In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at how Storytel partners with Spotify.
In this month’s self-publishing news podcast, Howard and I look back at a month in which subscription reading flexed its muscles. We focus in particular on the launch of Amazon’s new serial subscription platform, Kindle Vella. On tonight’s #indieauthorchat with Tim Lewis, at 8pm GMT, we’ll be talking with Jessica Bell about covers.
Storytel Audiobooks via Spotify
This is one of those massive stories that's been inevitable for several years now. And while Mark Williams and I, and others, have both been talking non-stop about the rise of subscription and the potential consequences of audiobooks following the music industry, doubtless it will still have taken many by surprise.
Spotify aims to be “the singular platform for all audio”
Let's start with what Spotify has to say about the announcement. In the press release, Global Head of Studios Courtney Holt says this:
“It is Spotify’s goal to be the singular platform for all audio: music, podcasts, live conversations, and now via this partnership, audiobooks.”
That leaves absolutely no ambiguity about the extent of the audio giant's ambitions. What does this actually mean in practice? First, this means audiobooks will be available through Spotify from this year. That means if your audiobooks are available through one of Storytel's 25 markets to its 1.6 million subscribers, they will from this year stream that audio through Spotify. Spotify has 158 million subscribers over 178 markets. They have no plans at the moment to push Storytel onto that subscriber base. That “at the moment” is doing a lot of work. This is proof if it were needed that when it comes to audio, Audible is a long way from being the only player in the game. And if Amazon is looking for a monopoly similar to the ones it holds in ebooks and print books, it will have a tougher time. It's not up against slow to manoeuvre publishers. It's up against tech giants.
As always when it comes to stories about Storytel and subscription, I would highly recommend anyone to read Mark Williams' detailed account. It provides much of the back story to this present deal.
Amazon Signs First Lending Deal
Publishers have been at war with libraries for a year and a half now. Through that time, Amazon is one player that has remained aloof from everything. Amazon's imprints simply didn't sign agreements to allow library lending. As far as they were concerned, libraries were a threat to their bottom line. But things have been moving in libraries' favour recently. Most notably, the state of Maryland is pursuing legislation that would grant its libraries the right to any ebooks they want, regardless of what publishers' policy might be. So Amazon's hand may have been about to be forced.
But it's still massive news that Amazon Publishing has signed a deal with the Digital Public Library of America. The deal will allow public libraries to purchase ebooks under a variety of metred usage arrangements. Books will be available through the SimplyE app, an aggregator platform developed by New York Public Library.
While many hybrid authors published by imprints like Thomas and Mercer will be affected, this deal does not apply to self-published titles in the Kindle Unlimited programme. That, of course, is Amazon's very own lending programme, and I imagine they will guard that very closely indeed. So if you want your ebooks in libraries, it's still a case of going through a platform that distributes to the Overdrive catalogue.
Indie Authors on Clubhouse
Last week my piece about self-publishing 3.0 noted that Clubhouse was losing steam after an initial bounce. Interestingly this week, we were sent news of one particular regular session on the audio networking platform that may be of interest to indie authors. Girl Friday Productions now host a regular “room” on Clubhouse. As of today, there are not many book publishing professionals on the platform. Events are midday on Thursdays Pacific Standard Time.
Thinking about ways to network, and alternative income streams leads me to this superb piece by Jane Friedman. Friedman is, of course, one of the most brilliant commentators on all aspects of the writing business. And in this piece she takes aim at what you might call (she's far too polite) the “author earnings” puff piece. She points out on the one hand the over simplicity of such statistics which inevitably lack granularity and completeness. They also miss the fact that an author's income comes by no means wholly from writing books these days.Spotify sets out audiobook ambition in a deal with Storytel and other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
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