By Erin L. Cox
In this new era of book publishing, it has become easier than ever for authors to write and publish themselves, bringing their work directly to their readers without the help of publishers through their own website or various e-publishing or self-publishing sites. But, for the most part, those works have only been written…until today.
Yesterday, I was one of the literary agents who ventured out to the Newark offices of Audible.com to get a preview of their brand-new DIY audio publishing venture called ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange), which launches today.
A program designed by Audible.com to allow writers, publishers, agents (whoever holds the rights) the opportunity to match their work with an actor, reader, producer of their choosing who will record the book, upload it to the Audible.com site, and Audible will make it available for sale on Audible.com, Amazon, and iTunes (and others depending on the distribution deal you select).
ACX is a fairly simple form and plan that seemed to take mere minutes to fill out and yet would provide audio books and a new revenue stream for authors of all stripes whose books might not have seemed viable for audio publication previously.
Audible has created a way to serve both themselves and their subscribers by exponentially increasing the books that they have to offer, while also helping writers who would never have dreamed of having an audio book or publishers who aren’t able to sell the rights or afford to record these books an opportunity to still reach these listener/readers.
The agents in the room with me were concerned about royalty rates and ownership, but what I was really interested in was how publishers would react to this scheme? I wish that I had snuck into the Q&A session the day before when Audible invited publishers out to their compound. Would publishers see this as a valuable partnership with a company that has grown leaps and bounds in both the content and technology sides of publishing or would they be concerned that they were losing revenue for another aspect of publishing that they used to control?
And as an agent, I’m intrigued as to how my role will change in this venture when a writer can simply upload his work and handle on his or her own without me even being a part of it.
As the program rolls out today and the next few weeks, I’m sure there will be many questions and problems, those thrilled by it and dejected, but, most of all, I hope it just brings more ways for writers to reach their readers. For publishing as a whole, I think it’s a good opportunity.