Frequently asked questions: a post for rights holders

We are so grateful to everyone who’s been continuing to contact us with questions and feedback. As you know, ACX is a work in progress, and we are continually enhancing the site and making updates that in many cases stem from user feedback. At the same time, since we’re hearing some of the same questions frequently, we thought we’d post a few of them below, with answers! Today’s FAQ is most relevant to authors and other rights holders, but we’ll also be devoting similar future posts to questions from narrators and producers.

Can I ask a producer to audition for my book?

 You can ask as many Producers as you’d like to audition for your book. Remember, Producers include narrators. In fact, ACX advises you to choose and make an Offer to a Narrator only after you hear them reading from the actual book you want them to record. That’s why we thought it was important to include the audition script feature. You want to hear the Narrator reading your words, not just a generic passage.

How To Do It: From a narrator’s ACX profile page, simply click “Send Message” and write them a note. Include a link to your Title Profile, which should contain a one or two-page Audition Script you want narrators to read and record.

How can I make a sound decision when hiring a producer?

 Request an audition. You want to hear real narrators reading your actual words, not just a generic passage. ACX advises against making an Offer to a Producer until you hear them (or the narrator they subcontract) read a page or two of the actual book you want them to record. Then, go with your gut feeling: Is there the right level of emotion and expression? Does the Narrator sound the right age for the part? Finally, would a customer enjoy hearing the voice?

How does the escalator payment work?

For sales on and its affiliates (which today mainly means and iTunes) your royalty rate increases as you hit certain thresholds. Your royalty will grow after every five hundred units sold until you hit the royalty peak of 90 percent, for exclusive distribution deals, and 70 percent for non-exclusive distribution deals. The actual rate you’re paid will depend on if you choose exclusive distribution (through Audible and its affiliates—today, this means,, and iTunes) or non-exclusive distribution. Remember that you’re being paid a percent what a customer pays, and not a percent of a wholesale rate (which is often about 50 percent of what the customer actually pays). So, for example, a 40 percent royalty from ACX is like getting an 80 percent royalty from a wholesaler (because 40 percent of 100 percent is the same as 80 percent of 50 percent).

How does the royalty payment differ for exclusive vs. non-exclusive deals?

 Royalties start higher if you choose distribution exclusively through ACX, which today gets your audiobook listed on,, and iTunes—the three main retailers of audiobooks in the world. If you choose non-exclusive distribution, you can sell your audiobook wherever else you’d like, and you will be paid the base escalator royalty rate, which starts at 25 percent and grows to 90 percent as you sell more units. At least fifty dollars in royalties must be accrued before Audible cuts a check.

How much will my audiobook sell for in stores?

On and the product is generally priced based on its length, as follows:

  • under 3 hours: under $10
  • 3 – 5 hours: $10 – $20
  • 5 – 10 hours: $15 – $25
  • 10 – 20 hours: $20 – $30
  • over 20 hours: $25 – 35


One response to “Frequently asked questions: a post for rights holders

  1. As a new publisher, I am distressed to learn that Audible will not sell to libraries. Of course, libraries have been big buyers of print books. It seems a shame that Audible will not sell to them.

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