Independent audiobook publisher RB Media is redoubling its politics and current events publishing with the creation of a new imprint, Kalorama Audio. Chief content officer Troy Juliar said the company has a geographic advantage, with its headquarters in the Washington D.C.-area, and is poised to acquire between 30 and 50 new titles annually
“We want to be the audio home for important thinkers and writers on the big issues of the day,” said Juliar. “There are a lot of people who have things to say and we want to give them a forum for that in the audio world.”
The imprint will be non-partisan, though given the size of the Democratic presidential field, three of Kalorama’s initial list of titles have been authored by current candidates. They include Pete Buttigieg’s Shortest Way Home, Michael Bennet’s The Land of Flickering Lights, and Beto O’Rourke’s The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico.
While the Kalorama's first audiobooks will be based on existing print content, Juliar said he expects that the imprint will eventually publish standalone audiobooks and podcasts as well.
According to a report issued this month by the Audio Publishers Association, publishers’ sales of audiobooks rose nearly 25% in 2018 to $940 million. 32.7% of those sales are nonfiction and 91% are distributed in digital formats.
Kalorama will be fully integrated into RB Media’s digital platform, which includes an app and an existing catalogue of more than 40,000 titles. The imprint’s books will be available through RB Media’s library partners,and will be sold on Audiobooks.com, Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Audible.
Juliar said that he believes that Kalorama can compete aggressively with Audible, which is owned by Amazon. “We want agents who are representing nonfiction politics clients to knock on our door because we have a good marketing strategy,” he said. “We sell a lot in the institutional markets. We're not stuck in the Amazon store. We're not Audible. We'll distribute broadly across multiple formats.”