By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Part of Scribd’s $9.99 SubscriptionToday (March 9), the San Francisco-based subscription service Scribd is announcing a new brand, Scribd Audio.
This is the second of two imprints named by the company since its 2019 introduction of Scribd Originals. The audio productions are available as part of a monthly US$9.99 subscription and are meant to see the company “partner with small and independent publishers to bring books to new audiences.”
Presses that the program is working with include McSweeney’s, Counterpoint Press, Unnamed Press, Akashic, Europa Editions, Other Press, Coffee House Press, Mango Publishing, Rare Bird Books, North Star Editions, and Falstaff Books.
The company’s featured release under the new Scribd Audio branding is an audio treatment of Natasha Marin’s Black Imagination; Black Voices on Black Futures (McSweeney’s, 2020). The new audio interpretation, which is produced by actors and producers Daveed Diggs and Lena Waithe, was released on Friday (March 5).
In the book, Diggs and Waithe narrate material that touches thematically on Black youth, the Black LGBTQ+ community, homeless and incarcerated Black people, and others.
In press materials for today’s announcement, Diggs is quoted, saying, “The struggles and reflections told throughout Black Imagination are relatable and important experiences.
“These powerful stories give life to the voices of our family members, our friends, and our ancestors who have been silenced for far too long. I don’t look at this project as just a reading, but more of a vehicle to help listeners experience the joy, pain, and self-reflection of each person who was brave enough to tell their story.”
And Waithe says, “After connecting with Natasha and hearing her creative vision for Black Imagination, I knew that this was a project that I needed to be involved in.
“Rewriting history is our right, but I believe that it’s important to remind future generations of the struggles the Black community has gone through and continues to go through.”
Among titles Scribd Audio is highlighting with today’s announcement:
- Dressed for a Dance in the Snow: Women’s Voices from the Gulag by Monika Zgustova (Other Press), narrated by Jennifer Jill Araya
- The Bone Rattler by Eliot Pattison (Counterpoint Press), narrated by Mattew Waterston
- Hysteria by Jessica Gross (Unnamed Press), narrated by Kaley Whittemore
- Djinn City by Saad Z Hossain (Unnamed Press), narrated by Fajer Al-Kaisi
- The Fire in His Wake by Spencer Wolf (McSweeney’s), narrated by Elias Khalil
- The Committee by Sterling Watson (Akashic), narrated by Mike Ortego
- On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights by Lawrence Goldstone (Counterpoint Press), narrated by Rhett Samuel Price
- My Favorite Girlfriend was a French Bulldog by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias (McSweeney’s), narrated by Joana Garcia
Speaking to today’s announcement, Scribd’s head of audio, content, and content partnerships Greg Voynow is quoted, referring to the new audio work as “an audio program specifically dedicated to producing unique and impactful audiobooks with our publishing partners.
“Scribd Audio will span a variety of genres and topics,” he says, “including stories that advance underrepresented voices and socially important narratives, and will help publishers and authors to reach new audiences.”
Our latest StatShot report from the Association of American Publishers indicates that in 2020, audiobooks reached the calendar year’s conclusion with a strong 16.5-percent gain in downloaded audio, but were still at 8.3 percent of the market, basically where they’d been before the pandemic’s assault.
And just a reminder here that the Audio Publishers Association announcement of its 2021 winners is on March 22. You can review the finalists here.
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.