One of the biggest gripes about Amazon’s ACX, the self-publishing arm of Audible and very much the go to place for indie authors to distribute their audiobooks, is that Amazon calls the shots on pricing.
Among the many appeals of new kid on the block Findaway is that the author has a semblance of control. And that includes pricing.
Now BookBub has jumped in to exploit that loophole, partnering with Findaway to allow authors to drop their audiobook prices to bargain basement level and promote them in its new audiobook promotion newsletter Chirp, which in every other way runs on the same model as the traditional BookBub mailing list for ebook promotion.
Chirp offers consumers a fresh selection of limited-time audiobook deals every day that they can purchase à la carte directly from the site.
The deals featured on Chirp are supplied by authors and publishers and curated by the same team of BookBub editors behind our ebook Featured Deals.
Early responses from readers testing Chirp have been overwhelmingly positive, but the service is still in beta. Only a small percentage of BookBub’s millions of members have been invited to join so far. We anticipate a broader rollout over the coming year and expect the platform to evolve as we make improvements based on early user feedback.
Unsurprisingly this service is only available in the United States.
More surprising is that consumers will be given seven days to return the book for a full refund, giving consumers a chance to experiment with unknown names. It is not mentioned how many refunds a listener might get away with before being barred.
That of course is the beauty of the all-you-can-eat subscription model prefered by Storytel and others – that any subscriber can try as many books as they wish until they find some they really like.
This is not going to bother Audible in the short-term, but will give Amazon something to think about. As more and more indie authors realise there is an alternative to Audible that will allow them to reach BookBub’s subscribers, so more authors will gravitate to Findaway as their preferred distribution option.
Being able to run a short-term promotion of 0.99 or 2.99 for an audiobooks that usually comes in at 17.99 is going to be very appealing for savvy marketers wanting to hook a listener on a series.
That in turn could see Amazon review its options and change the rules on pricing for its audiobook authors.
In similar vein, as Storytel’s all-you-can-eat consumer model gathers pace in Amazon’s markets – Storytel launched in Italy last year, beat Audible to India, and will be launching in Germany this summer. Storytel is also in Spain where an Audible launch is imminent – we may yet see Amazon review Audible’s one audiobook per month subscription model.