16 Jul A Deep Dive into the Audiobook Market with Lance Fitzgerald (S2 E18)
S2 E18: A Deep Dive into the Audiobook Market with Lance Fitzgerald
By Marleen Seegers, Co-Founder of 2 Seas Agency and Host of The Make Books Travel Podcast
July 16, 2021
Welcome to a new episode of the Make Books Travel podcast, on which I’m speaking to Lance Fitzgerald, VP, Content and Business Development for Penguin Random House Audio.
On season 1 episode 15, I interviewed Jamie Dupras, General Manager of audiobook producer Deyan Audio. What I took away from that interview was that the audiobook format is an even more important, and explosively growing, player in our industry than I’d already thought.
So I’d been wanting to speak with Lance, an audiobook publisher, to better understand this growth, and discuss what trends he has seen. Among quite a diverse set of topics, we also dive into the areas of growth he and his team at Penguin Random House Audio are specifically looking at, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on audiobook sales and listener behavior.
Here are some of the questions I asked Lance:
- What was it like to move from a position of selling rights to acquiring rights?
- Can you provide some numbers to show the growth of the audiobook market in the US in recent years?
- Where are your growth opportunities?
- Do you have any insight into international audiobook markets and their numbers?
- How many titles does PRH Audio have in its catalogue?
- What’s the balance between original content and audiobook editions of published print books?
- How about the balance between in-house titles and acquisitions outside of PRH?
- Are all of PRH’s print books adapted by PRH Audio for the audiobook market, or do you sometimes also license these rights to a third party?
- How do you feel about agents or foreign rights sellers carving out audio rights when negotiating a book deal with a US publisher?
- Can you tell us about the importance of timing when considering the audiobook publication date versus the print publication date of a book?
- Do you also publish audiobooks in foreign languages?
- What are the leading genres for you at the moment?
- Are there any types of books/subjects that don’t work well on the audiobook market?
- How is the audiobook market for children’s books?
- Lance’s (audio)book recommendations:
– Seth Rogen’s Yearbook
– Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle
– Jenny Lawson’s Broken (in the best possible way)
- About Lance:
Lance Fitzgerald is VP, Content and Business Development for Penguin Random House Audio, overseeing the editorial acquisitions team.
Prior to joining PRH Audio, he worked in Subsidiary Rights for twenty-five years as Subsidiary Rights Director at Crown/Random House, Simon & Schuster and Penguin Putnam.
As Rights Director, he sold international rights for numerous best-selling authors including both President Barack Obama and Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Gillian Flynn, and Andy Weir.
He is a member of the Frankfurt Book Fair Foreign Rights Advisory Board, and has been a featured speaker and panelist at London and Frankfurt Book Fairs, the Writer’s League of Texas, Authors and Artists Representatives, the Columbia and NYU Summer Publishing courses, the Young-to-Publishing Group, and at the Slice Writers Conference.