The reason why only a few M T McGuire books are on Audible.

Please accept my apologies for the lack of Hamgeean Misfit books on Audible. There are sound business reasons behind my decision not to publish those … 

It’s about their sales strategy mostly. Audible’s sales strategy is about selling books, yes, but above this their overarching strategy is about achieving market dominance. If this renders some books unsellable, tough. Three of the latest four books I’ve written are under four hours the other is three minutes short of ten. This means Audible prices them outrageously high to make a credit look good value. 

This is Audible’s pricing structure, taken from their website: 

    1. under 1 hour: under $7
      1 — 3 hours: $7 — $10
      3 — 5 hours: $10 — $20
      5 — 10 hours: $15 — $25
      10 — 20 hours: $20 — $30
      over 20 hours: $25 — 35 

    To see this on Audible click here.

    However, at $10 they are too expensive to buy and at 3 or 4 hours each, too short to be worth a credit — after all the 64 hour K’Barthan Box Set is one credit, as are the separate books in that series. That’s why, so far, it’s just the K’Barthan Series — the four separate books and the box set — plus Unlucky Dip. If Audible would allow me to price my own books, I could put the shorter ones up and price them at … I dunno, $4.99/£3.99 each but … no can do. And of course there is another big factor …

    … Audiblegate and The Equitable Rights Movement.

    You might have heard about the audiblegate scandal recently. Briefly, Audible made a mistake processing returns which showed they’d been clawing back the cost of returns, withholding royalties, against their own terms and conditions and without telling authors. There was an outcry, and some concessions. However, they refuse to give returns figures from before 1st Jan 2021 and they refuse to refund authors and narrators for any of these behind-the-curtain returns up to 1st Jan 2021 either. Some authors could be, literally, thousands out of pocket.

    From a supplier’s point of view, Audible is a nightmare. Just to take my own books as an example, over the last three months or so my rate of returns has started to climb again. This, coincided with the advent of Audible Plus. This is a subscription service which was added, free to all accounts in July. It only contains books by Audible’s own publishing houses or their ‘special friends’ which does not include mine. My sales dropped by two thirds, meanwhile, returns have suddenly started to climb. Something’s going on but I will never discover what. Audible are high-handed, they act without logic, and when they do act, they give no reasons. When they punish their creative parters, or take measures against us, they actually refuse to give any information as to what the transgression is that they are punishing. They suspend accounts with no indication as to why — and often it will be something very small like a sentence in the listing text or some such — leaving authors at a loss as to how to fix the problem and how to bring their account back into line. Yet, at the same time, Audible is rife with scammers selling books the rights to which they do not own. Audible are extremely difficult to work with because they allow no autonomy and share zero meaningful information with their partners.

    Why am I telling you this?

    Well … out of Audiblegate has come The Equitable Rights Movement (TERM); The Equitable Rights Movement which is, in its own words; 

    ‘An incorporated not-for-profit organisation created to manage and promote awareness of the Audiblegate campaign and defend against the misuse of rights holders’ intellectual property and the financial and moral abuse by Amazon’s Audible.’

    After researching Audible’s practises and gathering information the TERM team realised that a lot of Audible’s actions are not just grossly unfair but also illegal. And so the fight begins … and the David that is TERM is stepping up to face the Goliath that is Audible and its backing parent company, Amazon.

    How is TERM going to take on the giant?

    Well, here’s where the process stands right now — October, 2021. In an attempt to make it a bit more exciting, I’m going to paint the situation using the medium of dance a 1980s television favourite.

    Basically, we have the small business, run by the attractive lady and her dad who is a WW2 veteran with great courage but a dicky heart — that’s us authors, rights holders and narrators. Then we have the bad guys, who are terrorising them, trying to muscle in and close them down — that’s Audible. TERM? They are the A Team. They’ve seen our plight and they’ve stepped in to help. I guess we’re now at the point where the A Team know what’s going on but they’re locked in a shed. If life follows TV, this is the moment where they will build some insane machine out of the old stuff they find in there (note to self, never lock the A Team away with lots of metal things that might be made into a gun, suitable propellants and an acetylene torch).

    TERM want to bring a class action against Audible. They have the information, they have the lawyers, and after the first week’s fundraising, they have just over half the cash. So I guess they are the A Team in the shed there. They have the suitable propellants and the bits of metal that might be made into a gun, they just need to find the acetylene torch hidden behind the work bench; the rest of the cash.

    Audible owns the main audiobook sales platform and a whole stable of producers. They overcharge rights holders for access (60%-87% as opposed to 15%-30% on similar sales platforms in other industries), and favour their own studios’ products. This is just wrong.

    What next?

    Well the first step is to compile a memorandum outlining the company’s illegal behaviours, which are many and varied. This is what TERM is currently raising money to do.

    I like to think I’m a realist. I know that life is never fair but at the same time the world is also what we make it. If I can help make my part of the world fairer I will. And that is why I am telling you about this.

    Firstly, because I believe that I should act against injustice where I can so I want to spread the word about Audible’s sharp practices to as many readers as I can.

    Secondly because, I wanted you to understand why my short books are not on Audible (although they are in the library and all other vendors so they’re still out there). Short does not tie in with Audible’s plans for world domination so, on that platform, at any rate, anything under seven hours is unmarketable.

    For a much better explanation than mine, the Audiblegate site is here:

    https://www.audiblegate.com.

    There’s also an excellent summary on their funding appeal page which you can find here: https://donorbox.org/audiblegate.com

    If you would like to donate, please do, it would be fantastic. However, please don’t feel obliged to give anything (I believe the minimum donation is pretty stiff) but if you do and you can, it would be most welcome. Alternatively, if you just want to keep up with what’s happening and spread the word, that would be pretty fantastic too. Here are the four main places to find out more, or support Audiblegate. 

    More information from the Audiblegate webite.

    TERM/Audiblegate’s fundraising page

    Click to join the Audiblegate mailing list which is run by the Alliance of Independent Authors

    or 

    join the Audiblegate Facebook group