Audible, Inc. has launched ACX (ACX.com), an online audiobook rights marketplace, production platform and online sales system. Officially known as the Audiobook Creation Exchange, ACX is aimed at increasing the number of audiobooks in the market by matching authors and other book rights holders with actors, studios, and publishers. Audible has had accelerating gains in unit sales and members, explained founder and CEO Donald Katz, “but the fly in the ointment is that we can’t get enough audiobooks.”
ACX looks to solve that problem by a three-prong acquisition approach. In the most traditional method, an independent audiobook producer can bid on the rights listed on the ACX site and put the project together on its own, including creating physical audiobooks as well as digital audiobooks and selling them wherever they want. The other approach involves the creative talent, most likely the narrator, buying the rights and creating the audiobook on their own. The third method is for the talent and the rights holders to work together to develop the audiobook. In any case, Katz noted, Audible is only serving as a distributor with the rights remaining with the owners.
For audiobooks sold exclusively on the Audible, Amazon, iTunes distribution system, the audiobook owners will receive a 50% royalty that will begin to increase after 500 units are sold, topping out at 90%. In addition, publishers, authors and narrators can earn special bonus royalties for sales they help generate. Katz said one factor in creating ACX was “to help empower creative people to be more proactive” in developing audiobooks, noting that more and more actors have become interested in serving as narrators for audiobooks.
ACX is launching with over 1,000 titles and participating publishers include Random House, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley and Sons, Inc., and Pearson Education, while agent participants include Janklow & Nesbit Associates, Writers House, and Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, Inc. ACX is seeking more titles from professional authors and book publishers.