Why are audiobooks so expensive?
@Dozier & Scott, Thank you both for the information. The reason why I asked is because I know the audiobooks that Crown Publishing offer are Audio CDs. I wasn’t sure if the audiobooks that DØM offer were CDs. Now I know! I’m a fan of the POD’s and I have a few of them myself. I was planning on getting the audio versions for when I’m on the go, mostly to have them in the car while I’m driving. Once again thank you both for the information!
@Dead_Silver: CD production is expensive, as is warehousing the product and shipping it. As a company, we are moving to an electronic-only format. We will still do the GFL limited-edition hardcovers and possibly some paperbacks, but our goal is to someday be 100% electronic (audio, eBook) with an advanced print-on-demand (POD) model to provide high-quality print copies to the peeps that want them.
Are the audiobooks that you (as in the DØM crew) sell happen to be audio download or a audio compact disc?
I also prefer to listen to books especially when doing chores such as mowing the grass. But having a limited entertainment budget, I usually wait for the podcast. I have purchased a few of Scott’s books and was fortunate enough to meet him during the Rookie tailgate tour.
As for the cost of audiobook production, being an original junkie, I picked up Earthcore after the fourth episode and enjoyed it so much, I kept the audio files. I then proceeded to create audiobooks from the podcast files in GarageBand. I now have several of the original stories as audiobooks for no cost. Now that podiobooks is available, I can save myself the effort because that simple audiobook creation cost me quite a bit of time and I didn’t need it to be perfect. I know pick up a book when I can just to support Scott with keeping the stories coming.
I to did not know how much time and effort and sweat and blood and labor that went into producing a audiobook to be sold to us loyal junkies. After now knowing the process of producing a audiobook all your hardwork, everyones hardwork at DØM is much appreciated even more. I have no problem with spending a Twenty dollar bill on a audiobook that contains your novels.
……….JUNKIE 4 LIFE…..I’m MR. T’s brother from another mother, you can call me MR. M…..1st time Pusher…..NOCTURNAL (Rewrite) Byron Metz (as “Baldwin Metz,” medical examiner for San Francisco police)…..GO KRAKENS!…..and as always Have Nice Day…..
It was kind of obvious that a lot of work and production value goes into your recordings but never realised just how much. It also explains the price of some audiobooks rather well. From my side of the pond (that being across the Atlantic in Scotland) $20 seems cheap. In a lot of cases here you can just swap out that dollar sign for a pound sign and then cry me a river as you can’t afford it. For a classic example The Games Workshop sell their standard audiodramas at £10.00 each. You get roughly 70 minutes of audio for that. Ouch!
— Death, chaos and mayhem, the music of the night
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the audiobooks take more effort, I am just noting that I feel you would sell more at paperback prices.
I know that I have no interest in $20 audiobooks, it’s one of the reasons I have never bought one. (DRM being the other). I have, however, been a regular donator at podiobooks.com, because, to me, $10 is a reasonable price.
At $10, I would buy your whole Audiobook catalog. At $20+, I won’t buy any. I would rather do a $10 donation for each release via Podiobooks, which, I am happy to do. I just felt that buying your products would help more, sales figures and all.
If you ever decide to try a ‘special’ of selling your audiobooks at $10 each, let me know, I will be there. Unfortunately, I won’t hear it on your feeds in time because I save them all up for one big Hit, meaning I don’t listen to them until they are complete – the suspense would kill me otherwise. Text in the feeds, that I will see. 🙂
Alternatively, if you would prefer I simply donate via podiobooks, I am fine with that too.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. It’s nice to see the personal touch is still here.
The Dark Overlord Media prices are right in line. We have an Audible subscription and you can get a little bit of a discount that way (about $15/book, downloaded). But for the FDO’s books, I usually get the hard cover (and get it signed, Squee!) and listen to the free podcasts so I can get Scott’s great audio and voices. A’s suggestion about Podiobooks is also a great idea to find new authors and new content – download the book and if you like it, donate what you can.
[flickr-photo:id=5069365035, size=m] [flickr-photo:id=4347154616] Pusher and member of the Gutter SistrenAnonymous November 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm
First of all, if you’re commenting on the price for downlodable audiobooks, take a look at the list cost for Amazon.com/Audible’s top sellers. Looks to me like we’re competitively priced in the marketplace.
