Three Authors’ Associations Address Status of Talks

A coalition of author organizations in the US and UK calls for more transparency from Audible to give authors ‘a true picture of how their income is being calculated.’

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘We Will Continue Our Dialogue’

As we reported in late November, Audible‘s initial response to what writers called #Audiblegate was soundly rejected as inadequate by authors’ organizations.

Originally, Audible had allowed a subscriber to return or exchange an audiobook within 365 days—and had deducted an author’s royalties from her or his account when that happened if the audiobook was distributed through ACX, the Amazon-owned Audiobook Creation Exchange. This and a lack of an accounting for authors as to unit purchases and returns, the author corps stressed, was unacceptable, with some writers saying they’d seen between 15 and 50 percent of their anticipated ACX revenue withdrawn this way.

What Audible came back with was a reduction from 365 days for returns to seven days, pledging, “Audible will pay royalties for any title returned more than seven days following purchase.”

The writers were less than fully impressed, and a strong coalition of international author advocacy organizations and programs has continued putting pressure on the audiobook giant.

On Friday (January 22), a statement was issued by the coalition’s three leading author organizations—the Authors Guild (based in the United States), the Society of Authors (based in the United Kingdom), and the Alliance of Independent Authors (“ALLi,’ anchored in the UK but broadly international, traditionally with better than half its membership in the States and other countries).

The bottom line: All the authors’ demands “have not been met.”

And for a second time in less than a year, the ability of a large, coordinated, well-directed effort on behalf of rights holders is proving difficult for this Amazon-owned Audible to tune out.


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