Amanda D’Acierno is a senior vice president and the publisher of Penguin Random House Audio, where she oversees both adult and children’s audio publishing. She is a longtime advocate for audiobooks, having led innovative efforts to spread the word about audio through regional and national awareness campaigns.
Amanda is also a speaker at DBW 2017, where she will join a panel of audiobook experts to discuss the future of the format.
We spoke with Amanda about her panel, as well as why audiobooks have recently exploded in growth, and where she sees the format going.
What is involved in your role as publisher of Penguin Random House Audio?
I oversee our entire publishing strategy, from acquisitions and editorial, to content production, manufacturing and operations, marketing and publicity.
Why do you believe audiobooks have exploded in popularity?
Audiobook growth and popularity have always been tied to technology. Many of the major publishing houses were spurred to create their own audio publishing programs after the release of the Sony Walkman in the late 1970s, which made audio content portable for the first time. Likewise, as consumers widely adopted first the iPod, followed by smartphones and tablets, that encouraged incredible growth, as listeners could for the first time carry an entire bookshelf in their pocket.
The overlap between the boom in podcasts and audiobooks is also significant: podcasts are seeing their own explosive growth and buzz, and helping create a renewed appreciation for high-quality spoken word content.
Are audiobooks converting print and ebook readers, adding new readers to the market, or both?
One of the biggest benefits of listening to an audiobook is that you can experience a book during time when otherwise you wouldn’t be able to read—either digitally or in print—like while you’re in the kitchen, doing chores around the house, working on a craft project, or out for a run. Audiobook listeners are typically also voracious readers, and listening helps them fit more books into their lives.
What do you see as the future for audiobooks?
We at Penguin Random House Audio certainly think the growth of the format will continue, as there are millions of readers who haven’t yet tried audiobooks. Overall, the industry has also been increasing the total number of audiobooks produced by leaps and bounds, which helps fuel growth.
If a reader is interested in trying an audiobook but can’t find the title they’re looking for, then that’s a lost opportunity to hook someone on the audio format. To that end, we’re on track to increase our title count by 30 percent in 2017, adding production and operations staff to publish more than 1,100 audiobooks next year.
Why did you want to be a part of DBW 2017?
As a somewhat niche but quickly expanding area of publishing, it’s important for us as audio publishers to be a part of the overall conversation about books and the future of our industry. Digital Book World fosters forward-thinking conversations and opportunities to educate colleagues about our area of the industry, both of which are valuable to us as audiobook publishing continues to grow.
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