JANE AUSTEN'S CURTAINS

This article was originally published in the London Book Fair Show Daily, 12 April 2016. 

One of the pleasures of being an audiobook producer is being part of not one but two creative worlds full of intelligent, articulate people with stories to tell or information to impart: authors, and readers (perhaps it is clearer in this article to call them ‘performers’ to avoid confusion with the consumers of printed books). 

Read more: Jane Austen's Curtains

AUDIOBOOKS AND THE PRICE OF FISH

This article was originally published in the London Book Fair Show Daily, 16 April 2015.

"We deal with a highly differentiated product. There are hundreds of varieties, and within each variety, there are large ones, small ones, ones just in, and ones that have been around longer than they ought. And consumers wish to examine them before purchase." We might well be talking about books, but actually this is an extract from an academic paper about the New York wholesale fish market–slightly paraphrased to avoid obviously piscine terminology. Fish markets are of interest to economists because they demonstrate some counter-intuitive behaviour: there is sustained price differentiation (different prices offered to different customers for the same thing) and very low elasticity of demand (perfect elasticity would be an exact inverse relationship between price and number of sales; fish merchants do not experience such a direct relationship).

Read more: Audiobooks And The Price Of Fish

AUDIOBOOKS: CRAFT OR COMMODITY?

This article was first published in the Publishers Weekly/BookBrunch Frankfurt Show Daily, 11 October 2013. The original text is below, with footnotes indicating where more recent data has been established. 

The audiobook industry has seen major changes over the 20 years I have been a producer. Do they threaten the industry, or open up opportunities for publishers and producers? Are they beneficial for listeners?

In the early 1990s audiobooks were often thought to be synonymous with books for the blind; now they are a significant part of the general trade publishing market. UK internet research group Audiencenet reported for Q2 2013 that 4% of the general UK population over the age of 15 have listened to audiobooks, a customer base of at least 2 million. The Publishers Association reports sales up 27% year-on-year, with 48% of audio consumed on mobile devices.1 The Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) keeps records of the number of titles in the top 1,000 books that make it into accessible form: in 2012 nearly half (49%) were available in unabridged audio form, up from 13% in 2010.

Read more: Audiobooks: Craft Or Commodity?

2016 SO FAR

In the first quarter of 2016, we were kept busy by projects where we were asked by clients to convert old audiobook titles from master copies contained on physical media (CDs, DVDs, DATs and cassettes) to the necessary download specification for retail on the Audible store. It is a process which appears simple on the surface, but requires a surprising amount of work and time to accomplish, especially to a good standard.

Read more: 2016 So Far

REPRODUCING THE INNER VOICE

This article was first published as 'Talking to Yourself' in the Publisher's Weekly/BookBrunch Frankfurt Show Daily, 15 October 2015

“Would you like to see what goes into the making of an audio book?” I once asked an editor who had come along to chaperone a high-profile author visiting our studio when his book was being recorded. “No. I’d better get back to the office. After all, it’s only someone reading a book out loud.”

Well, yes... in the sense that Simon Russell Beale only has to say the right words in the right order to play his acclaimed Macbeth or Lear. What about interpretation, characterisation, consistency, engagement, involvement, vitality, sincerity, clarity, conviction, subtlety, enthusiasm...?

Read more: Reproducing The Inner Voice

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