Sweden’s Bonnier BookBeat Adds Nearly 40,000 Audiobooks With RBMedia

In News by Porter Anderson

BookBeat and RBMedia see English-language audiobooks as a leading edge in international audio markets and brand expansion.

Listeners among users of an outdoor co-working site in Tbilisi, June 1. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Dima Berlin

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

An ‘Ambition for Expansion’
Stockholm’s BookBeat streaming service for ebooks and audiobooks has announced in media messaging today (July 11) that it’s expanding its audiobook catalogue with nearly 40,000 English-language audiobooks, the result of a distribution deal with RBMedia.

RBMedia is based in the States, in Landover, Maryland. The “RB” in its name is said to come from the original company, Recorded Books, created in 1978. Some of our readers might recall that Recorded books in 2014 acquired HighBridge Audio from Workman Publishing.

Further acquisitions and divestments have led to the modern company. One of its sales includes its library assets to OverDrive in 2020. Another high-visibility sale was of RBMedia’s Audiobooks.com, which was bought in 2021 by Storytel. Probably its most recent acquisition was that of Upfront Books, as reported on Wednesday (July 6) by Michael Cader at Publishers Lunch.

Various acquisitions now are imprints of RBMedia, and BookBeat says the almost-40,000 new titles it will offer are from imprints including the one still named Recorded Books. Others are called WF Howes, Authors Republic, and Highbridge.

Niclas Sandin

In a prepared statement, BookBeat CEO Niclas Sandin, a familiar player in audiobooks to Publishing Perspectives, is quoted, saying, “Not only are English titles demanded by our English-speaking users, but also by many of our users in our core markets.

“RBMedia will be an important publisher for us going forward.

“With great authors such as Julia Quinn, Lucinda Riley, Danielle Steel, Diana Gabaldon, and Pierce Brown, we know many of our users will be very happy about this new addition.”

As the announcement puts it, RBMedia has had success with its English-language audio content in international regions that are not primarily English-speaking.

“Adding BookBeat as a new distributor of our English-language audiobooks,” says RBMedia’s managing director Miles Stevens-Hoare, “will enable RBMedia to expand our reach in those markets. We look forward to continuing to grow our base of global listeners for our titles with BookBeat.”

BookBeat reports expanding, too, this year so far into Norway, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The company reports that its “ambition for expansion in upcoming years is extensive.” Much of this anticipated growth may be in English, apparently. The company says it expects to work with more international publishers to expand its English-language offerings.

BookBeat, with offices not only in Stockholm but also in Karlstad, Helsinki, Berlin, and Warsaw, says that it has services now available in 28 European markets and “close to 600,000 monthly paying users in the service.” Most of those users, it reports, are in Sweden, Finland, and Germany.

More from Publishing Perspectives on audiobooks is here, more on the Swedish market is here, and more on digital publishing is here.

More from us on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on publishing and the book business 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.com, 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.