By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Draga: ‘Friendly to Both Customers and Publishers’Our international book-industry readership for Publishing Perspectives is very familiar with Norway’s Beat Technology. Based in Bergen, the company creates audiobook platforms for European publishers and at least one African venture. In some cases, a system is supplied to a single publisher, and in other cases it’s designed for a consortium of companies working together to address the consumers of a single market or region.
Some of the news from last week’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair was that Poland’s Sonia Draga Publishing Group, based in Katowice, is expecting to launch a new audiobook platform of its own with Beat Technology.
The publishing house is best known for its eponymous publisher, Sonia Draga, who in Bologna was appearing both as the chief of her company and as the first woman vice-president of the Federation of European Publishers. She’s also president of the Polish Chamber of Books.
The name of the new platform is said to be Volume, and Draga expects that its operation will be of interest to sister publishers in Poland, those looking for a new outlet for their own audio content.
Details are a bit scant at this pre-opening point–the service is to open “soon”–but the offer to consumers is expected to use a combination of subscription formats, a-la-carte offers, and coupons to attract customers. Perhaps the closest rival to the forthcoming service is Legimi, Mikołaj Małaczyński‘s Poznań-based ebook and audiobook subscription service opened in 2009.
“As Polish people are more and more often turning to audio versions, and willing to use services [provided in] subscription models, I believe there’s a place in Poland for an application that’s friendly to both customers and those publishers who choose to sell their files through it.
“In Beat Technology we have found a partner with vast experience in working with Europe’s major publishing houses, building subscription businesses, and with a world-class user experience for our consumers. Polish customers will soon be able to enjoy the functionality of the application that have been successfully implemented in other European countries.”
Beat Technology and Its Platforms
The bespoke approach developed by Beat is generally thought to work best when a content producer is the source for very popular, recognizable titles that are readily followed by a given market’s or region’s consumer base–locally actionable appeal, in other words rather than the broader nature of such vast platforms as the sites of Amazon and others.
In Poland, the Draga group is a leading purveyor of Western bestsellers in translation as well as a leading publisher of high-profile Polish literature, and has a good chance of attracting the interest of other publishers in the market, as well.
Examples of Beat Technology’s work, as you’ll remember, include its development last year with AkooBooks Audio in Ghana, as well as Norway’s Fabel; the Netherlands’ service Fluister (Dutch for Whisper); the AudioTribe platform in Romania (earlier called “Echo”); a partnership with Germany’s Skoobe.de; JukeBooks in Greece; and a trio of publishers in Denmark–Gyldendal, Gads Forlag, and Modtryk. That group appears to have sold its service, originally called Chapter, to a company called Saxo.
Beat continues to report that its installations’ users now total some 300,000 paying subscribers.
Nathan Hull, Beat’s chief strategy officer who serves as the key front man for Beat’s offer, was with Draga in Bologna Book Plus’ audio program.
He says in a comment provided to us, “Launching with a Polish partner has been a long-standing ambition. And to find such a partner in Sonia Draga is just fantastic.
“As a business they’re a brave and respected publisher with an incredible list. As a person, Sonia is revered internationally and renowned for astute decision-making and courageous moves, two qualities we always welcome.
“The launch of Volume will offer Polish publishers and readers a new route, and one curated by teams closest to authors and most knowledgeable about readers.”
More from Publishing Perspectives on audio and audiobooks in publishing is here, and more on digital publishing is here, and more on Beat Technology is here. More on the work of Sonia Draga is here, and more on the Polish market is here. More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more on Bologna Book Plus is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here.
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