Kim McDougall
I often get asked questions such as “Do you still get paid if I read your books on Kindle Unlimited (or from the library or ‘insert other format here’).” In general, my answer is, “If you read my books, I’m ecstatic however you got them. Thank you.” There are two caveats to that. The first is book pirating, which I think we can all agree is egregious. The other one is Audible.

What? But I love Audible!

I get it. As a reader, so do I. As an author, not so much. In the last couple of years, a lot has been written about Audible’s less than savory business practices. I’m not going to go into all the details, but the gist of it is this:

1. Audible’s royalty rate is 40% for authors, compared to the industry norm of 70% from most retailers. To make things worse, Audible pushes authors to be exclusive, dropping their already poor royalty rate to 25% if author’s don’t comply. And if authors decide to become Audible exclusive, they are locked in for 7 years. In this way, Audible has controlled over 60% of the audiobook market and some analysts believe that number is much higher.

2. Audible was caught a few years ago actively encouraging listeners to return books in order to re-use their monthly book credit, without paying royalties to authors on these read-and-returned books. Amazon (who owns Audible) has promised to address this issue, but it’s not clear if their change in policies has had any effect. It is still ridiculously easy to return an audiobook, even if you’ve already listened to the entire book.

If you want to read details about #AudibleGate, here are two articles that outline them better:

Now, I’m not saying you should delete your Audible account. They have some great content, and I know the vast majority of readers don’t exploit the shameful return practices. But maybe there is room to shop for audiobooks at other outlets too and force Audible into adopting a fairer business model.

I chose to distribute my audiobooks to a wider audience, so you’ll be able to find them at other retailers such as Spotify, Kobo, Google Play, and Apple, as well as from libraries. I was very pleased when Spotify recently entered the audiobook game. Did you know your Premium Spotify account includes 15 hours per month of audiobooks? And what about Kobo Plus? This is Kobo’s new monthly subscription that’s similar to Kindle Unlimited but includes eBooks and Audiobooks, and bonus!—it doesn’t require exclusivity from authors. Check out the Kobo Plus book fair banner below for books that you could listen to or read for free this month with a Kobo Plus subscription.

My point is, there are many great choices for audiobook listeners.

I realize that most readers have no idea what goes on behind the curtain of publishing. And you might not want to. I get that too. It seems like we have to make politically correct choices for everything from how our social media platforms deal with hate-speech to how our favorite toothpaste brand exploits the environment. It can be exhausting. But unfortunately big companies count on that exhaustion from information overload to get away with underhanded business practices.

On a side note, I published Devils Don’t Lie audiobook on November 13, 2023, and while all the other retailers accepted it for publication within a week, I am still waiting for it to appear on Audible. FindAway Voices (my audiobook distributer) has this note in their system today:
Notice: We are currently experiencing significant delays with Audible, and are unable to provide estimated timelines for when your audiobook will be available on Audible. This delay does not affect other partners.

I will let you know when it finally becomes available, as well as when Book 8 (now in production) is published as an audiobook. 

I’m glad to have a conversation about this topic. Let me know what you like or don’t like about Audible or audiobooks in general. Feel free to reply right in the comments.

In my next newsletter, look for an update on Valkyrie Bestiary Book 9 as well as my new series. Until then, happy reading (or listening).

***Note that only Valkyrie Bestiary books 6+ will be available from Kobo Plus. I can’t control the distribution of books 1-5, but they are all available at multiple retailers. To find the best retailer for you, visit the Valkyrie Bestiary Audiobook Page.

Valkyrie Bestiary Cage Fights
Semifinal Extravaganza!

The cage fights continue on the Valkyrie Bestiary FB Discussion Group. This week's match-up is the Mountain Devil vs a Nuckelavee. 
A giant bird made of flame vs a monstrous equine with flayed skin and razor sharp teeth. This fight will be brutal and a pyrotechnic show! Who do you favor for the win? Defend your answer. Be honest, be silly…just vote and be automatically entered to win great book prizes!

The recent battles have been pretty tense with readers finding it harder and harder to pick favorites to win. You can see the past winners and on-going schedule in the Cage Fight Arena.

Join the Valkyrie Bestiary FB Discussion Group to Vote!

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