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Life has become a whirlwind for everyone, each minute racing past, finding us in a never-ending race against time, hustling to complete this or that. We have become so overwhelmed with tasks that 24 hours a day seem almost too less to attain closure. To get everything done on time, we are constantly on the search to unearth solutions and technologies that can save our precious time and energy, while allowing us to multi-task.
When I talk about something as simple and pleasurable as reading a book, how many of us can actually afford to snuggle leisurely in bed, wrapped around in a hand-made quilt, with a cup of steaming tea in hand and a good book in another? As a result, people are deviating further away from books, after all, who has the time anyway! However, since there is an app for everything, even an app that instantly gratifies your desire to push a button when you feel like it and one that only says “Hodor”! Ironic right? How about if you could get a mobile app that reads to you, just like those coveted bedtime stories you couldn’t seem to sleep without in another life it seems? An app that lets you get absorbed in the fascinating world of literature while you do everything else?
Audiobook apps are a haven for reading aficionados who have had to put their reading recreation to rest due to a hectic schedule. They allow you to indulge in your favorite books while you are roasting a chicken for lunch, sweating it out in the gym, mowing your lawn, stuck in incessant traffic, or on your way to the grocery store. Some people argue that a simple mp3 player could have sufficed, but can an mp3 player suggest books that you might be interested in by gauging your reading preferences? Can it bookmark your predispositions automatically, in case you change your mind later? Sorry, but it ain’t exactly a smart cookie!
One such app: the Amazon Audible, boasts over a whopping 50 million downloads to date, and listeners around the globe have downloaded more than 1.6 billion hours of reading material via it. Such ubiquitousness of audible books got us thinking about the challenges that web developers have to contend with when it comes to formulating an intricate audiobook application, such as Amazon’s Audible!
Strike While The Iron Is Hot: Why Should You Consider Developing An Audiobook App?
When it comes to the publishing industry, an audiobook is a rapidly escalating segment, one that is bound to take mobile application development in Dubai by storm. The success of Amazon Audible has paved the way for retailers to invest heavily in the development of audiobook apps and it is also lucrative for publishers to promote their catalogs via it.
Research has proven that the audiobook app industry is projected to reach the $2.8 billion mark, and since 2013, the number of audiobook apps has jumped from 20,000 to a whopping 43,000 as of last year. Not to mention, the popularity of these apps is giving EBooks a run for their money. This makes us question ourselves: why is the audiobook app industry so hot these days?
The Growing Popularity of Audiobook Apps
I would credit the rise of the audiobook app industry to Amazon Audible since its unprecedented offerings and functionalities are shaping the entire industry and providing a new way of thinking to the world. In an era where we have an app for literally everything, nobody realized the importance of an app for listening to audiobooks until Amazon came out with its brainchild. The launch of Audible not only augmented customer interest in reading significantly but also caused the company revenues to soar manifolds as well. Before Audible, we either had to go through the drudgery of downloading audio files to our desktops and transferring them to our MP3 devices to listen to an audiobook or buy endless CDS, one for each written work. Now, all you have to do is to download the book directly to your phone, plug in your headset, and find yourself losing the wonders of your favorite books!
In addition to Audible, The Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), another boomer by Amazon, has also created a buzz in the marketplace for authors, publishers and narrators to create and exchange audiobooks for mutual benefit.
The Ideal Business Model for your Audiobook Apps
Did you know that an average audiobook listener downloads about 17 audiobooks per year? Audible offers more than 180,000 audiobooks to its users and charges a minimal membership fee of $14.95 per month after the free 30-day trial has ended. The membership fee gives you access to one free audiobook per month and a further discount of 30% on any future purchases. Annual plans are also available to facilitate fans.
Such a subscription model seems ideal for an audiobook app that people get hung up on. A plethora of other audiobook services, such as Downpour and Scribd, are also leveraging such a model where users are getting access to one audiobook a month. Upon its launch, Scribd came up with a seemingly too-good-to-be-true subscription model where users could get their hands on as many audiobooks as they aspired for each month. However, after Scribd noticed that the model wasn’t lucrative enough, they altered their subscription plan to fall more in line with audible. Their current monthly plan gives readers access to only one audiobook per month, charging more for any additional titles.
Dealing with the Right Holders
All audiobooks sold on Audible and fabricated using ACX have to part with 25 percent of all sales revenue in the favor of right holders if the book is not exclusively available on audible, while right holders solicit a 40% cut for books that are exclusive to Audible. iTunes follow the same policies when it comes to right holders, while a host of other credible platforms promise a flat 35% cut to right holders.
However, what makes Audible stand out from the rest and appear as the golden egg laying hen to publishers is the fact that all its audiobooks are sharable via Emails, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and SMS. Any costs incurred during the distribution of these titles is taken care of by Audible. Each time a user downloads a book and shares it with peers, right owners get rightly paid for each subsequent listen. This facilitates individual publishers by allowing them to reach a wider audience without breaking their bank.
How can you create content for an audiobook app?
While ideally, you would want to fill your app with all the content created and owned by you, this is a far-fetched vision and one that can cost you an arm and leg. Here are a few feasible ways to fill up your audible book app with viable content:
Marketplace for Content Creators
Although you can create content in-house for your audiobook app, it takes a lot of efforts and requires a fully functional content creation team, responsible for fabricating content for the readers. Certainly, this is a time intensive route. Why go through such a grueling process when there exists ACX: a marketplace that brings under the same umbrella anyone involved in the creation process of an audiobook, such as right holders, narrators, publishers, and authors. For each specific book, the right holders can create jobs for pertinent tasks in the marketplace and solo narrators or studios can choose any titles that they are interested in taking forward. Publishers then have an advantage of distributing the final audiobook from ACX directly to their own websites, iTunes or Audible itself.
Instead of selling directly to users, a lot of companies offer APIs to retailers to allow them access to titles which they can later push out to readers. Findaway is one such app that deals with over 200 publishers and has over 100,000 titles to its name. Playsters, Scribd, and other credible companies use its APIs to sell to customers.
An App of your Own!
With the proliferation of professional mobile app development in Dubai, it has gotten imperatively easier to create an audiobook app of your own and start monetizing it. You can also include features in your app which can help deliver the latest articles and podcasts to your target customers. Another viable idea is to create a strategic partnership with premium publishers and newspapers to keep your customer abreast of any developments without much ado.
Since the audiobook application development is still in its infancy, we are expecting some serious innovations in the apps that have been rolled out in the market or the ones that are in the making. None the less, audiobook apps are certainly going to bring back the trend of book reading to the masses through the ears.