Workman Publishing is the latest trade publisher to form its own audiobook publishing division. Starting immediately, Workman Audio will publish and distribute audiobooks directly to the trade and library channels. Findaway will be handling distribution to all markets.

To head the new imprint, Workman has hired audiobook publishing veteran Ana Maria Allessi as publisher. Allessi was with HarperCollins for 17 years, where she rose to become v-p and publisher of HarperAudio. She is currently president of the Audio Publishers Association.

In her new role, Workman said, Allessi will focus on audiobook production and distribution opportunities for frontlist and backlist titles from all of Workman’s imprints and its distribution clients. Allessi will also seek out audio-first publishing opportunities, Workman said.

In a prepared statement, Workman CEO Dan Reynolds said the move into audio production and the appointment of Allessi will provide new opportunities for the company and its authors: “Not only does [the creation of Workman Audio] allow us to be full partners with our authors in terms of creating and distributing audio editions of their work, but, given the eclectic range of books we publish, we’re inspired to explore the boundaries of what an audiobook can be.”