Thinking of publishing audiobooks for passive income? Perhaps you’ve seen some of these YouTube ads talking about how it’s the new and improved way to make money on Amazon. That you can just outsource the whole thing, throw it up on Audible, and go explore Thailand while royalties trickle in, right? And maybe you’ve got some money set aside and you’re considering buying a course, going through it, and launching your own audiobook business. But before you do, you thought you’d do one last search. And here you are.
So let’s cruise through the pros and cons real quick, shall we? And by the end of this page, you’ll know whether or not audiobook publishing is for you. By the way, I consulted a number of audiobook experts and advocates to round up this list. Especially the fine looking gentleman you see in the pictures aka Dale from The Self-Publishing With Dale podcast. Okay, advantage number one is that it’s not even close to being saturated. Not that many people know about it; fewer, still, actually do it.
Whereas, literally, millions of people are trying to make money with Amazon FBA and Shopify dropshipping and things like that. Another pro is the cost. If you’re entrepreneurial but you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to invest. If you’re doing the whole private label thing, that’s how much you’d need to get started. Not the case with Audible audiobooks, where you can launch with a grand or so.
Another plus is the perceived value of audiobooks. People understand the value of audio. They’re willing to pay fifteen or twenty bucks for a good audiobook even though they’ll only pay ninety-nine cents for a Kindle eBook. That’s a ginormous difference in margins, huh? There’s a convenience factor with audiobooks and therefore people are happy to pay a premium for it. They also realize that a well put together audiobook has a higher cost of production associated with it.
Perhaps best of all, audiobooks are digital products. Once it’s made, you can sell it an unlimited number of times without any increase in expenses. And if you’re creating them on evergreen topics, they really can pay you month after month for years to come. But there’s no such thing as a perfect business, is there? And anyone who tells you otherwise is definitely trying to sell you something. Probably a course for one thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven bucks, if I’m being honest.
So what are some downsides? The most obvious is that it’s a pain in the butt to get them produced. It’s gonna take a lot of planning and paying other people and waiting around for them to fulfill. Second, it’s easy for other people to copy your winning audiobooks. They can rip your topic, title, cover art, listing, basically the whole thing. Sucks, but it’s part of the game. The third negative is that there’s not a lot of information, tools, services, or true authorities for this space. What’s available, therefore, is gonna cost more.
By far the biggest downside, though, is that Amazon controls pretty much the entire audiobook market. Roughly ninety percent of all audiobook sales go through Audible. So you have no choice but to build your business there, right? What’s scary is that Amazon is known for ruthlessly banning their own affiliates, sellers, and publishers, even for the smallest of infractions. Or sometimes there was no infraction; they just got it wrong. And if you think Jeff Bezos cares that your ten K per month income was wiped out overnight, he doesn’t. So there’s that.