Storyel is quickly becoming one of the largest audiobook and ebook subscription services. They got their start in 2006, primarily marketing their services in the Nordic countries. Over the years they have made a few minor acquisitions, primarily to get access to more titles. They currently operate in 25 different countries, such as Russia, Spain, India and the United Arab Emirates. They primarily target markets, where they don’t have a lot of competition from major players such as Audible, but this is all going to change. Storytel has just bought audiobooks.com from KKR for $135 million dollars and will close by the end of the year. KKR also owns Overdrive, although there are currently no plans to sell that company.
Audiobooks.com launched in 2011 and their primary focus has always been the United States. They tend to rely on their dedicated apps for iOS and Android devices to drive sales to consumers. The company also offers integration with Amazon Alexa, Sonos, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among others. Audiobooks.com offers subscribers a first-class content catalog of 300,000 audiobooks from hundreds of major publishing partners, as well as millions of free podcasts and additional audio entertainment.
Storytel’s acquisition of Audiobooks.com lays the foundations for the company’s expansion into English-language markets and underlines its pronounced growth strategy to launch into large and established audio markets. Today, Storytel’s successful trajectory of global expansion includes more than 1.7 million subscribers, operations in 25 markets and a vast library of more than 700,000 titles and 30+ languages on a global scale.
“I have been impressed by Audiobooks.com’s success, expertise and experience in the U.S. market, as well as across the UK and Australia. Audiobooks.com is a growing profitable business with a consumer and partnership friendly approach that offers Storytel a new platform for growth. I am now looking forward to working with our teams, publishers and partners to make audiobook listening as popular on the English speaking markets as it has become in recent years in the Nordics.”, says Jonas Tellander, CEO and founder of Storytel.
“I am proud of the success that the Audiobooks.com team has achieved, positioning the company as one of the leading U.S. services for audiobooks. With Storytel, we join a group with an aligned vision and values that offer a solid base and global scale to address a market of hundreds of millions English-speaking consumers,” says Ian Small, General Manager at Audiobooks.com, who will remain in his position following the acquisition. “With the combined industry expertise of Storytel and Audiobooks.com, we will continue to fuel the passion and interest of the English-speaking audiences and take our service to the next level.”
I have a strange feeling that the audiobook industry is going into a period consolidating. Everyone is getting bought out and making big moves. Yesterday, it was announced that Spotify purchased Findaway, which is the largest audiobook wholesaler, and they distribute their content to everyone, including Apple, Google and Scribd.
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.