Publishing-Industry

9 Best Audiobook Services for Indie Publishing

9 best audiobook services for indie publishing

Audiobook is the fastest-growing online segment in publishing. With one in five people in the U.S. listening to audio, why wouldn’t you tap into this space? Especially when running your own gig, distribute in different book formats to reach a wider audience and make more sales.

Plus, the soaring demand for audiobooks and other formats is unprecedented. By the end of 2020, indies boosted book sales by 85% on self-publishing platform PublishDrive. The most successful authors and publishers sell not just prints and ebooks, but audiobooks as well.

With your completed manuscript, it’s rather simple to prepare an audiobook for publishing. When you have your audio and related files handy, it’s important to distribute them in the most promising stores. With so many channels out there, from subscription to library platforms, things can feel overwhelming.

To help, we put together a list of the best audiobook services to consider.

We go over:

  • Audible
  • Kobo
  • OverDrive
  • Gardners
  • Audiobooks.com
  • Scribd
  • Google Play
  • Findaway Voices
  • PublishDrive
  • Marketing tips (bonus) 

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What Are the Best Audiobook Services?

Audible

Amazon’s Audible is the largest audiobook store, providing over 200,000 audio content to listeners all over the world. Listeners can enroll in the 30-day free trial. After subscribing, they enjoy one free audiobook per month and 70% off every additional title.

To sell on Audible, you must go through Amazon KDP’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). The platform can produce and distribute your title to Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

To get your audiobook produced by ACX, you pay an agreed-upon rate for each finished hour of your title. Read more on audio production with ACX here. You can also find your own narrator and publish for free under the royalty share model. But you’ll have to split royalties for the length of your distribution.

Royalties you earn:

40% if exclusive with ACX

 

👌

25% if non-exclusive

 

🎧

20% with the royalty share option

 

If you sell exclusively with ACX, know there’s a seven-year contract. You’ll also miss out on other global channels, niche markets, and more. If you sell non-exclusively (aka publish wide), you get lower royalty rates but full control of where and how you want to sell.

Kobo

Kobo audiobook distribution lands you in Kobo.com, Walmart, Indigo (Canada’s #1 bookstore), and Bol (an e-commerce shop in the U.K.) Walmart is one of the largest chain stores with around 275 million customers visiting its website a week. You definitely want to sell your book in Walmart.

The cool thing about Kobo is you’re not required to be exclusive to its network. There are no fees to publish with Kobo either.

Royalties you earn:

45% if a-la-carte buys are greater than $2.99

 

👌

35% with subscription buys

 

🎧

32% with original works priced below these thresholds

 

Another reason you want to distribute to Kobo is because of how fast the service is growing. Kobo’s sales hiked by 60% in 2020, landing in PublishDrive’s top 10 stores with the most growth (out of thousands of stores):

PublishDrive stores and countries growth in 2020

As an indie, you want to publish your best by keeping up with the latest trends. That means being aware of the bestselling stores (like Kobo), countries, book genres, and beyond.

We’ve Compiled Global Book Market Trends Every Month in 2020

Just enter your details to grab our free insights.

OverDrive

OverDrive distributes to over 30,000 libraries worldwide, including New York Public Library, London Libraries Consortium, and more. 

Along with Kobo, OverDrive was among the top 10 channels with the most growth where indies saw sales increase by 215%. As a service that distributes to libraries, we see why. In 2020, digital libraries exploded in growth as more people sought online entertainment like audiobooks. Don’t miss out on library distribution!

Royalties you earn:

Royalty payouts depend on each of OverDrive’s library partners

 

👌

45% with distributors like PublishDrive

 

Gardners

Gardners is another bumpin’ channel where indies hit 58% more sales in 2020. The leading international wholesaler distributes not only digital books, but music, film, and more. The hub consists of nine stores focused primarily on the U.K., Sweden, Poland, and Denmark regions. 

Royalties you earn:

Royalty payouts depend on each of Gardner’s store partners

 

👌

60% with distributors like PublishDrive

 

Audiobooks.com

Among top audiobook subscription services in the U.S., Audiobooks.com is right behind Audible. Along with an extensive library, listeners have access to a podcast section that features over 70,000 podcasts. Subscribers get a free title to start off with and one free title curated from the VIP section every month.

To distribute to Audiobooks.com, you’d have to contact them directly (and discuss royalty rates).

