A collection of the best audiobook publishers around
One of the most surprising growth areas in publishing has been in audiobooks. Indeed, for the last ten years audiobooks have been one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry. Originally brought to market as a medium for the partially sighted, audiobooks now have a much wider consumer base among the younger, technology-aware consumer.
This has no doubt been driven by wide availability of platforms such as the iPod, but they’ve also proved popular for consumers who want to listen whilst travelling, exercising, or even doing the ironing.
Here are eleven of the most exciting audiobook publishers of the moment.
Currently a relatively small outfit and only founded as recently as 2012, Podium has great potential to be a really big player in the audiobook world. They’ve already published over 200 audiobooks, and received excellent reviews and a string of awards, whilst being barely off the ground. Their quick success stems from long experience of their founders in both audio and publishing, coupled with an ability to marry the two together with considerable success.
First publishing inspirational self-help titles in 1999, Oasis has since developed their repertoire to include fiction, non-fiction, children’s, business and religious titles. Today they publish more Christian audio titles than any other US publisher, and have gained a strong reputation in the audio world.
This market-leading US audiobook specialist started transferring books from print to tape back in 1984. Nowadays, they’re more oriented towards CD, MP3, and multiple formats, but their recording facility remains busy with volume work for a number of print publishers. Their active publishing list now counts over 6,500 titles, covering all the most common genres.
This London-based publisher moved into audiobooks twenty years ago in 1996, and has subsequently won numerous awards for their imaginative and immersive literary experiences. They regard audiobooks as a medium in their own right rather than simply a substitute for the printed word used by the visually impaired, though that too is important to them.
First founded in 2005, this publisher has established a large collection of complete, unabridged, audiobooks. Their titles are for both adults and children, and include historical fiction and contemporary crime thrillers. Based in Bath, their products can be ordered from a library or downloaded, and come with a free lifetime replacement policy.
With its tagline of ‘a movie in your mind,’ this audiobook publishing imprint specialises in action adventure, science fiction, and fantasy titles. It’s been based in Maryland since being set up in 2004, and has its own onsite manufacturing facility.
This publisher introduced the first production digital audio player back in 1998. It only supported playback of Audible’s own material, but started a trend way before the iPod came along. Sold to Amazon ten years later, Audible is now the world’s largest producer of downloadable audiobooks.
The audio imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, one of the big five, provides an output of audiobooks from that source. However, there is also a second audio publishing imprint in the HarperCollins stable, Caedmon Audio.
Initially Caedmon Records, it changed its name when the label switched to CD-only production. It’s a true pioneer of audiobooks, responsible for selling the first spoken word recording to the public back in 1952. Starting with works of Dylan Thomas, it went on to publish a range of other classics. After previous buyouts, Caedmon ended up in the Harper & Row stable in 1987.
Among the largest independent audiobook publishers, Blackstone has over 10,000 titles in its portfolio. It has its own recording studio and distributes books published by the big five, among others. Founded in 1987, Blackstone was acquired by AudioGO, but returned to its founders, the Black family, just ten months later.
Books on Tape
Owned by another of the big five, Random House, this imprint specialises in complete, unabridged audiobook recordings for schools and libraries. Founded in 1975 by Olympic rower Duvall Hecht, it was one of the pioneering companies in supplying unabridged audiobooks to consumers in cassette form. It became part of Random House in 2001.
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