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Audiobooks Without Audible: The Hard Lessons I’ve Learned Routing Around Amazon

Publishers Weekly: “With a Kickstarter campaign now underway for the audio edition of his new book, ‘Red Team Blues,’ Cory Doctorow shares the mistakes of his past campaigns—and why it’s all worth it. My next novel is Red Team Blues. It’s a major title for my publisher, Tor (which is part of Macmillan), and the first book in a trilogy. I’m touring the U.S, Canada, the U.K., and Germany this spring. And there’s going to be an incredible audiobook that goes along with it, read by Wil Wheaton (who is hands-down my favorite audiobook reader—don’t tell my other narrators! They’re amazing, but Wil’s readings are just…wow). And once again, I’m using a Kickstarter campaign to fund the audiobook edition.

This audiobook will not be for sale on Audible. None of my audiobooks are. Audible, the Amazon division that controls about 90% of the audiobook market, won’t carry them because, if you want to sell your audiobooks on Audible, you have to let them add Amazon’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) to them, and I refuse. I don’t let anyone sell any of my work with DRM. I know how big tech platforms behave when they use DRM to leverage their suppliers. And we all know what Amazon does with the power it wields over its suppliers. I believe we simply can’t afford to have all our audiobooks under the control of any single company, much less one that is as committed to wringing margin out of its suppliers as Amazon is…”

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