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21-October 09
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Omnipotent Overseer of the Universe
Age Unknown
February 13
Newcastle, UK

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  1. Sanderson vs Audible!

    22 December 2022 - 07:48 PM

    Not really a fan of his works but this I can get behind...


    "On the tenth or eleventh of each month a book goes to backers, we will put the audiobooks up for sale. They will be on several services, but I recommend the two I mentioned above. Spotify and Speechify.

    The books will not be on Audible for the foreseeable future.

    This is a dangerous move on my part. I don't want to make an enemy of Amazon (who owns Audible). I like the people at Audible, and had several meetings with them this year.

    But Audible has grown to a place where it's very bad for authors. It's a good company doing bad things.

    Again, this is dangerous to say, and I don't want to make anyone feel guilty. I have an Audible account, and a subscription! It's how my dyslexic son reads most of the books he reads. Audible did some great things for books, notably spearheading the audio revolution, which brought audiobooks down to a reasonable price. I like that part a lot.

    However, they treat authors very poorly. Particularly indie authors. The deal Audible demands of them is unconscionable, and I'm hoping that providing market forces (and talking about the issue with a megaphone) will encourage change in a positive direction.

    If you want details, the current industry standard for a digital product is to pay the creator 70% on a sale. It's what Steam pays your average creator for a game sale, it's what Amazon pays on ebooks, it's what Apple pays for apps downloaded. (And they're getting heat for taking as much as they are. Rightly so.)

    Audible pays 40%. Almost half. For a frame of reference, most brick-and-mortar stores take around 50% on a retail product. Audible pays indie authors less than a bookstore does, when a bookstore has storefronts, sales staff, and warehousing to deal with.

    I knew things were bad, which is why I wanted to explore other options with the Kickstarter. But I didn't know HOW bad. Indeed, if indie authors don't agree to be exclusive to Audible, they get dropped from 40% to a measly 25%. Buying an audiobook through Audible instead of from another site literally costs the author money.

    Again, I like the people at Audible. I like a lot about Audible. I don't want to go to war—but I do have to call them out. This is shameful behavior. I'll bet you every person there will say they are a book lover. And yet, they are squeezing indie authors to death. I had several meetings with them, and I felt like I could see their embarrassment in their responses and actions. (Though that's just me reading into it, not a reference to anything they said.)

    Here's the problem. (I'm sorry for going on at length. I'm passionate about this though.) There are no true competitors to Audible. Sure, there are other companies that can buy your book—but they all just list on Audible, and then take a percentage on top of what Audible is taking. Apple? Their books come in large part from Audible. Recorded Books? They are an awesome company, whom I love, but their biggest market is Audible. Macmillian, my publisher? They just turn around and put the books on Audible.

    I had a huge problem finding anyone who, if I sold the Secret Projects to them, wouldn't just put them on Audible—and while I can't tell you details, all of their deals are around the same low rates that Audible is paying indie authors. Audible runs this town, and they set the rates. For everyone. Everywhere. (I had one seller who really wanted to work with me, who will remain unnamed, who is consistently only able to pay authors 10% on a sale. For a digital product. It's WILD.)

    I found two companies only—in all of the deals I investigated—who are willing to take on Audible. Spotify and Speechify. My Spotify deal is, unfortunately, locked behind an NDA (as is common with these kinds of deals). All I can say is that they treated me well, and I'm happy.

    Here's where the gold star goes to Speechify. Let me tell you, they came to me and said—full of enthusiasm for the project—they'd give me 100%. I almost took it, but then I asked the owner (who is a great guy) if this was a deal he could give other authors, or if it was a deal only Brandon Sanderson could get. He considered that, then said he'd be willing to do industry standard—70%—for any author who lists their books directly on Speechify a la carte. So I told him I wanted that deal, if he agreed to let me make the terms of our deal public.

    I've made enough on this Kickstarter. I don't need to squeeze people for every penny—but what I do want to do is find a way to provide options for authors. I think that by agreeing to these two deals, I'm doing that. We have the open offer from Speechify, and we have Spotify trying very hard to break Audible's near-monopoly.

    I hope this will rejuvenate the industry. Because I do like Audible. I worry that they'll stagnate, strangle their creators, and end up burning away because of it. Real competition is good for everyone, including the companies themselves. Lack of it leads to a slow corporate death.

    So I'm not putting these books on Audible. Not for a year at least. Maybe longer. I need to be able to make a statement, and I realize this makes it inconvenient for many of you. I'm sorry. I really am. And I know it's going to cost me a ton of sales—because right now, people tend to just buy on the platform they're comfortable with. The Lost Metal preorders were 75% audio—almost all through Audible. I know many of my fans, probably hundreds of thousands of them, simply won't buy the books because it's super inconvenient to go somewhere else. Indeed, Audible locks you into that mentality by making you sign up for a subscription to get proper prices on audiobooks, which then makes you even more hesitant to shop around.

    But please take the time to try these books somewhere else. I've priced them at $15—the current price of a monthly subscription to Audible at their most common price point. You can get these books with no subscription and no credit. (Though you do have to buy on Spotify/Speechify's websites—and not through their apps—because of monopolistic practices by certain providers. Something I'm not qualified to say much about currently. Besides, this rant is already too long.)

    Each book you buy somewhere else helps break open this field. It will lead to lower prices, fewer subscription models, and better pay for authors. Plus, these partners I've gone to really deserve the support for being willing to try to change things."

    I like the fact that he has grown to a size of audience where he can call out the shady practices of companies like Audible ripping off the little guys.



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    24 Feb 2023 - 23:39
    Yeah not too bad thanks, hope you're doing well too.
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    12 Feb 2023 - 20:13
    happy another one, even if it's a Monday
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    12 Feb 2022 - 14:37
    Happy birthday C-diddy
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    12 Feb 2021 - 23:36
    and again
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    13 Feb 2019 - 10:39
    That time of the year again
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    13 Feb 2018 - 08:10
    Happy birthday
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    25 Dec 2016 - 18:51
    Salutes the Captain!
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    24 Dec 2016 - 03:03
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    05 Apr 2011 - 17:16
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    24 Mar 2011 - 12:52
    Why not say hello..?
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