalties Voices receives from its partners are within the following ranges:
 
A la carte: 40% to 50% of list price
Subscription: 30% to 40% of list price
Audible: 25% of the sales price (equal to their standard, non-exclusive terms)

The distribution network does include Audible, as well as Amazon, Apple, B&N Nook, Scribd, TuneIn, eStories (formerly eMusic), Playster, 24Symbols, Downpour, Audiobooks.com, Hummingbird, Libro.fm, AudiobooksNow. They also distribute to library services such as Baker & Taylor, EBSCO, 3M/Biblioteca, Follett, Mackin, Perma-Bound, Odilo, Overdrive. Coming soon, you'll see your audiobooks in Hoopla we well.

They do not offer pre-order support, however, they are currently building that functionality, so we expect that to be released very soon as part of their service abilities.

Offline Al Stevens

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Hmm. How will they compete at $20 with Whispersync books when the e-book is $2.99 and the Audible is, say, $5? Buyers will pass over the $20 audiobook to get a different one in two formats a lot cheaper. Or am I missing something?

Offline Silly Writer

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I know nothing about Audio, so please spoon-feed me!

Does this mean I can sign up and they'll take my manuscript (e-book?) from point A to point B and poof, I'll have audio available at all retailers? And I can still keep all my e-books in Select/KU?

This seems too good to be true...

Offline AliceS

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I'm tempted to try it for my Post-Apocalyptic series, but the upfront outlay is hard right now. Moving 625 units seems like a lot.


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Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Hmm. How will they compete at $20 with Whispersync books when the e-book is $2.99 and the Audible is, say, $5? Buyers will pass over the $20 audiobook to get a different one in two formats a lot cheaper. Or am I missing something?

Honestly, outside the Amazon bargain basement ecosystem, audiobooks traditionally commanded much higher prices than print. It was Amazon that decided to enter the market with hyper-discounting to the point of absurdity. While the books won't be able to compete on Amazon, OUTSIDE of Amazon those prices are well within the norms that audiobook listeners expect.

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Offline Al Stevens

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Honestly, outside the Amazon bargain basement ecosystem, audiobooks traditionally commanded much higher prices than print. It was Amazon that decided to enter the market with hyper-discounting to the point of absurdity. While the books won't be able to compete on Amazon, OUTSIDE of Amazon those prices are well within the norms that audiobook listeners expect.
I agree. But won't those buyers get wise to the lower prices? Whispersync discounting could kill off those outside marketplaces, and maybe that's its purpose.

Offline Mark E. Cooper

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The FAQ is now saying it is 80% of "Audible: Standard non-exclusive terms". So it will be 80% of 20% on Audible.

Wow. That's a significant FAQ update, and makes this author no longer interested in the service.


I got this reply from D2D when I fired off a few questions, may be of use to others:

Hello,

As the author or publisher, you keep 80% of all royalties Voices receives, which vary by partner, channel, and business model. The royalties Voices receives from its partners are within the following ranges:
 
A la carte: 40% to 50% of list price
Subscription: 30% to 40% of list price
Audible: 25% of the sales price (equal to their standard, non-exclusive terms)



ACX gives me 40% minimum, but it will be 40% of what Audible gets. On average, my bestselling titles net me around $4.50 per sale. The above means Voices will get that 40%, and then we will get 80% of what Voices gets. So a huge cut in royalty, but a say in the price we set.

So in theory, we could raise the price to offset the loss. The thing is, Audible has recently raised its audio prices, and now I am selling barely 25% of the audiobooks I was selling pre price hike.

Offline M M

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Wow. That's a significant FAQ update, and makes this author no longer interested in the service.


ACX gives me 40% minimum, but it will be 40% of what Audible gets. On average, my bestselling titles net me around $4.50 per sale. The above means Voices will get that 40%, and then we will get 80% of what Voices gets. So a huge cut in royalty, but a say in the price we set.



The $49 per title set up fee on top of that makes it no so attractive anymore.


Offline Huldra

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The $49 per title set up fee on top of that makes it no so attractive anymore.
What??

Offline M M

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Excerpt from the D2D blog post FAQ


What's with the $49 fee?

This is a one-time administrative fee that covers project management during production, and ongoing administrative tasks such as consolidated royalty reporting, ISBN registration, post processing, final mastering, and other behind-the-scenes tasks carried out by Findaway, for every audibook produced. This fee applies to production only, and you will not have to pay the fee if you provide your own audiobook.

CREATING AN AUDIOBOOK

How much does it cost to create an audiobook?

The cost of narration is calculated on a per-finished-hour basis, and will vary based on several factors, including book length, narrator selected, and complexity. Voices will provide suggested narrators at a range of per-finished hour rates to best meet your cost needs. Contact Findaway at voices@findaway.com to learn more.
The only other charge is a one-time fee of $49.00 to cover project management during production, and ongoing administrative tasks such as consolidated royalty reporting.
What does per-finished hour mean?

