I slipped into the Sauna at the local health club at the end of my work-out the other day. I was alone for the first few minutes, then a man I knew came in, followed by two young men I didn’t know. The man I knew asked me about my book sales, and somehow the conversation wound around to one of the younger men asking me if I’d thought of putting my books on “podio.”
Since I’d never heard of podio, I asked what it was. The young guy said it’s audio books that you listen to on your iPod. He told me the specific device he had, but the name was out of my brain by the time I got to paper and pencil. He said a lot of authors have become bestsellers after getting their start on podio. He was a commuter and listened to podio books and magazines “all the time.” I wanted to ask more questions, but I was overheating and had to get out before I passed out.
Later in the day, I sat down for a little podio research, and started at http://www.podiobooks.com.
There are several negatives, but perhaps the positives out weigh them. Authors donate their work and the books are free to the subscribers. The answer to the question in the FAQ section, “But shouldn’t the author get paid?” is “Certainly! Creative people have a right to receive compensation for their hard work. That’s one reason why we don’t charge authors to be a part of Podiobooks.com, and why we give them the lion’s share of any contribution made by listeners.
“Podiobooks.com is simply one more arrow in the quiver that makes up the writer’s career. To carry the analogy further, writers need to shoot as many arrows as possible in just the right places to ensure they have a writing career, and not just “a book”. This site won’t do that alone. Heck, nothing will do that alone.”
And “Can I donate to support the authors?” The answer is “Please do! You’ll find a donation link associated with every book on the site. When you donate, we’ll give 75% of the donation to the author of the book you have selected.”
Podiobooks has 8367 episodes available for download in 426 titles, and transmit books to 70,403 members. They give author guidelines for producing an audio version, such as using music in the background, keeping each recorded episode between 20 and 40 minutes, which is many peoples’ commute time, and using quality recording equipment.
There were a few other sites I checked. At http://www.booksinmotion.com, people can either purchase the audio or podio version. The book featured on the front page of the site is available on an audio CD for 31.99, or downloadable for $14.95.
A new site, http://www.weread4you.com/ is due to be released in August and promises 20,000 audio books to buy.
Another site you can join is http://www.simplyaudiobooks.com/. There is 15 day free trial, the for your $26.98 so you can get unlimited CD audio book rentals on the 2-at-a-time plan. If you cancel your membership before the trial period is up there is no charge.
There are many options for people. The audio book business is huge. I’ve had several people ask if my books will be available on tape. Besides the commuters, there are any number of people who need or prefer audio. Some are blind, others have lost their ability to read, still others may need their eyes to watch kids at the beach, but can listen to a book. When my mother lost her ability to read, due to dementia, we got audio books for her and she loved them.
Are you a fan of audio books? What are your thoughts?
Christine Husom is the Second Wind Publishing author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River