Princeton University Press (PUP) has launched an audio arm, with one of the launch titles an anthology of socialist fairy tales edited by Michael Rosen.
PUP Audio will be overseen by digital and audio publisher Kim Williams, working closely with the UK-based production company Sound Understanding, which specializes in non-fiction. The titles will be available globally across a variety of platforms and libraries, with no exclusive deal for distribution.
The goal for the inaugural season is the publication of six front list titles in simultaneous print, electronic, and audio editions, as well as a selection of recent backlist, according to a PUP spokesperson. The production of audio titles will be increased in future seasons.
The front-list titles set for autumn publication include: On the Future: Prospects for Humanity by Britain’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Gods and Robots: The Ancient Quest for Artificial Life by National Book Award Finalist Adrienne Mayor followed by Making Up Your Own Mind: Thinking Effectively through Creative Puzzle Solving from mathematician and academic Ed Burger. The list will be completed by Workers’ Tales: Socialist Fairy Tales, Fables, and Allegories from Great Britain edited by Rosen.
The Press’ director Christie Henry said: “Recognising the importance of listening as a fundamental component of learning, and with a mission to contribute to the growth of knowledge, we believe audio publishing offers an exciting opportunity to engage listeners and animate book-based conversations the world over.
“We are keen to adapt to ever-evolving new technologies to ensure that PUP content reaches a diverse and dynamic community, and audiobooks speak to this commitment.”
Williams also cited clear market growth in audio books as an important factor in the launch of PUP Audio.
“The growth of the audio market for nonfiction has been dramatic in recent years, and alongside the many people trying the format for the first time, there is a growing cohort of loyal audio consumers for whom audio is the first choice of format,” she said. “PUP has benefitted from the expertise of audio consultants and the many listeners among our staff in developing PUP Audio, and we look forward to publishing audio editions of the highest production and narration standards, and promoting them alongside our print and e-book editions.”
In the UK, audiobook downloads were up 22% in 2017, according to data released by the Publishers Association in June. Meanwhile a report from the Association of American Publishers indicated audiobook revenue was up 29.5 percent in 2017, from the year before.