News for Authors

Spotlight: Audiobooks

June, 2012


Each summer, just in time for vacation season, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) join forces for the June is Audiobooks Month initiative, a marketing program dedicated to promoting the audiobook format. Many of the activities are part of the Get Caught Listening awareness campaign, which includes media outreach, a video contest, advertising in industry publications, and the APA Author Tea event at BookExpo America.

Audio has been an important format for Random House for over thirty years. We have three dedicated publishing groups within the audio division, focused on adult retail, adult library distribution, and children’s. Most of our marketing and PR efforts promote our audio productions throughout the year via marketing campaigns, PR outreach, and connecting with avid readers and listeners at literary festivals, academic trade shows, and consumer conventions.

Beyond our author-specific marketing and PR activities, we are supporting our fifth annual regional audio-format campaign this month, called Heard Any Good Books Lately? The campaign concentrates on bringing the audiobook format to the readers (and commuters) of a particular market. After successes in Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, and Washington, D.C., we are going to the Windy City—Chicago. The advertising campaign will span local print publications, local radio, online publications, and outdoor, bus side, and L train advertising. Local bookstores, bookstore chains, and libraries are tied in too, and support the campaign with in-store merchandising. Random House will also be reaching out to the book lovers of Chicago at the Printers Row Lit Fest and with street teams distributing audiobook samplers. In addition to a significant sales lift during the campaign, we have seen these efforts lead to long-term sustainable sales increases.

The audiobook market is diverse, and various titles and categories have different sales patterns. Some sell particularly well into the library channel; others sell in high quantities through specialty retailers such as Cracker Barrel restaurants; yet others see high demand from consumer-download vendors such as iTunes or Audible.

Adding a reading performance to the book experience requires a special skill. The producers in our studios in New York City and Los Angeles work very closely with authors to find the right narrator or to accommodate an author reading. If you haven’t been involved with our audio production process, you can see some of what happens in our studios every day in the short video clip above.