Making the Most of Unused Audio Rights: Currently, about one hundred thousand books are published each year, and fewer than five thousand of them are produced as audiobooks. The aim of ACX is to turn this growing stockpile of rights into a creative and financial opportunity.
This is what we believe:
So, if you think you have audio rights to a book, or would like to (please double check your contract or talk to your agent), then read the rest of this:
Confirm Your Rights In most cases, audio rights belong to either the author or the book’s print publisher.
Once you’ve confirmed that you hold the audio rights to a title, you can search for it in the ACX database. If the title is eligible for production on ACX, go ahead and post it to ACX by creating a Title Profile for the book. When you do, we’ll ask you to confirm that you hold the audio rights to the title you’re posting by having you agree to the ACX Book Posting Agreement. Under the ACX Book Posting Agreement, you’ll agree that if the title is made into an audiobook on ACX, you will license the title to Audible to sell commercially for a minimum period of seven years. Click here to see the current version of the ACX Book Posting Agreement.
Explore Your Options In the publishing industry, publishing contracts often contain clauses that state if audio rights are granted to the print book publisher, but not brought to life reasonably soon after a book’s publication (for example, sixty or ninety days after print publication of the book), the audio rights revert back to an author. Every publishing agreement is different and not every publishing contract will contain such a proviso, but below we outline some of the scenarios you should consider and discuss with your agent.
Bundled rights? If your book’s audio rights were bundled with the print rights (in other words, the audio rights went to the print publisher) and an audio version was never produced, check your publishing contract for a reversion clause or talk to your agent.
Out of print? If your book’s physical audio was produced and is now out of print, you’ll also want to check your contract to see if the audio rights have reverted to you, or talk to your agent or attorney. If you’re no longer earning royalties on the audio version and audio rights haven’t reverted to you, you may want to request a reversion of rights from the print publisher.
Ready to negotiate? If there’s no reversion clause in your contract, or if the reversion clause doesn’t seem to include subsidiary rights (which often cover audio), you or your agent should approach your publisher. Sometimes publishers are open to negotiating reversion rights later down the road.
Disputed Rights? We get that it's critical to respect contracts and to never violate a publisher's or author's rights. But sometimes rights get murky, especially with older contracts.
For these reasons, if at any point after a title is added to ACX, a Rights Holder’s audio rights are disputed by a print publisher or another party, Audible may need to remove the title from ACX, either permanently or temporarily.
Get Help: ACX wants to help. If you have questions, contact us here. We can’t dispense legal advice or advise on the terms of your contract or other deal with a publisher, but we can answer any questions you have about the general information provided above. Also, if you’re a member of the Authors Guild, you might turn to them as another good source of information. They offer their members free book contract reviews by their experienced legal staff. Finally, your agent, or attorney will be the best resource for you in determining whether you have audio rights to your book.