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Why "Hindenburg"? An Interview With Chris Mottes, CEO of Hindenburg Systems

We had the privilege of interview Chris Mottes, CEO of Hindenburg Systems, about his company and the process of producing audiobooks. Hindenburg was one of our Digital Book World 2018 exhibitors and a great example of an innovator within the publishing space. Check out the full interview below.

What does Hindenburg do?

Hindenburg develops audio production tools to remove the technical divide between storytellers and their audience.

We primarily provide audiobook, broadcast and podcast production solutions.

Why "Hindenburg?"

"Why choose the name Hindenburg for your software?" is the one question we are almost always asked. You can image the number of ‘crash and burn’ jokes ...

The truth is, some historical context is needed in order to answer the question.

In 1937, Chicago reporter Herbert Morrison witnessed The Hindenburg Disaster. A German passenger airship, the LZ 129 Hindenburg, caught fire and crashed while attempting to dock at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. Covering the tragic accident, Mr. Morrison created radio history as he gave the world’s first eyewitness news report.

His professional and accurate descriptions combined with a very emotional response to this unexpected disaster have made the recordings a seminal moment in audio history.

So while it is true that The Hindenburg Disaster was a tragedy, it also marked the birth of mobile reporting and expanded the possibilities for global communication.

For us at Hindenburg, it really is all about supporting the production of great radio stories.

This is why we pay homage to the Hindenburg Disaster.

What experience does Hindenburg have producing audiobooks?

Quite a bit actually! :)

Case in point: The Library of Congress produces thousands of audiobooks annually using Hindenburg.

The better question, perhaps, is “Why did the Library of Congress choose Hindenburg?”

Prior to Hindenburg, the Library of Congress used between three to five different software packages in the audiobook production chain, requiring highly specialised staff to serve each area.

The process typically took a week of post-production per book and involved a lot of manual intervention to ensure compatibility between the different tools on the slow slog to completion.

In 2013, when the Library of Congress was looking for an integrated, end-to-end solution —that allowed them to record and produce a complete audio book or magazine in a streamlined environment while improving quality and reducing the number of mistakes— Hindenburg was a natural fit.

In fact, Hindenburg had already developed an audio book creator in conjunction with the Danish and Norwegian Talking Book Libraries that solved many of the the same challenges faced by the Library of Congress.

In the end, by switching to HABC, the Library of Congress was able to introduce more flexible workflows and prepare for

the future with text and audio formats like EPUB3.

What is HABC?

Hindenburg Audio Book Creator is a modern tool for fast, end- to-end production of audio and EPUB3 books.

In one sentence, why should narrators choose Hindenburg ABC in one sentence?

HABC allows narrators to intuitively record high-quality books and leverage automated sound engineering.

What did Hindenburg enjoy the most about Digital Book World 2018?

We shared a time-limited trial of our software as well as gave away subscription packages to winners of DBW Awards. We had a great time sharing our story with attendees and other participating companies.

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