I still have more questions than answers about Audible’s two-week-old spat with German book publishers, and now has added to the confusion.
When I first reported on this story eleven days ago I suggested that Audible was trying to force the publishers to agree to new payment terms which included a flat royalty rate. That matched with Audible’s actions last year, and it’s what came out of Google Translate, but it’s not what Buch Report is saying.
According to their report today as well as the comment Daniel Lenz left in the comment section of last week’s post, Audible is pushing publishers into a new contract for a subscription service not unlike Kindle Unlimited.
While you might call Audible current service a subscription, it’s really closer to a book-of-the-month club. The new one would reportedly be more like Kindle Unlimited or Scribd, each of which will let you read or stream as many ebook or audiobooks as you like.
Or at least that is what is being reported; I am passing along the information but I am having trouble believing it, myself. I would have thought we would hear similar reports from the US, but nothing has leaked.
Still, it’s not impossible. Kindle Unlimited launched in July 2014 with a limited selection of audiobooks, and in April Amazon added audiobooks to the German branch of KU. And of course Scribd expanded its catalog in November with 30,000 audiobooks. They later added 9,000 audiobook titles from Penguin Random House.
So it is possible that Audible is pushing German publishers into a streaming service, and holding the threat of delisting over their heads? Yes.
But I still want to see more proof. For example, I want more details on the program, and I want specifics on the payment terms. At this point we have neither.