In April 2012, the Amazon-owned digital audiobooks site Audible.com (s AMZN) launched a program called “Audible Author Services” that gave authors $1 for every sale through Audible.com, Audible.co.uk and iTunes (s AAPL), out of a $20 million fund. Audible is now shutting that program down as of June 30, after telling me in December that it would continue “for the foreseeable future.”
Here’s the email authors received today:
On June 30, we will be ending the $1 honoraria program. You will receive your final quarterly $1 honoraria report and check for April 1 – June 30 2013 in late August. From the outset, the $1 honoraria was only slated to be a one-year program to make you more aware of your audiobooks and their place in your growing book portfolio, alongside print books and eBooks. We are particularly grateful for your participation and feedback over the life of the program. Thanks to your insights, we’ve been able to launch new programs and features to better support all authors, including a sales dashboard for authors who make their titles available through ACX.com and distribution of free author copies of your audiobooks as they are released.
We hope you use this last month (June) to promote your audio heavily to earn those extra dollars. And even after the program has ended, we sincerely hope you continue to promote your audiobook anywhere and everywhere to generate royalties from audiobook sales at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Authors are doing creative things to promote their books. Audible’s ACX blog (http://blog.acx.com) is full of innovative ideas and success stories to promote your book.
We also encourage you to make sure all of your books – frontlist and backlist – are available as audiobooks. If you need help producing your work in audio, explore ACX (www.acx.com), where thousands of authors have linked up with actors and studios to get their books into the audiobook format. So check your backlist now; Audible’s Author Services team will still be here to help you get your audiobooks produced using ACX. And when you produce an audiobook on ACX, you get access to a sales dashboard that’s updated daily, high per-unit royalties, bonus bounty payments, and so much more.
Vice President, Author Services
“As you know, programs like this one do have a lifespan, and we initially forecast Audible Author Services through the end of 2012, but kept it going longer because it was so successful in getting some authors to recognize the value of their audiobooks and to raise awareness of their audiobooks alongside their print and ebooks,” Audible’s Matthew Thornton told me. “We’ve now shifted our focus to testing the potential of some other innovative author-focused programs, and you may well see a variation on Audible Author Services down the road.”
In an FAQ still posted on its website, Audible says it launched Audible Author Services because “It’s the right thing to do. There’s nothing much more challenging or meaningful than writing a good book” and “We want to foster direct relationships with more authors. We have had great success working directly with authors, and these partnerships have led to audience expansion and greater consumption of audiobooks.”