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Backlist audio books
#1  pwalker8 09-23-2019, 09:58 AM
Audiobooks is a booming market and really seems to be bypassing eBooks as a growth market. There are a lot of back list audiobooks out there, yet, there are also some surprising gaps.

One of the big surprises for me is that the Roger Zelazny catalog hasn't made it's way to audiobooks. Of course, the Amber series is there with a couple of excellent narrators. This Immortal is also available. Lord of Light was available earlier, but no longer is. Sometimes, with audiobooks that were recorded in the early days of audiobooks, the older version gets pulled and then is re-released with a new narrator. But as far as I know, none of his other books have been made into audiobooks. At least those are the ones I bought and no others are in the audible catalogue.

Of course, the Zelazny catalogue is one of those odd situations for both ebooks and audiobooks and frankly is the poster child for what's wrong with the copyright system.

But, a lot of authors who were at one time popular only have a few of their works available as audiobooks. Some of that might be the orphaned work issue, but some of those authors are still alive. Perhaps it's just a case that the expense of recording a quality audiobook means that it's difficult to cost justify recording some of the older backlist books.
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#2  issybird 09-23-2019, 10:22 AM
Quote pwalker8
Lord of Light was available earlier, but no longer is. Sometimes, with audiobooks that were recorded in the early days of audiobooks, the older version gets pulled and then is re-released with a new narrator.
This makes me sad. I like to listen to the Flashman books, but the most recent one I read, Flashman in the Great Game, isn't available in audio. And yet Timothy West (a wonderful narrator) recorded it. The rights were pulled to Simon Vance's fantastic narration of the entire Aubrey/Maturin series (fortunately, those I already own). There are so many other examples. I do understand (although I deplore) the game of pulling titles to rerelease them with a different narrator, but I wish they could tolerate coexistence among narrations in the manner of different covers of songs. Alas. Follow the money.

I'm not as exercised by the thought of backlist books that never have/never will make it to audio, the economics of recording being so very different from releasing older titles as digital texts, but knowing that the narration exists yet won't be sold is depressing.
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#3  Tarana 09-23-2019, 11:43 AM
Dune - George Guidall. I finally went out and bought a used CD. Nothing against Scott Brick mind you, but I don't really like multiple cast members for an audiobook.
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#4  CRussel 09-23-2019, 02:34 PM
The problem of narrations being unavailable due to rights restrictions has been a problem from the very early days when Books on Tape was bought out by a publisher and changed the distribution model. More recently, there's been an amalgamation of audio publishers as smaller publishers have been bought out (sometimes only a single country's rights) by the larger ones. Where we used to have a dozen or more viable publishers, we now have a handful (and that's being generous.)

The Aubrey/Maturin saga is a prime example. I bought the Patrick Tull versions years ago (started when they were on BoT), and continued to buy them as they became available. Then, suddenly, the only ones available were the Simon Vance ones, and the vastly inferior Ric Jerome ones. Then, suddenly, the Simon Vance ones were unavailable, and the Patrick Tull ones were once again available. (The Simon Vance ones are still available through OverDrive, last I looked.)
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#5  Tarana 09-26-2019, 02:22 PM
Pwalker, I was thinking about what you are saying. If you are an Audible member, you can request specific books or series. If they are able, Audible will try to get the rights or at least the rights to rerecord. Several of my requests were fulfilled but others run into the problem of being orphaned works.
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