We reported on Spotify’s expansion of its audiobooks feature last week, with premium subscribers in the UK and Australia able to listen to up to 15 hours a month.
That involved deals with book publishers, but now The Bookseller has been talking to authors’ agents to see how they feel about it. Their feelings are mixed.
“At the moment the audio situation feels fairly untested and opaque in terms of income for authors, and we can’t say for certain that we’re comfortable with what publishers are signing up to on our authors’ behalves but we also don’t want our authors to be left behind, so it’s probably a case of let’s try it and see,” said one agent, Juliet Pickering, of Blake Friedmann Agency.
“We have yet to get clarity from any publisher about how our authors are to be remunerated. While it is clearly a good thing that Audible will become less of a monopoly in the audio space, I fear we need to be circumspect until we are able to agree terms,” added another, Clare Alexander of Aitken Alexander Associates.
Those two quotes are a neat encapsulation of the wider views: pleased about Audible getting some proper competition in the audiobooks market, but keen for more transparency around the deals and how they will pay off for authors. Sound familiar?