In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at the relaunch of Barnes and Noble’s Nook app with audiobooks.
This week's #indieauthorchat has, as you may be aware, already happened! It will be back to Wednesday next week. And no, I'm not going to talk about Elon Musk and Twitter (I did that already a week ago)! Until then please do listen to the fabulous special edition podcast here. It's a celebration of 10 years of ALLi in which each member of the the team looks back on where we were 10 years ago, and looks forward to where we hope to be 10 years from now.
The Latest on Libraries: Indies Blamed for Conspiracy Titles and Authors Guild Launches Banned Books Club
Libraries have been at the heart of a lot of controversy in the past year or so.
It was only a matter of time before indies got directly wound up in one of those controversies rather than merely being indirectly impacted. And that time has come. Vice this week published a scathing article highlighting librarians’ anger at the distribution platform Hoopla. They accuse Hoopla of distributing antisemitic and conspiracy theory books, including Holocaust denial titles. Many of these titles are self-published. And that, of course, raises the old chestnut of widespread access to books that have not undergone any form of gatekeeping. At least none beyond the most basic checks run by distributors. It’s a worrying development, because it comes at a time when we have unprecedented access to library readers thanks to the likes of Overdrive. And anything which threatens that access is a worry.
The Vice article is, not for the first time when mainstream media get involved, a bit of a mess. It links up three big “libraries in controversy” stories somewhat tenuously. But while the battle with publishers may not really be connected, the story about the book banning debate certainly is.
There has been growing concern about the extent of book bans in schools and libraries in recent weeks. And this week, the Authors Guild launched a Banned Books Book Club. The intention is to bring those books that are being removed from library shelves to a wider audience. The first title will be David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing.
And finally, ALCS, the organization that collects royalties from library lends for authors turned 45 this week. You can watch a great video about their history here. They have collected an astonishing £600m for writers to date.
Barnes and Noble Relaunch Nook App with Audiobooks
Barnes and Noble feel like one of those companies that’s always in the news. Usually for trying something that doesn’t work but somehow still being around. And, of course, for getting bought by James Daunt. One of the things Daunt has surprised us with in the past is that he is committed to Nook. “We will make Nook very much part of what we do” is how Daunt put it in late 2020. That was after the pandemic had shown him the real value of digital. It was also after I had reported three whole years earlier that Barnes and Noble looked like they would be selling off Nook. It now feels as though they’re very glad they didn’t.
This week, Barnes and Noble have really followed through on Daunt’s commitment. They have announced a relaunch of the Nook app. And it includes audiobooks. Barnes and Noble has partnered with Findaway Voices to distribute its catalogue of more than 300,000 audiobooks. That’s great news for any of us who use Findaway Voices for audio.
Another Basic Income Scheme for Creators – This Time in Ireland
A few weeks ago, I ran a story about a basic income scheme for artists in New York. This week we have news of another programme. This time it’s based in Ireland. 2000 recipients will get 325 Euros per week for a three year period.
And the good news is that like the New York scheme it is most definitely open for indies to apply to. Awards will be decided on a lottery basis. If you are a creative based in Ireland, you have until May 12th to apply. We'd love to hear from anyone who succeeds in getting funding, to hear what difference it made.
Japanese Subscription Audio Service Combines Credit and All You Can Eat Models
Talking of social experiments, this week sees a fascinating development in the Japanese audiobook market. Should audiobook subscription services use an all you can eat model? Or should they use the “x number of credits a month” model? Audible has taken to testing out which to do by offering an all you can eat service in seven of its newer markets.
But the biggest Japanese audiobook seller has decided to see what happens when you offer both at the same time. Audiobook.JP will offer three different price points in addition to buying individual titles. $6.80 a month will get you a credit per month. $11.70 will get you access to the all you can eat package. That doesn’t include all of the newest titles on the site, though. You can access those too for $22.50.
It will be very interesting to see what customers prefer. It’s interesting to note that the all you can eat pricepoint is just short of twice the one credit price. That seems to fit perfectly with figures that show audiobook customers tend to consume two books a month.Self-publishing News: Barnes and Noble adds audiobooks to Nook app Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) – Zoom meetings the 2nd Saturday of each month
Wild Words Festival, 3-5 June (Cuffley End UK) – click the link for an ALLi discount (adult tickets £100 from £120, 5-12 years tickets £40 from £60)
Indie Unconference, 9-12 June, Matera
I’m still new to self-publishing. It’s my understanding that libraries don’t have to offer books on Hoopla or Overdrive. Is that incorrect?
It depends. In some territories, individual librarians have much more control over what gets stocked by “their” library than in others.