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Audiobooks

Zombies, Run! and The Walk cross a pedometer with audiobooks
July 13, 2014 | 2:35 pm

Screenshot_2014-07-13-14-28-56Mobile technology is really bringing about some interesting new forms of gaming, isn’t it? Lately I’ve been experimenting with an Android/iOS smartphone game called “Zombies, Run!” while I play Ingress. I had heard from friends that it was a pretty good game, and after finding out that it worked just as well on a bicycle as on foot, I decided to give it a shot. The premise of Zombies, Run! is that you’re “Runner 5,” a rather quiet military operative sent in to help a small settlement called Able Township by running missions to fetch supplies, deliver messages, and...

Booktrack announces Series A funding, expansion into education
April 15, 2014 | 2:25 pm

BooktrackBooktrack, the startup company that adds soundtracks to ebooks, has announced its expansion into educational applications, as well as details of its recently completed Series A funding round. For those unfamiliar with the terminology of venture capital, Series A generally designates the first serious institutional round of VC investment into a startup, following angel investment and seed rounds, hence indicating that the company has now proven its proposition and is ready for expansion. And Booktrack came in right in the usual range for this level of investment, at $3 million in financing led by Sparkbox Ventures. According to the release, Booktrack will...

Humble Bundle about to launch third e-book bundle
March 18, 2014 | 12:10 pm

The launch of the new Humble Bundle is still just under two hours away (until then, you have one last chance to snag some terrific Android games, nine of them for under $4—Zombie Gunship is some crazy fun!) but Publishers Weekly has just revealed what the new one is going to be. It’s going to be Humble’s first e-books and audiobooks bundle. It’s not entirely clear from the PW article which books will have audiobooks and which will just be e-books, but it’s going to include some great titles: the audiobook of Homeland by Cory Doctorow, financed by Doctorow...

Humble Bundle plans to expand e-book, audiobook offerings
March 3, 2014 | 8:25 pm

humblelogoRemember the Humble E-Book Bundles? Humble’s done a couple of them (not counting the ones by other bundle sites) plus an audiobook bundle, and wants to do more. Calvin Reid has a great article at Publishers Weekly looking at the Humble Bundle e-book program in depth. It has some interesting facts. It turns out that the first two pay-what-you-want Humble E-Book Bundles were actually organized by Cory Doctorow. Not a big surprise given their DRM-free nature. The problem was that DRM-free nature meant Macmillan (whose Tor subsidiary had already gone DRM-free) was the only Big Five publisher willing to...

Audible changes its royalty payment structure
March 1, 2014 | 12:33 pm

audibleACX is changing its royalty payments – and not in a good way. ACX is a digital audiobook site owned by Amazon, which has become a place for self-publishers to get their audiobooks onto the market. The company announced the change on its site on Thursday. Previously content creators who sold exclusively through Amazon and Audible received 50 to 90 percent of the royalty, depending on the number of units sold. Those who went the non-exclusive route got a royalty rate between 25 and 70 percent. Now that rate has changed. Right Holders who use Audible, Amazon and iTunes exclusively will earn 40...

Amazon lowers royalty rates on Audible ACX-created audiobooks
February 28, 2014 | 5:56 pm

Troubling news out of Amazon. GigaOm’s Laura Hazard Owen reports that Amazon’s Audible audiobook platform, which launched audiobook self-publishing in 2011, has announced it is now lowering the royalties it pays on audiobooks created through its “ACX” audiobook creation platform, as well as changing its “Bounty” audiobook incentive program. The ACX platform serves as a clearing house that matchmakes audiobook rights holders with producers and narrators to create a finished product. Previously, audiobook creators who sold via Amazon received 50% to 90% royalties (depending on number of units sold) if they sold exclusively through Amazon and Audible, or 25...

Library audiobooks to go DRM-free on Overdrive
January 24, 2014 | 12:19 pm

The mp3 audiobook market has been DRM-free for years, and at least part of the audiobook market is going to follow suit. OverDrive, the leading ebook and audiobook supplier for libraries and institutions, has announced that they're phasing out the WMA format audiobooks in favor of DRM-free mp3. Aside from minor vendors like Playaway, OverDrive effectively is the the library audiobook market so today's news is a big deal. Audiobooks in general, and Amazon/Audible in particular, are the last holdouts for DRM in audio. The mp3 music market is DRM-free, and there are even a couple audiobook retailers that have gone...

Humble Bundle announces audiobook bundle
January 21, 2014 | 4:28 pm

palehorseWell, the Humble Bundle once again breaks new ground. Not content to have offered pay-what-you-want sales in computer games, music, and e-books (twice), now it’s launched an audiobook bundle. The titles you get for paying anything within the next two weeks include: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Anyone remember when the fatwa Rushdie got for writing it was the biggest Islamic scare story to hit the news? My those days seem quaint now.) Stolen by Lucy Christopher Abandon by Meg Cabot Junky by William S. Burroughs...

Voice Dream reader app can now play audiobooks
December 8, 2013 | 12:15 pm

Voice Dream reader appThe new version of the Voice Dream reader app, a superb iOS text-to-speech app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, can now play audiobooks, too. Even at $10, costlier than the typical app, Voice Dream is a Buy, capital B, at the Apple App Store. Voice Dream 2.9.2 can handle zipped MP3s as well as audiobooks in Daisy, thanks to help from a Swiss library organization, and navigation and general usability are excellent, just as in the regular text-to-speech mode for ePub files and others. Dozen of optional voices in common languages work with the app, and my favorite is the UK-accented “Peter” voice...

‘Steam in the Willows’ all smoke, no fire?
December 5, 2013 | 3:26 pm

steam-in-willowsRan across this Kickstarter project on GalleyCat. Australian writer Krista Brennan is raising money for “Steam in the Willows,” a “steampunk version” of the classic Kenneth Grahame novel The Wind in the Willows. It will be published in PDF, print, and (if a stretch goal is met) audiobook editions. Since the original book is in the public domain, people can of course publish or self-publish any version of it they like, and Brennan will be doing just that. Her project has successfully met its AU$6,600 goal (about US$5,985 at current exchange rates) with a week to go in the Kickstarter....

Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad and Other Celebs Read Classic U.S. Novels for Tom Hanks’ Production Company and Audible
October 22, 2013 | 12:17 pm

audibleThat guy from Breaking Bad is all the rage these days. Aside from being a brilliant meth chef/dealer on television, Bryan Cranston has got a dynamite speaking voice — though you probably already knew that. It’s not surprising then, to hear that the folks over at Playtone (powered by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman) asked him to voice the story of The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. As part of a partnership with Amazon company Audible, a special ‘Playtone Presents’ series of audiobooks, “The American Story as You’ve Never Heard It,” enrolls the help of other notable voices as well;...

Weekend Roundup — Meet Blackfriars, a digital-first literary fiction imprint
February 23, 2013 | 9:45 am

Blackfriars logoHTML5 will be the future of publishing (Tools of Change) 60% of Audiobooks Sold Are Now Digital (Galleycat) The great sci-fi hunt: help us find the best independently published books (The Guardian) Little, Brown UK launches digital-first imprint for literary fiction (Paid Content) Kindle Daily Deals: 30 Kindle Fiction e-books for $1.99 or less...