Platform Updates: Draft2Digital Challenges ACX; Hungary’s PublishDrive Accelerates at Google

In News by Porter Anderson

US platform Draft2Digital partners with Findaway Voices. Budapest heads for Silicon Valley as PublishDrive starts its Google Developers Launchpad accelerator program.


Image – iStockphoto: Scyther

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Draft2Digital-Findaway Launch is July 18

Making a run at Amazon’s Audible ACX US dominance in audiobook creation and sales for authors, the Oklahoma City-based book publishing platform Draft2Digital has announced that on July 18, its new partnership with Findaway Voices will go live.

Findaway is a B2B audiobook platform based in Solon, Ohio. Findaway Voices is to Findaway what ACX is to Audible: a platform that allows authors and publishers to create and sell content in audiobook format.

Providing potential access to listeners in what Draft2Digital representatives say is more than 170 countries, the partnership program is expected to include Audible among its retail, library, and K-12 channels. I

Publishing Perspectives has spoken with Draft2Digital’s marketing director Kevin Tumlinson, who says that one of the goals of the partnership has to do with sales of audiobooks, an attempt to “break the credit model that Audible uses.

A typical subscription to Audible at US$14.95 per month provides one credit, which the reader can spend on any book, regardless of its price.

Kevin Tumlinson

Tumlinson says that the credit subscription model is bad for both readers and authors. “Readers tend to listen to only one or two books per month under the credit model, because that’s all the credits they have,” Tumlinson says. “And they download only the longest books they can find, because they don’t want to ‘waste’ the credits on something short.

“This impacts the authors, who can only sell long-format work, or they must bundle their shorter works into one volume,” he says, “typically reducing the profit they could have made.

“Giving authors full control of their pricing creates an opportunity for authors to sell shorter pieces, particularly serialized works, and opens more income options. Readers benefit, because they can take a risk on a new, ‘untried’ author without using up a credit, and at a much lower price point.”

Another difference authors who produce audiobooks in the partnership will notice is that there’s no option to pay less to the narrator who voices the audiobook by opting for a royalty split.

Draft2Digital and Findaway will pay 80 percent of the royalty rate received by Findaway. (Findaway Voices itself is paid differing rates in various sales scenarios, running from 25 percent of list price at Audible, to 30-to-40 percent of list price in subscription settings, and 40-to-50 percent of list price in a la carte sales.) Audible’s program offers 40-percent royalties to author-publishers who opt to sell with the platform exclusively, and 25 percent for its non-exclusive arrangement. The Draft2Digital-Findaway partnership will have no exclusivity components.

Tumlinson describes this as an “everybody wins scenario that Draft2Digital likes to bring to authors,” he says, “and we’ve seen that Findaway has the same attitude.”

As we reported last month, the US Audiobook Publishers Association has reported a third year of strong audiobook sales growth.

PublishDrive Works With Google, Starting July 17

The Budapest-based ebook platform PublishDrive has announced its participation in the Google Developers Launchpad, a six-month accelerator program, a class of which opens July 17 with a two-week mentoring and training program in California.

Not only does the program provide all expenses for the two-week stint at Google, but it also provides $50,000 in equity-free funding and $100,000 in Google Cloud credits to the startups it chooses for the program.

PublishDrive’s co-founding CEO Kinga Jentetics, who now is based in New York, was a speaker in Frankfurt Book Fair’s English-language program for self-publishing authors in 2015.

The platform on Tuesday (July 4) announced that it had executed on several new features for users including:

  • Royalty rates of 70 percent on Amazon in a “summer sale” promotion for new users who register by July 31;
  • Multi-currency pricing for international sales; and
  • For publishers, and upgraded edition of the platform’s Bulk Import.

In the audiobook arena, PublishDrive has begun offering what it calls an “earn-as-you-sell” payment option for publishers and authors, providing royalties for audiobooks sold without waiting for the company in Hungary to collect payment from the retailers first.

More about PublishDrive is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.