Scribd has ironed out a new agreement with Penguin/Randomhouse to include over 9,000 audiobooks. Listeners will be able to check out some current bestsellers, such as The Girl on the Train, Fifty Shades of Grey, Gone Girl, Wild, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and A Game of Thrones; award-winning recordings such as Bill Clinton’s My Life narrated by the former president, John Grisham’s Runaway Jury narrated by Michael Beck, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help narrated by Jenna Lamia, Octavia Spencer, Bahni Turpin, and Cassandra Campbell; and renowned narrators including Christopher Plummer, Diane Keaton, Barbara Walters, Kate Winslet, and more.
Scribd has made it their mission to be one of the leading Netflix for e-books subscription services. They started to focus on audiobooks in November 2014 in order to differentiate themselves from Entitle and Oyster. The company launched with 30,000 audiobooks titles from Blackstone, HarperCollins, Scholastic and Naxos.
CEO Trip Adler stated “Penguin Random House Audio is one of the world’s most admired publishers, and we are excited to work with them to expand the potential audience for audiobooks by putting thousands of their amazing titles at readers’ fingertips,” said Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd. “Since we launched audiobooks last fall, reading time on Scribd has doubled. This is great news for Scribd and for our publishing partners.”
The global audiobook industry is currently worth 2.6 billion dollars and part of the reason why we have seen a dramatic increase in profitability is due to digital. In a recent New York Times piece, they said “In the first eight months of 2014, sales were up 28% over the same period last year, far outstripping the growth of e-books, which rose 6%.”
I think Scribd’s continued focus on audiobooks will hopefully spur further adoption because of the low monthly price. The cost of an Audiobook are often drastically inflated and is a financial barrier for mainstream acceptance. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green costs $4.99 for the Kindle edition, but the audiobook costs $17.99. Max Brooks seminal World War Z – The Oral History of the Zombie Wars costs $9.99 for the Kindle edition, but the audiobook will set you back $28.00.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.