Audio rights making waves

skills for publishing

This is a guest post from Tom Chalmers, Managing Director at IPR License.

It’s a bit of a contradiction in terms but one of the fastest growing areas of the rights and licensing sector is also the one which we arguably hear the least from. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the audiobook industry is currently worth somewhere in the region of $2.5bn to $2.6bn per year and growing. However, the amount of rights business being written often goes under the radar.

Here at IPR License we saw consistent, and substantial, demand for audio rights throughout 2014. This time last year we reported that licensing demand for international audio rights rose by 32 per cent in Q2 2014. This was largely based on publisher to publisher figures and whilst this business continues to grow, more internal analysis shows that enquiries for audio rights for self-published works have more than doubling (58 per cent) in the first half of 2015, when compared to H2 2014 figures.

The most recent of these enquiries, which moved swiftly through to completion via IPR’s bespoke transactional platform TradeRights, was the unabridged English language audio rights sale of Mateguas Island by Linda Watkins to Tantor Media.

It’s really positive news that titles from our self-published members are generating so much interest throughout the audio book community. Reprints, translation and TV/film rights tend to be foremost in the thoughts of most self-published authors when it comes to selling rights, but areas such as audio can provide a good source of revenue.

The audiobook market has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. In 2007 a mere 3,073 audiobook titles were said to have been produced, with this figure rising exponentially to around 12,000 in 2011. 2013 saw many leading commentators suggest that somewhere in the region of 20,000 audiobooks had become available. This number was then suggested to have grown to over 35,000 releases by major publishers over the course of 2014.
I would be guessing if I was to estimate 2015 figures so far, but it’s fair to say that this growing trend will continue as increasing numbers of competitors are emerging to challenge Amazon’s audio service for self-publishers, Audible. And thanks to this sustained growth throughout this sector, the importance attached to maximising rights and licensing revenue certainly shouldn’t be underestimated by publishers and authors alike moving forward.

Related Articles

Sign up to our Newsletter


* indicates required

BookMachine Ltd. will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices.