Bookwire, the international e-book and audiobook distribution platform, is launching its services in the U.S. The company, based in Frankfurt, has offices in Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and the U.K., and its new New York City office is being run by Raquel Plitt, senior manager for business development and publisher relations. In the U.S., the company’s primary focus will be on audiobook development and distribution, as well as offering production and even casting for audiobooks. These are services particularly relevant to small and medium-size U.S. publishers, which may still have deep catalogs of as yet unproduced audiobooks.
As audiobook streaming services become even more prevalent, Bookwire’s team believes their work in Europe gives them a competitive advantage. “The audiobook landscape is growing in complexity each day,” said Videl Bar-Kar, global head of audio at Bookwire. “This is increasingly the case with streaming music and podcasts, which sit very close to the audiobook market, especially in Germany,” Bar-Kar said. “We have a lot of experience working with the major platforms like Spotify, Deezer, and YouTube music, for example.” A key component of its service is the company’s promise of “playlist marketing”—allowing audiobooks to be listened to in snippets. This is powered by Bookwire’s Bookwire Audio Stream Snipping, or BASS, service, which optimizes the metadata per sales channel and cuts books into three-minute tracks that are more suitable for streaming.
Currently, Bookwire handles distribution for 500,000 e-books and 100,000 audiobooks globally. “With our platform, we can offer a turnkey solution,” Bar-Kar said. “Everyone is looking for efficiencies for the digital process and we can manage all of that. We have a solution called Bookwire OS that integrates and streamlines all of our operations, from e-book and audiobook production and distribution to marketing tools and sales analytics. We definitely have been talking to a lot of publishers for which audio is still new. Everyone assumes that there are still a lot of titles that haven’t been unlocked, and publishers are interested in learning how it works.”
The company also prides itself on innovation. In October 2020, for the Frankfurt Book Fair, Bookwire introduced its Odyssey service, billed as a “self-learning, algorithm-based recommendation and search software” that enables smart speaker users to quickly find audiobooks available on streaming service portals. For now it is available for Amazon Alexa and Spotify users in Germany, with more services coming online soon. And in May Bookwire announced plans to launch an NFT, or non fungible token, platform based on blockchain for text and audio content, which they bill as a “marketplace for the publishing and creator industry.” The platform is due to debut later this year, likely around the time of the Frankfurt Book Fair.
“We are able to deal with both ends of the market, from production to distribution and sales,” Bar-Kar said. “We routinely deal with tens of thousands of titles, and have scalability to work with large publishers as well as smaller and medium-size ones. The core of our company is knowledge and service. We doubled our audiobook business globally last year for our existing clients. Some of this was due to lockdowns as a result of the pandemic, but some was due to our own efforts. We’re always trying to stay two steps ahead and be ready for what comes next. That’s what we do.”