Sanderson vs Audible

Back in 2022, massively prolific fantasy author Brandon Sanderson went out on a limb to stand by independent authors regarding some of Audible’s rather unfair practices. To gain some clout in this, he refused to release his Secret Projects books to Audible, instead selling them on small audiobook platforms.

Well, Sanderson just announced that Audible has finally listened! At least, a little bit. But as he himself says in his blog post announcement, “every little bit helps”.

You can read his big announcement about it here.

Audible had promised to increase rates (a little bit) and to give better reporting and transparency about how the audible credits are applied. And they will start paying monthly instead of quarterly. That’s good.

However, the big problem with Audible’s payments to authors remains unaddressed.

An audiobook might be priced at $29, and 40% of that is $11.60. That sounds great right? Authors must be making a fortune!

But no one buys audiobooks for that price. Instead, they by audiobooks using Audible credits, which are worth anywhere from $5 to $10, and 40% of $5 is $2. Yes, that all an authors get for an audiobook sale. The rest goes to Audible. And remember, authors must hire voice actors to narrate their book, costing thousands of dollars. So on top of the fact that we not only write the book, but must also pay $4000 to $6000 or more to make the audiobook, we also only get $2 per sale, and sometimes less.

But Audible still refuses to address that problem, which is of course the real problem.

Even so, Brandon Sanderson continues to fight the good fight and help the little guy. He has the most clout in the industry, and if anyone can bring the much-needed change, he certainly can!

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