We have heard about a number of authors, comic book companies and publishers do digital first productions. Often, they will release the electronic format, such as eBook first. If you are a comic fan, DC and others do exclusive digital only editions. The digital first mentality is now switching from the written form, into the auditory.
Recently, Audible.com brokered a deal with the W F Howes signed author David Hewson, to publish his latest book, Flood, well ahead of its print or eBook release. This is part of a growing movement to put the emphasis on the audio format. Tim Ferriss, author of self-help bestsellers The 4 Hour Workweek and The 4 Hour Body also sees the value. His new venture, Tim Ferriss Publishing, Tim is looking to acquire the audio rights to existing books, produce new audio versions.
Audio Book first is not a term that is bantered around the industry right now, but its a term that will become more prevalent within the next two years. Indie authors will begin taking advantage of self-publishing options offered by ACX, which is owned by Audible. The Fogland Project is also trying to present prose that works firstly as audio form, bypassing print.
Amazon has almost half a million self-published eBooks available in their ecosystem, but only 100,000 audio books via Audible. This makes the audio book market significantly easier to break into for indie authors. So how do indie authors train themselves to narrate the book themselves, instead of relying on a 3rd party? Podcasts are quickly turning into a popular avenue to cut your teeth on serializing a novel. There are some huge communities out there that advise each other on the proper hardware setup and offer basic elements such as mixing board, soundcard or microphone.
The entire audio book industry is currently worth around 1.6 billion dollars and that figure should climb further. The main reason? Audio book producers have been increasing their output. 19,312 titles came out in 2013, 13,255 titles came out in 2012, up from 4,602 in 2009.
The most dominant content distribution platform for audio books currently is Amazon owned Audible. This company has the highest market penetration and has seen a 33% increase in sales in 2012. They have created over 26,000 audio books and adding close to 1,000 titles a month. Most of their success derives from their new technologies that allow readers a myriad of options.