You won’t surprise anyone with audiobooks, although they began to gain the greatest popularity only in the last year and a half. Experts note that the market for publicly available audiobooks in our country is just beginning to take shape.
Just three years ago, “voiced” books cost 2-3 times more than ordinary printed ones. But gradually, their prices began to decline, which was reflected accordingly in the volume of sales of audio literature, which increased significantly.
However, certain problems in this market still exist. For example, there is still no legal framework that would regulate the activities of audiobook publishers. For this reason, the latter are forced to rely on the provisions developed for phonograms and paper publications, which often leads to legal difficulties.
There is another problem – in our country there are practically no specialized outlets selling audiobooks. In most cases, they are sold in regular bookstores (and much less stock than their traditional paper counterparts), or music disc and software departments.
Although some domestic publishers of audio books have gradually begun to open their own retail outlets or distribute audio books through their retail networks for the sale of audio and video products (for example, the Soyuz sound recording concern).
But still, despite the growing popularity of audiobooks, their publication in our country can hardly be called a profitable business. Although experts promise that the situation will change in the near future, and investments in the development of such a business will soon pay off with interest. However, profit can be made right now if you find your own, not yet busy direction. Such is, for example, the release of various audio courses.
Of course, even now you can buy CDs with linguistic and other training courses. But, as a rule, these manuals are more like audio phrasebooks designed to help you learn a few common phrases in a foreign language without delving into grammar. In most cases, the recordings on the discs come as an appendix to a regular printed textbook and contain some material for practicing listening comprehension.
However, according to surveys, learning foreign languages with the help of language courses is becoming more and more popular in our country. For example, according to the results of a sociological survey conducted in Moscow, it turned out that more than 75% of respondents regularly listen to audio books while traveling in public transport, in a car or on vacation. Moreover, educational literature makes up a little less than half of the total volume of the most popular audio publications. Therefore, the publication of a specialized series of voiced educational literature can turn out to be quite a profitable business right now.
Finding authors to develop such educational audio courses, if desired, is not difficult at all. As a rule, all foreign language teachers who have a pedagogical education, extensive work experience and, consequently, their own methodological developments, sooner or later think about publishing their own textbook. Publishing a regular textbook is expensive and rarely pays off. But the development of an audio course can be a good source of additional income for its author.
In addition to developing, editing and reviewing the course and teaching materials, the stages of publishing an audiobook include recording and replicating it.
A professional speaker can voice the Russian-language part of the course (from 500 rubles per hour). However, in order to save money, you can turn to amateurs for help.
Examples and texts in foreign languages are best voiced either by the teacher himself or by students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages. Voiceover services by a native speaker may not be affordable for a novice publisher (from 1-1.5 thousand rubles per hour).
Having your own recording studio is also not a cheap pleasure (at least $5,000). Therefore, at first it is better to rent a studio for 500-800 rubles per hour.
When all the material is ready, the disk can be given to production. You will have to spend at least 100 thousand rubles on the purchase of discs, recording, rolling the image onto a disk, packaging and its design.
In addition, additional expenses will be spent on the publication of a printed manual that will duplicate the recording on a disk (from 20 rubles per brochure, depending on the volume and circulation). Include in your expenses the fees to the authors of audio courses and the payment for the services of a lawyer to draw up an author’s agreement.
You can sell educational audio books both through the usual bookstores and using your own online store. Do not neglect both traditional and online advertising – all this will help increase the recognition of your products and attract the attention of buyers.
It may take several months to develop and record an audio course, but with the right promotion, you can recoup all your costs of publishing it in the first 2-3 months after the discs go on sale.