Monday, 25 July 2011

The Advantages of the Audio Book

The Importance of Publishing in Multiple Media

The Audio book has not been around nearly as long as the traditional book, but a lot longer than the ebook. For the longest time however, people never saw the audio book as a legitimate book. It was something the kids listened to because they were too young to read, or something to play on long trips to have a break from the radio. A full-length book would take many cassette tapes though, so the audio book was a bulky product and quite difficult to travel with.

It was generally associated with fiction and well-known children's authors who had a copy of their book read onto cassette. A serious author of any book for adults would never distribute a book in this medium. It is only is recent times that the audio book became known as the audio book at all, but then again it is only in the last 15 years or so, since the invention of the CD, that it became practical to distribute a book this way. No more messy tapes, no more children's-only medium for long road trips but suddenly a viable medium to distribute any book (both fiction & nonfiction) for readers on the go.

As people grew busier, the more practical the audio book became as they could listen to books while in transit. It provided additional learning time for anyone with a job requiring a lot of travel where, via the car stereo, they could receive any training they required while driving between meetings. Not only did this leverage the trainer's time but it meant an unlimited number of people could be trained at any time, anywhere, without requiring additional work outside of business hours or at the additional cost to the employer to pay the cost of a venue, a speaker, catering etc.

Not only that, but it provided a way for people to educate themselves in the self-development and do-it-yourself mentality that has taken off over the past few years.

For example: Whatever you wanted to learn more about but didn't have time to, due to having to work long hours to support your family, you could now listen to on the train while commuting into the city for work. These previously wasted hours were now no longer time lost, but valuable time spent learning about whatever you wanted to. People were returning home from work empowered, happier and less stressed, as they were now able to fit more of what they wanted to do into their day. 

In our modern society where people are just too busy to read, the audio book has definitely made a big difference in getting information, your message or your story out to the masses. The Audio book has some disadvantages and advantages over the traditional book. For example, while it is much lighter and easier to travel with, you still do need a CD player of some kind (eg. car stereo, diskman etc.) to listen to it with.

These days with ebooks and eaudio, some may say the audio book sounds out of date. But the audio book still has its place. Like the printed book, the audio book wins over the eaudio when it comes to publicity, as while you still need to pay to produce each copy, you once again get, as a result of production, an actual product to show in order to gain you the credibility you are looking for, when publishing a book for publicity is your aim.

Please see the diagram on the following page for the pros and cons of 'The Audio Book'. Work out what the requirements are for your target market and check'The Audio Book' meets your requirements.

Fully Illustrated
Partially Illustrated
Not Illustrated
Children's Book

Comic Book


Photo Book

Cook Book

Poetry Book

Travel Book


'How to...'Book

You can give it away

You can buy it in a bookstore


You can buy it online

You can buy it in person

You can find it in a library


You can get it signed by the author

It can be obtained by anyone


There is a growing market

It is free to produce


You can keep the first copy

You can release multiple editions

It can be any size


It can be changed quickly and easily


It can be delivered instantly


It can be read online


It can be read while travelling on the train

It can be read while driving

It can be read in any location

It is suitable for any target market


There is no risk involved in production


There is no risk involved in distribution


There is no cost involved if returned


There is no need to be actively selling your book


There is no need to be actively distributing your book


It can be distributed anywhere in the world


You don't need to keep stock on hand


It is the most popular way to publish a book


Is it the right format for you?


Is it the best format for your subject matter?


Is it the best format for your target market?


The other advantage the audio book has is its ability to be sold along side the printed book. If you are publishing a book to make a profit, the money is in the upselling and packaging. There are many different products you could package or sell your audio book with. A printed book on its own may sell for $30, and an audio book may sell for another $30. If someone wants to buy a book they have to choose which. Or do they? What if the cost was $50 for both? People no longer need to choose but can have one of each. They are happy, as they are getting a discount for buying two and you are happy because you just made an extra $20.

Whether you are publishing a book for profit or publicity, always provide people with multiple options of media (what suits one person may not suit another), always give them the opportunity to buy one with the other (upselling is a very powerful marketing tool) and always package your products to give extra value to your customers. You will sell more if you package and you will be perceived as more of an expert in your field based on the number of products you have. Remember no one wants to pay the recommended retail price and every one is looking for the special offer or marked down price to provide them with more value for their dollar.

Of course, if you are writing 'the dream book' then neither of those things apply to you. However, if you loved holding your physical book in your hand, imagine how good it would feel to hold your audio book in the other. Even a dream can be fulfilled in multiple media.

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