Goodby Audiobooks, Hello Radio Theater.

This from the Wall Street Journal-English 2021-04-23.

“Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book opens with ominous sirens, planes droning overhead and a powerful explosion.

Unlike most audiobooks, which are offshoots of a traditional text manuscript, “The Bomber Mafia,” was conceived first as an audio project. Only later, after there was a completed script, was it offered to a major publisher. The print and ebook versions, as well as the audiobook, go on sale April 27.

“The Bomber Mafia” is part of an effort by Pushkin Industries Inc., an audio company that Mr. Gladwell co-founded, to become a major provider of highly produced “original” audiobooks. Such projects sound more like podcasts than traditional audiobooks, since they often feature original scores, as well as archival and interview tape.

Industry giants including Bertelsmann SE’s Penguin Random House and Inc.’s Audible also produce high-production original audiobooks with sound effects and a cast of multiple actors, representing significant competition for Pushkin.”

The print and ebook versions, as well as the audiobook, go on sale April 27.

It would have to be their own production company because Audible/ACX will not publish an audiobook without the paper/eBook version already offered for Amazon sale.


There’s the obvious new demand that you be able to produce good radio theater (Dum Dum Dummmmm), but there’s the not-to-obvious problem of needing to present Copyright Notes, Performance Releases, Ownership Lists, and Attributions.

This is one reason ACX stays miles away from this kind of production. This isn’t a fluffy podcast. It’s a product for sale.

This can be a major headache far beyond finding a good explosion for the opening scene. Are you sharing royalty payments with your performers? Are you sure?


This one has been out for a while. It is read by one person, but has sound effects:

I don’t see that. I get a “re-direct from GB,” and page after page of why I should subscribe immediately. Do Not Wait!

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There may be a way around the redirection (in really tiny type).

I have zero doubt it’s a quality product. Gladwell has a nice voice and he gives a great presentation.


I’ve recently tightened up my on-line security. It’s now easy to see who is trying to track my every move - Amazon, YouTube, Facebook…

Here’s a short sample from the book. This was accepted by ACX a couple of years ago:

That’s not Malcolm Gladwell.

This is his famous Spaghetti Sauce TED video.

I’ve watched it enough times I’m starting to wear out the grooves.

This was accepted by ACX a couple of years ago:

I wonder if they did that because it sounded like a seasoned BBC Presenter and not Billy in his apartment in Schenectady.

Isn’t Chopin out of copyright protection?