Leading ebook promotion website BookBub is moving into the audiobook sector with the launch of Chirp, a service offering readers discount deals on audiobooks.
Chirp will also be offering authors and publishers a new way to promote their audiobooks with limited-time discounts on Featured Deals in the same way that BookBub operates.
However, Chirp appears to be a service that operates only through one relatively small sector of the audiobook market as BookBub has become a supported retailer at Findaway, a company that provides audiobook distribution services.
There is no mention of Amazon’s Audible, which is the dominant player in the audiobook market. Indie authors and self-publishers who use Amazon’s ACX to access the Audible platform don’t get price control on Audible, so it would be impossible to offer discounts without an agreement with Audible.
If an indie author distributes audiobooks through Findaway Voices they can set their prices but although they can distribute to Audible through Findaway, Audible can still price at their own points and pay royalties related to that price level.
Traditional publishers have a different agreement with Audible so it seems likely that their titles will predominate on Chirp.
The audiobook move by BookBub could spark a reaction from Amazon to offer audiobook advertising services for ACX authors, which indies have been wanting for some time.
BookBub says Chirp is still in beta and only a small percentage of BookBub’s members have been invited to join so far. It adds that it expects to extend the service to more readers and authors over the next year so the set-up could change depending on user feedback.
The audiobooks featured on the site at present are mainly very much backlist titles from traditional publishers. Some examples are: Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult offered at $4.99 compared with a claimed list price of $23.99, Alexander McCall Smith’s The Unbearable Lightness of Scones at $2.99 compared with $24.99, Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich ($1.99/$15.95), and The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter ($2.99/$24.95) — this last title is a fairly recent book published in 2017.
The four audiobooks picked out here are all available through Amazon’s Audible service which costs readers $14.95 a month for one audiobook and two Amazon originals. The service uses a credit system so you can store up credits to access more audiobooks.
By comparison, the Chirp service looks to offer an attractive deal for the more casual audiobook consumer as you could listen to all four of the books listed above for under $13.
If you are interested in having your audiobooks featured on Chirp in the future, or if you want to hear more about Chirp as it develops, you can join the partner waitlist here at the BookBub site.