Fans of the romance audiobook category now have a new option for unlimited listening. Audible Romance, a digital package from Audible, Inc., launches today offering unlimited access to more than 10,000 romance titles, including bestsellers and Audible Originals.
The service offers access to such top authors in the genre as Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber, plus a roster of narrators that includes popular performers like Blair Underwood and Dermot Mulroney. Audible Romance costs $6.95 a month as an add-on to an Audible membership and $14.95 a month as a standalone service; both available at audible.com/romanceme.
Audible chief content officer Andy Gaies believes a key characteristic of the service is that “it was created for romance fans by romance fans.” He says that Audible editors, many of them “voracious romance fans,” incorporated listener feedback to develop Audible Romance. The result, Gaies says, is “a package that answers those lingering questions: How can I enjoy more romance stories without breaking the bank? How can I find my next great listen? How can I relive my favorite moments within romance stories over and over again?”
According to Cynthia Chu, Audible CFO, “Audible Romance makes binging on romance content possible at an affordable price-point," while also making it easier to find the material they want. Listeners can explore 41 micro-categories and roughly 130 story and character tropes to seek out a broad variety of themes like romantic thrillers or small town romance. And each micro-category has its own browse page that contains audio samples. “Customers can head straight towards exactly what they’re looking for, and then discover new stories within those categories that they never would have otherwise found,” says Chu.
Audible Romance features two new technological innovations to enhance the browsing experience. Take Me to the Good Part allows customers to go directly to the ‘good part’ of an audio program. Chu explains that Audible editors designed this feature by identifying 10 portions of books that “romance fans find most memorable—first encounter, flirty banter—and then machine learning technology actually finds those parts of the books and allows listeners to go straight to them.”
Listeners can also search for an audio program based on its Steaminess Score, represented by an illustrated meter that ranks titles on a one-to-five scale labeled Sweet, Simmering, Sizzling, Hot Damn, and O-O-OMG. The company’s data science team powers this feature with an algorithm developed by Audible that scans for keywords that are “steamy” markers drives this feature.