Audiobooks Are the New E-Books

The New York Times recently reported that audiobooks are the new e-books.

In a look back at 2015, they said “audiobooks joined podcasts as one of the breakout creative mediums of the year.” Sales of downloaded books increased by 38 percent in the first eight months of 2015, according to the Association of American Publishers. Meanwhile, e-book sales declined by 11 percent in the during the same period, leading to speculation that some consumers are switching from digital reading to digital listening.

The New York Times points out, “The growing use of smartphones means that practically everyone has an audiobook player on hand at all times. There are more titles than ever to choose from (25,787 audiobooks were released in 2014). And the medium is attracting prominent actors and celebrities.”

Tom Tivnan of the publishing industry bible The Bookseller also believes the rise is largely due to technology. “Streaming and speed of downloads helps, but simply that most people have a smartphone is probably the main factor,” he says. And developments in digital recording and distribution have made audiobooks more affordable. The Wall Street Journal notes that Stephen King’s lengthy The Stand cost $100 in 1978. Today it can be downloaded for $33.

I’ve been a fan of audiobooks for years.  As a book publicist my work is often sedentary, so when reading for pleasure I love the mobility afforded by audio downloads. And because I specialize in media relations for nonfiction titles, I gravitate toward fiction on my own time. It’s incredibly relaxing to have someone read me a story while I’m doing chores, running errands, or working out.

Bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham summed it up when he said, “I think people will always enjoy having a story told to them. It’s not something that happens often after childhood and it’s a rare and special treat.”

My book publicity clients often ask if I think it’s essential for them to produce an ebook version of their titles. Now a more important question is, when will your audiobook be ready?

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our book publicity services can help promote your audiobook–or ebook. 😉

 

Amazon wins self-publishing market

Self-publishing is a booming multibillion-dollar market. In 2015, author-published books accounted for 18% of the entire book market in the U.S., and Amazon published 85% of them.

So I wasn’t surprised when Quartz reported, “Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, is chopping off its self-publishing arm. The company said Jan. 5 that it has sold Author Solutions—the self-publishing author-tools platform that it bought in 2012—to an unnamed affiliate of US private equity firm Najafi Companies for an undisclosed sum.”

From The Financial Times: “Self-publishing has been growing rapidly, with more authors designing and selling their books without the backing of a traditional publishing house. Author Solutions has sought to capitalise by offering a variety of services to independent authors, including ‘web-optimised’ press releases for $1,299 each.”

In other words, they were accused of trying to make money off of their authors rather than for their authors, and the company was subject to frequent complaints as well as a couple of lawsuits.

Whether due to tanking market share or negative publicity, Quartz notes “Penguin Random House’s exit from self-publishing is also an admission of defeat: The giant self-publishing market essentially now falls largely to Amazon.”

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation to discuss how our media relations services can help with your self-published book’s publicity needs.

PW Loves Slick Water

Among the most coveted reviews in book publicity are those from Publishers Weekly.  As book publicists for Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry by Andrew Nikiforuk (published by Greystone Books in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation), we’re thrilled with the recent recognition our title received from PW.

“This book will infuriate its readers. In a dynamite example of investigative journalism, muckraker Nikiforuk (The Energy of Slaves) chronicles the environmental devastation wrought by the hydraulic fracking industry in Alberta and beyond. Nikiforuk frames his narrative through the struggles of oil industry consultant Jessica Ernst, the “insider” of the book’s subtitle who launched a $33-million-dollar (CAN$), multi-year lawsuit against Encana Energy and the Alberta government. Ernst’s battle against the oil and gas industry is both personal and political: Encana illegally fracked into aquifers near her home in Alberta’s badlands, causing methane gas to seep into drinking water, turning it into a flammable toxin, which Nikiforuk charges is not unusual behaviour for companies that frack (forcefully inject brine water into shales to release gas) across North America. In 14 gripping chapters, Nikiforuk follows Ernst’s multi-pronged assault on Big Energy, from hiring brass-knuckled lawyers, to exhaustively cataloguing the gas industry’s illegal shenanigans, to performing chemical tests on “slick water,” fracking’s toxic by-product. Nikiforuk peppers his rich narrative with a wealth of historical context about corruption in the industry he examines, making this book essential reading for every human whose soul is not clouded by methane or coated in oil.” –Publishers Weekly, November 2015

Publishers Weekly is a leading book industry trade publication and calls itself “The International News Source of Book Publishing and Bookselling.”

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our publicity and media relations services can help promote your book or business.

The Women of San Quentin

I was honored to conduct a book publicity campaign for internationally acclaimed journalist and photographer Kristin Schreier Lyseggen, and her new title The Women of San Quentin: Soul Murder of Transgender Women in Male Prisons, which exposes the horrendous, inhumane treatment of women incarcerated in male U.S. prisons.

We were thrilled with the well-deserved accolades she received from Lambda Literary. Here’s an excerpt:

“America, it seems, is just beginning to wake up to the atrocities committed against transgender women held in men’s prisons. Whereas a decade ago, stories of women being repeatedly raped, assaulted by both staff and inmates, held excessively in solitary confinement, and denied even the barest human dignities allowed to male inmates, would not conceivably make headlines; this year alone saw a leap in coverage, culminating in the New York Times’ following the case of Georgia trans woman Ashley Diamond, who opened up about being held in “sexual slavery” in several men’s prisons and denied her hormone treatment against Georgia state policy…

“…Demanding multiple readings to uncover its many layers, The Women of San Quentin emerges as one of those rare gems: a compassionate, uncompromising examination of violence that emerges from the voices of survivors themselves, and can therefore be poised to inform meaningful change if we take notice. The more that such thoroughly researched and well-crafted resources exist, the harder it is for us to plausibly deny that the treatment of trans female prisoners demands our attention and resistance. My hat’s off to Lyseggen, who was willing to use her own resources and privileges–personal time, skills, access to space, and money — to create something that the prisons and the odds seemed to refute at every turn. The world needs more art and active allyship like this. “

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our publicity and media relations services can help promote your book or business.

 

Books Are Back! (including adult coloring books)

The Los Angeles Times recently declared “Books Are Back!”

Last month, Nielsen BookScan reported that 571 million print books were sold in 2015, 17 million more than the year before. And, e-books, once predicted to reach 50% to 60% of total book sales, hovered at just 25%.”

 They said there’s “no single demographic that wants books on paper: Harper Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” appealed to readers of all ages; “The Wright Brothers” by historian David McCullough had an older readership; teens gobbled up print books by YouTube stars; and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School,” Jeff Kinney’s latest novel for middle-schoolers, sold a remarkable 95% of its copies in print.

“The most age-defying driver of print book sales was the spike in demand for adult coloring books. While some are available as e-books or apps, adult coloring fans seem to be using them as an escape from time spent staring at a screen. Bestselling coloring book creator Johanna Basford, whose “Secret Garden” jump-started the most recent craze, will allow her coloring books to exist only in print. Take that, digital.”

Photo credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our publicity and media relations services can help promote your book.