As mentioned in our first post about creating audiobooks through Amazon’s company, ACX.com, we are going to continue the discussion about how this company is allowing self-published and small press authors to access the never-before-possible landscape of selling books in audio:

Where is it distributed?

When you create and publish your audiobook through ACX, it is distributed to three places: Audible.com, which is Amazon’s audiobook-exclusive new website, as well as Amazon.com and iTunes.

*As stated on the ACX website, Audible.com is the only distributor of audio content to iTunes at this time. Thus, to access iTunes, another huge market, you must publish through ACX to distribute through Audible and subsequently iTunes.

How do royalties work?

Authors are paid monthly via check or direct deposit (when there’s at least $50 to be paid), and the royalty payment is broken down as such:

1) Exclusive distribution with Audible/Amazon/iTunes means you will receive 40% of earnings (and remember, this exclusivity is technically supposed to last for seven years). This is either retained fully by you (if Producer was paid a one-time production fee) or is split 20% and 20% between the two of you if no money was spent up front.

2) Non-exclusive distribution means that you can sell your audiobook any other place that you please, and you will retain 25% of the royalties made.

See the full breakdown graph on ACX here.

How much are audiobooks sold for?  

Here is the estimation breakdown for audiobook prices from ACX’s site:

Under an hour = $7 or less         5-10 hours = $15-25

1-3 hours = $7-10                            10-20 hours = $20-30

3-5 hours = $10-20                        Over 20 hours = $25-35

ACX states that they cannot determine how iTunes prices an audiobook, but continue that the royalty payout by them will be the same as the purchase of said audiobook on Audible, regardless of its higher or lower price on iTunes.

Is there a physical CD made?

No, not by ACX. They do not produce actual CD’s/cases, and if you are wanting to pursue that with an independent producer/creator, you must select the non-exclusive distribution agreement with ACX (and that smaller 25% royalty rate).

What if it’s terrible quality?

ACX has a lengthy list of guidelines that Producers must adhere to, and if after two rounds of additional edits after the first submission you are still unhappy with the quality, there can be a termination of the agreement (though a fee may apply; read the Production Standard Terms here).

An extra way to make money through Audible’s $50 Bounty Payments

In an effort to increase interest in Audible, every time an AudibleListener (subscribers on the Audible.com website) makes their first purchase your book, you receive a $50 payment (if you are in the Royalty Share program, its split equally between the Author/Rights Holder and the Producer). Thus, it’s even more useful to promote your audiobook on social media, especially to new users of Audible. For more information on the terms and distribution of this bounty payment, go here.

These posts have delved considerably into the production that is ACX audiobooks, but we strongly urge you to continue exploring the ACX website to fully understand everything that goes into the creation, rights distribution and more before embarking.

And as always, Midnight Publishing staff is available at any time for book consulting of any kind, including audiobook assistance. Contact us today!