As ARealGirl points out, an audiobook is a more labor-intensive product.
In any product-pricing strategy, you’re weighing the cost of producing that product and trying to set a price-point that most customers are happy to pay.
So, what are you paying for?
- The Story. Yes, it takes a great deal of time to create these stories, edit them, re-write them, etc.
- eBook Production: We outsource this to eBook Architects. This is a good deal for us, and keeps our costs down because they have a streamlined process. Hence, we are able to offer eBooks at the lowest price-point of our product lineup.
- Editing & design: These are significant costs, and part of why print books cost more than eBooks.
- Physical Production: Another significant cost for created print books.
- Audio Performance: This is a big factor in audiobook costs. An actor (in this case, me) has to sit in a studio for 8-10 days to record the book. What is two full weeks of your work-time worth? Hopefully, it’s a good chunk. I also have many hours of prep time to define and practice the character voices. I don’t do just a “straight read” as you’ve heard, I really try to bring it to life for you, and that takes time.
- Audio Direction: That 8-10 days I mentioned above? Someone else is in the studio with me, directing the performance, listening for subtle mistakes, tracking notes on a print copy, etc. For DØM, that two weeks of labor comes from ARealGirl. In the corporate world, her time is worth far more than mine. In fact, if she were to charge a normal hourly rate for a person of her experience and skillset, we flat-out wouldn’t be able to afford it.
- Opportunity Costs: Perhaps this is an unfair cost to pass on, but it’s real and it impacts our bottom line. The two weeks I spend recording is two weeks I am not creating new stories that A and I can sell. Since individual stories are the basis for multiple products (ebook/treebook/audiobook/adaptations/metastories/licensing), every day I’m not writing is a day we’re losing multiple revenue streams. There is also the opportunity costs for ARealGirl — every day she is not managing our company, working with vendors, planning our world takeover, etc., is a day that she’s not doing her primary job. I do the audio performance because it’s what you expect. A does the direction because she’s experienced in the field and we want her deeply involved in the process. Could we hire another director to free up her time? Frankly, no. We’re a startup. Startups have to deal with limited budgets and the principles have to wear many hats.
- Editing Costs: This is a big, fat, giant cost. After A directs and I record, we have Arioch edit 50+ hours of recorded material. I won’t go into detail here, but trust me that this is another 2-4 weeks of full-time labor. He’s also adding sound effects, producing the full-audio excerpts, etc., that you do not find in 99% of audiobooks on the market.
In summary, we give you a tricked-out audiobook that has more features than most of the competition at a cost that is significantly less than most of the competition.
Producing our own audiobooks is a major outlay of both capital and time, far more so than any other product we offer. Believe me when I say that $20 is a ridiculously low price for what you’re getting.
Regardless, I feel you would sell more at $10, because, lets face it, why pay $20 for an audiobook when you can buy a whole music album for less and you can buy a paperback, even a trade paperback, for less.
Production costs are higher, I agree, but distribution costs are the same as e-books (well possibly slightly more due to size).
Audiobooks no longer sell as half a dozen cassettes, like they used to.
$9.99, fine. I suspect this is why podiobooks has their donation limit at $9.99, people will pay that. It’s the magical double digit price tag.
In my case, $9.99 x 1 is still better than $20 x nothing, and I am sure others would probably fall into the same bucket.
Just my thoughts on the matter as I am investigating financial ways to support this enterprise that is satisfactory to both 🙂
I have been listening to Scott’s audiobooks for, it seems, years.
Whilst I love listening to Scott’s jibber jabber, I figure that I would like to support his, and his cohorts, efforts.
I have previously bought his infected and contagious books, in my support efforts, however, I don’t like hardcovers and would prefer to buy audiobooks as my method of support.
Also, I have no interest in e-books, I like listening to the story whilst riding/walking, I can’t read and ride at the same time
So, I am rather suprised that the audiobooks cost so much, more than if I bought a paperback (which is generally my preferred method of purchase).
I would be happy to buy the audio books of all of the stories if they where priced at roughly the same as e-books, but priced as they are, at more than a paperback, I balk.
Any chance of reconsidering the prices of audiobooks?
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.