Starting March 12th, 2014, ACX will begin its new royalty share payment system. Gone is the 50% royalty, and kiss the escalator royalty rate system good-bye as well. From that date forward, all newly produced audiobooks using the royalty share system will only earn a 40% commission. And even if you sell a bazillion audiobooks, that rate will never ever change.
(Understand this: you, the narrator, won’t get 40%. You split that with the author. So you’re only getting 20%.)
Why, you may ask, are they doing this? In the yellow box below is the official text from ACX.
Please take note that the quote in the yellow box below is the original text from their website. They have since updated the text to sound more… how shall we say… gentle? (You can see the updated version here: ACX’s website)
But here is the original announcement:
Hold on a sec!
Let’s actually break this down…
How does lowering the royalty rate encourage more people to produce audiobooks for ACX? Isn’t that backwards thinking?
Personally, I would think that raising the royalty rate would encourage more authors to submit their works to ACX for narrators to produce. And that would also encourage more narrators to audition for jobs.
My reply: so what?
You are NOW taking more money out of my pocket and the pockets of thousands of other audiobook producers and authors.
(And what’s the difference between “traditional audiobook publishers” and other audiobook publishers anyway?)
What ACX is actually saying is that they want the narrators and authors to invest extra time and energy outside of the audiobook production process to become advertisers for them!
“But David” you say “ACX will pay you $25 (you only get half of that $50 bonus) if someone joins Audible and buys your audiobook.” That’s true. But that person must purchase your audiobook first!
It won’t always happen that way. You won’t always get your $25. But Audible will get a new subscriber from your unrewarded marketing efforts.
And remember: because that person subscribed, Audible will be making money off of that person LONG after you got your $25.
Do you see? ACX is just trying to get the authors and producers to become their marketing force for them.
Let’s put this another way:
Apple’s App Store only takes 30% of a sale to cover costs.
ACX is now taking 60%!
App Store developers enjoy a 70% profit.
ACX Authors and narrators now only get 20% each.
ACX didn’t write all the books for sale, nor did they record and edit all of the audiobooks there. But they want 60% of the money.
I could be wrong
I’ll admit that maybe I’m flying off the handle here. Maybe I am wrong. I’ve been wrong before.
So I open the comment section below to anyone (especially someone from ACX) who can show me using good ol’ math to prove me wrong.
Show me that this new rate system really is in the best interest of the authors and producers who work very hard to create the audiobooks that we love to listen to.
If no-one can prove me wrong, then I’ll have to agree with what audiobook narrator Bettye Zoller said in a recent webinar: