Audible has officially cancelled its Author Services program that gave audiobook authors an extra $1.00 for every edition sold on Audible.com, Audible.co.uk, and iTunes. The program launched in April 2012 and was originally developed to draw attention to audiobooks in general. Starting June 30th, this program will be cancelled and the company will no longer give the extra revenue to authors.
Audible is the largest audiobooks website in the world and is owned by Amazon. When it initially launched the Author Services program, the mandate was to “Foster direct relationships with more authors. Audible has had great success working directly with authors, and these partnerships have led to audience expansion and greater consumption of audiobooks. Audible knew authors work very hard to promote their books; and they wanted to encourage authors to promote their audio versions at the same time. They want all authors in the Audible store to benefit from working with them.”
In an email today to authors, Audible said, “On June 30, we will be ending the $1 honoraria program. You will receive your final quarterly $1 honoraria report and check for April 1 – June 30 2013 in late August. From the outset, the $1 honoraria was only slated to be a one-year program to make you more aware of your audiobooks and their place in your growing book portfolio, alongside print books and ebooks. We are particularly grateful for your participation and feedback over the life of the program. Thanks to your insights, we’ve been able to launch new programs and features to better support all authors, including a sales dashboard for authors who make their titles available through ACX.com and distribution of free author copies of your audiobooks as they are released.”
The big question is, how much money did Audible give out in this program and who capitalized more on it, indie authors or major publishing companies? Audiobooks in general are still very fringe and most authors don’t even consider an audio edition of their book, given that the playing field is very small.