Scribd

With over 1 million active users, Scribd is a leading subscription book service. After 30 days of free access, subscribers get unlimited access to digital content for $8.99 a month. The platform offers an additional rotating library of free audio content of around 5,000 titles.

And Scribd achieved 10-20% more revenue every month since the outbreak of the pandemic. The demand for digital content has gone up and is staying up as book lovers continue to prioritize online modes like monthly subscription services.

Currently, it’s not possible to distribute directly to Scribd. Instead, you’d have to go through a 3rd party audiobook distributor like PublishDrive.

Royalties you earn:

Royalty payouts depend on each of Scribd’s publishing partners

 

👌

80% royalties with distributors like PublishDrive

 

🎧

Reads are handled as purchases, meaning you get paid as if you sold the title in a retail store

 

Google Play

Google Play is a gigantic digital store, reaching over 40 countries. All Androids come pre-installed with the Google Play app. That’s a reach of over 2.5 billion potential listeners. As the world’s #1 public domain and search engine, set up your title on Google to rank higher in search results. 

Royalties you earn:

Royalty payouts depend on each of Google Play’s publishing partners

 

👌

50% royalties with distributors like PublishDrive

 

Like Scribd, it’s not possible to publish an audiobook directly to Google Play. Instead, you’d have to use an aggregator or distributor like PublishDrive. But don’t let that deter you. When you publish on Google through PublishDrive, it takes only a handful of steps to go live:

Findaway Voices

With Findaway Voices, sell your title in over 30 stores reaching more than 170 countries. Its impressive network includes libraries like OverDrive, subscription services like Scribd, major players like Google, retailers like Barnes & Noble, and even music providers like Deezer.

Findaway Voices champions an open market. You choose where to sell and how much to price your title (with the exception of Audible). 

Royalties you earn:

80% of the 25% royalties from Audible/Amazon/iTunes non-exclusive rate

 

👌

80% of the 40-50% royalties from non-Audible retailers

 

Like Audible, Findaway Voices has a royalty share or pay per finished hour option. You either take care of your audio files separately or get matched with a narrator. Learn more about audio production with Findaway Voices.

PublishDrive

PublishDrive is a self-publishing platform that reaches over 400 stores and 240,000 libraries. With audiobook distribution, you reach all major channels mentioned on this page and a ton more. Check out the entire list of PublishDrive’s audiobook store partners here.

Royalties you earn:

💯
100%, dependent on the store and number of titles you distribute.
Learn more

It’s quite straightforward to publish an audiobook on PublishDrive:

🆓

Sign up (completely free), then select the Distribution plan

 

💻

Upload your cover design and audio files

 

💰

Switch on the stores you want to sell in

 

📚

Submit for a quick review process by industry experts

 

Other perks you may enjoy include smart tools that help with metadata optimization, automatic sales reporting, and exclusive promotions with numerous stores.

Marketing Tips to Boost Audiobook Sales

Speaking of promotions, there’s more work to do after your audiobook goes live. It takes a solid marketing plan to sell your book. We helped indies make 10x more book sales with online promotions on retail stores like Amazon. Are you using these book marketing tactics below?

promote your audiobook with marketing strategies

Maintain author branding: You want an online presence where book lovers can find and follow you. Create a website for free on WordPress. Set up author pages on Amazon, Google, and Goodreads. Run at least a couple of author social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter. Regularly share news about your book or personal life to build and keep relationships.

Collect audiobook reviews: Make this your #1 priority. In today’s e-commerce landscape, people buy after vetting the product via strong reviews. Google around and put together a list of audiobook bloggers in your genre. Ask other authors you know to swap reviews. Post in online forums. 

Feature in stores and newsletters: There are lots of free and paid promotions out there. See where you can advertise your book for free here. Make sure to ask the stores you decide to sell in about featuring opportunities. With PublishDrive, we regularly get indies to feature with channels Kobo, Scribd, and so many more.

For recent tips, check out our recorded webinar on YouTube where experts expanded on the most effective publishing tactics.

Choose the Best Audiobook Service: PublishDrive

We helped over 18,000 authors publish (and boost sales by 85%) in 2020. PublishDrive is the only self-publishing platform you need to sell and promote audio, print, and ebook formats globally – in thousands of stores. Our pricing model is the most affordable too.

By syncing your title(s) and stores on one dashboard, you can save an average of 23+ hours per title per month. Ready to streamline your indie gig and spike those royalties?

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