The First Subscription Based Digital Audiobook Site Launches

By: Phillip Jones

A new subscription-based digital audiobook service has launched with ambitions to double the audiobook market in the UK and revolutionise the way book-lovers pay for digital content.

Bardowl, a Bath-based start-up and previous winner of a FutureBook Innovation Award, offers a "Spotify" model costing users £9.99 a month for unlimited access to audiobooks available via a streaming service: it is available via a free iOS app, designed for iPhones or the iPad.

The company launches with about 100 business-related titles and with the aim of quickly broadening the range. Titles at launch include Luke Johnson's The Maverick, Felix Dennis' How to Get Rich, and Karren Brady's Playing to Win, as well as business and management classics from authors such as Stephen J Levitt, Michael Lewis and John Adair.

The service is the brainchild of mobile tech innovators Chris Book and Neil Chapman, who met at Orange, and were joined in 2010 by former Virgin Publishing m.d. Rob Shreeve as a shareholder and publishing director. The business has seed-funding from an anonymous investor, and will look to bring in up to £1m in venture capital funding post launch. Publishers with content ready for launch include Penguin, Macmillan, AudioGo, Wiley, and specialist audio publishers Summersdale and Creative Content. Bardowl is offering publishers a 50:50 share of net receipts, and will provide full reporting on how their titles are used and for how long they are listened to. CLICK HERE to read the full article.
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