Chronicle Audio: A New Hachette Partnership Focuses on Nonfiction

In News by Porter Anderson

With sales of nonfiction audiobooks reported by the Audio Publishers Association to be growing in the US, Chronicle Audio launches in partnership with Hachette.

Mark Tauber. Image: Chronicle Books

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

‘Building on Our Existing Partnership’
In the ongoing churn of news around audio in publishing, US-based Chronicle Books today (May 6) has announced a new partnership with Hachette Audio “to produce, sell, and distribute digital audiobook editions of select adult nonfiction titles.”

In a prepared statement, Mark Tauber, managing director of Chronicle Prism, an imprint of Chronicle Books, is quoted, saying, “As we begin to publish the audio versions of these books that our team works so hard to shape, edit, make, and market, we’re very pleased to be extending and building on our existing partnership with Hachette, which has successfully distributed our physical books for many years.”

Speaking for Hachette Audio, Anthony Goff, senior vice-president and publisher, says, “I’ve long admired Chronicle Books, and it’s clear there’s a market for their adult nonfiction titles in the audio format.

“Our passion for publishing and selling top-notch productions and Chronicle’s savvy editorial acquisitions make an unbeatable team.

“We’re so proud of this partnership and to be able to share these titles with audiobook fans everywhere.”

Chronicle Audio, as the new division is called, is expected to release its first four titles this spring:

  • Feck Perfuction by James Victore
  • The Secret Art of Being a Parent by Bridget Watson Payne
  • Open Water by Mikael Rosén
  • The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht

After that, the program is set to release between 10 and 15 titles per season, simultaneous with print releases.

The new venture, according to media messaging, is the first time audiobooks will appear as part of the Chronicle Books brand. It also creates a new chapter in an existing partnership between Chronicle Books and Hachette Book Group, the latter having been Chronicle’s US distributor since 2008. Hachette also provides international sales services to select territories.

US Audiobook Sales Continue Growth

Chronicle Books was founded in 1967. Part of its success is an aggressive community-building program that includes clever blogging. For last month’s Indie Bookstore Day, for example, the company released a blog post from Piven and Borgenicht, authors of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook on the subject of “How To Survive Indie Bookstore Day.” The piece included such advice as “Use reflective objects to signal for help” and “Consider bringing a buddy in case things get overwhelming.”

Publishing Perspectives readers will recall at least two points in the past year when Chronicle Books, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, has announced interesting partnerships.

One was its liaison with Trustbridge Global Media to translate, publish and distribute up to 20 children’s titles into Chinese within a year. That one was announced last August.

The other was an enviable partnership announced in December with LEGO Publishing to include not only books but also puzzles, postcards, journals, erasers, and more merchandise, plus a title called The Art of the LEGO Minifigure. That one has a particularly international range, with targeted markets in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, China, Japan and Korea.

As we reported in the release last June of the Audio Publishers Association‘s (APA) latest annual report on the US audio market–with its sixth year of double-digit growth in sales for the sector–nonfiction in 2017 saw a slight rise of 2 percent in popularity over fiction.

And in its latest release of information from a new Edison Research and Triton Digital study, the APA is seeing 50 percent of respondents for the first time saying they’ve tried an audiobook.

More from Publishing Perspectives on audiobooks is here, and more on the Audio Publishers Association 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.