Looking to offer indie authors access to a booming audiobook market, Smashwords, the self-publishing platform and e-book distributor, is teaming with Findaway Voices, an online production platform and distributor of audiobook content, to create a turnkey solution.
In a blogpost, Smashwords CEO Mark Coker said the new partnership would give authors and publishers “greater control over pricing and distribution.” The deal, he said, will make it, “more economically feasible for authors and publishers to invest in audiobook production for shorter books, or books that might carry lower prices.”
Smashwords has more than 100,000 authors currently using its distribution platform.
Findaway Voices features have been integrated into the Smashwords dashboard. The partnership will provide authors with access to Findaway Voices’s automated production platform as well as distribution to a global network of more than 20 audiobook sales outlets, that include iTunes, Audible, Scribd, OverDrive and Google Play among others. Findaway Voices offers nonexclusive distribution agreements—indie authors can offer their audiobook content through a wide variety of retail outlets.
The site also allows authors and publishers to turn their text works into audiobook content. Using Findaway, Smashwords' authors/publishers have access to a network of professional narrators, online support from a casting team that will provide curated voice actor recommendations, free actor auditions and audio samples, and a budgetary guide to costs. The site can provide an estimate of what a production will cost based on the time it takes to record a specific number of words and the hourly rates of voice actors which range from $150 to $400 per hour.
Smashwords authors/publishers that already have professional produced audiobook content can upload the title's audiofile and metadata directly to Findaway Voices for distribution. The author/publisher set the prices. Findaway pays royalties directly to author/publishers, although its distribution retail outlets will calculate those royalties differently based on their individual business models (some are based on single-copy sales, others use subscription or audio streaming models).
In the blogpost Coker noted that audiobooks are the “fastest growing segment of the book industry” and said the Smashwords/Findaway Voices partnership will offer “new opportunities” to attract readers.
“I think this could be a boon for authors, publishers and consumers alike who want to enjoy lower-cost audiobooks,” Coker said.