Per Finished Hour is the standard way payment is calculated in the audiobook industry. Narrators are compensated for each hour of finished recording, rather than by studio hour, since this can vary.

The standard rule is every 9,000 words equals one hour of finished hour. So, if your book is 72,000 words, it would be approximately 8 finished hours of audio.

Im interested. How do I choose a narrator?

First, contact Findaway at voices@findaway.com. To find the right narrator for your book, well ask you a few simple questions to guide our suggestions (book subject/genre, emotional tone, protagonist profile) and then prepare a curated list of narrators for you to choose from. All narrator recommendations from Voices are tailored to your style preferences and material. Well include voices at a range of per-finished-hour rates to ensure you get the right voice at the right price. Every narrator in our talent pool has been vetted for professionalism and quality.


Offline ImaWriter

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I've read that $49 bit a few times and can't decide if they mean per book or just one time. It's not exactly clear and could be taken either way, IMO.

Offline M M

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it says "for every audiobook produced." 

I agree that the language is unclear. For example, it says you don't have to pay the fee if you upload your own book, yet claims the fee is to cover things like "consolidated royalty reporting".  Isn't there reporting whether you upload direct, or use Findaway?   If it is to cover reporting, then what does the % cut of all sales cover?  Looks like double counting to me.


Offline ImaWriter

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it says "for every audiobook produced." 

I agree that the language is unclear. For example, it says you don't have to pay the fee if you upload your own book, yet claims the fee is to cover things like "consolidated royalty reporting".  Isn't there reporting whether you upload direct, or use Findaway?   If it is to cover reporting, then what does the % cut of all sales cover?  Looks like double counting to me.

Yeah. It's the rest of it that's throwing me off, but sometimes I'm far to literal about the way words are used. The "one time/for every" seems to be clear, then they muddy it with the rest, and that's were it becomes a little less clear to me.  But my brain is muddled and foggy today, so it could just be me. :)

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

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I agree. But won't those buyers get wise to the lower prices? Whispersync discounting could kill off those outside marketplaces, and maybe that's its purpose.

You make the same mistake all authors do: you assume books are interchangeable commodities and the low price is the only factor. If I want the latest Star Wars audiobook narrated by Marc Thompson, and that audiobook is $20, I'm not going  to say, "Gee, I love Marc Thompson and Star Wars, but I think I'll buy this $3 book from some guy I never heard of from a narrator I don't know instead." Now I might go to Amazon to see if they have a lower price on the book I already want, but I'm not going to assume John Doe nobody author's audiobook is a fair swap for the book I really want.

People will pay fair prices for things they actually want. The thing with bargain basement pricing is that while it encourages spontaneous purchasing, it won't REPLACE the purchase of a thing someone actually wants. If I am already buying other things, I might buy the $3 audiobook because it is only $3, but I am not going to buy it INSTEAD of the audiobook I really, really want.

The problem for authors is that they are often too dependent on Amazon for discoverability. You don't know how to reach customers outside of Amazon's algorithms, so you can't fathom the concept that people can make money at higher prices at other outlets. Too many are dependent on the impulse buying consumers instead of people actually seeking out your work organically. I don't pretend I'm rolling in money. Publishing is not my full-time gig. But for over a decade it has provided a nice stable, residual income that allows me the freedom to do what I want.

It is HARDER to make money at higher price points because it requires a lot more marketing effort on the front end. But once you identify your markets and start hitting them, it creates a stable revenue independent of the roller coaster of Amazon's algorithms.

Authors should not hope for Amazon to undercut the smaller markets and drive them out of business. That is not good for authors or customers. WalMart has destroyed the economies of countless communities by deliberately undercutting local markets, driving them out of business, and then squeezing employees (in this case, it would be authors) out of more and more money to increase their own profits because there was nowhere left for the employees to go for other work.

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Offline Rick Gualtieri

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Hmm, kinda thinking Meh on this.  I like D2D, but the whole Audible franchise needs a viable competitor more than an aggregator to really affect any change. 


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Offline Al Stevens

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You make the same mistake all authors do:
All authors? Wow.

Offline T. M. Bilderback

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The $49 per title set up fee on top of that makes it no so attractive anymore.

This is a deal-breaker for me. Good grief!

I have three stories, soon to be four, that need audiobooks. I've been in contact with both Books-In-Motion and ListenUpAudio for eBooks. If the prices are reasonable, I'll go with either. But, if there's a set-up fee, that will definitely shut that producer out.

Indies are being squeezed across the board, and charging a set-up fee for an audiobook is ridiculous!

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