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Self-Publishing News: Spotify Expands Audiobook Catalog, Dissecting E-Book Figures, And OverDrive Hits 4 Billion Downloads

Self-Publishing News: Spotify Expands Audiobook Catalog, Dissecting E-Book Figures, and OverDrive Hits 4 Billion Downloads

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

We end this week with a round-up of some very interesting news and figures from the world of electronic books (e- and audio-). As we have already been talking about them this week, let’s start with the big news about Spotify. Their audiobook premium subscription now includes titles from the catalog of Bonnier UK. This is the UK division, but Bonnier, of course, is one of the Nordic giants of publishing. Interestingly, they seem to be joined on the Spotify list by Blackstone Publishing.

I say interestingly for entirely personal reasons. As someone based in a humanities faculty at the University of Oxford, I am readying myself to move into the vast new Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre. Schwarzman made his billions as head of the investment group Blackstone, but a brief dig revealed the small Oregon publisher and the financial behemoth don’t appear to be related.

Next, we have an interesting dissection of ebook figures as always from Mark Williams. Williams is one of the most vocal and cogent skeptics of the figures on ebook revenue as officially announced by the Association of American Publishers, whose latest release claims a 0.5 percent decrease in the first quarter of 2024. Williams points out the obvious and evergreen lacuna.

These figures do not include indie titles either read through Kindle Unlimited or published directly to KDP without an ISBN and bought from there. Williams tackles the figures from two angles. First, he points out how far short of a total they provide. The Q1 total reported comes to just over $255 million. That excludes $152 million paid by Kindle Unlimited. And Williams estimates a similar figure for books published through Amazon with no ISBN. But the second angle is also important. Because even if the figures are higher than represented, ebook revenues might still be declining. Except that in the case of Kindle Unlimited, they actually rose by nearly 10 percent during Q1.

Finally, we have the biggest figure of all: OverDrive has celebrated its 4 billionth download. OverDrive is, of course, the platform that delivers digital content to libraries. And as I mention every time I report on them, it’s a catalog we can be part of as indies. If you want to get a real grasp of just how misrepresentative those AAP figures are when it comes to the real size of digital readership, that’s a figure worth bearing in mind. And that’s before we think about the likes of Wattpad.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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