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Smartphone audiobook subscriptions

Bardowl is an unlimited audiobook subscription service delivered entirely through a smartphone application. Bardowl customers pay ?9.99 per month subscription charge for completely unlimited access to a large audiobook catalogue from the worlds leading publishers.

Audiobooks are a growing format with 40 per cent year on year revenue growth reported by the publishers in 2012. Digital audiobooks (CD sales are in steep decline) are completely dominated by the Amazon owned company Audible. Other competitors include Apple’s iTunes (operated by Audible), AudioGo, and eMusic. The development of smartphone applications enables the best possible user experience. Everyone can now have the perfect audiobook player in their pocket. Bardowl streams the audio over Wifi or 3G networks and also caches content within the app.

So how will it compete? The majority of the innovation with Bardowl is the business model. Bardowl claims that no other business has sustainable deals with publishers for revenue share and royalty payments in order to offer an all-you-can-eat tariff for audiobook consumption.u2028 The technical innovation is delivered through the combination of live streaming of the audiobook and the automatic switching to cached offline content to cope with users on unpredictable mobile networks and when network is not available, for example, when on the London Underground.

The firm is still at the start-up stage, and yes, it has Amazon to compete with. But hey, it does have a different approach, one which publishers ought to take to. Admirably ambitious by founders Chris Book, Neil Chapman and David Sykes.

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