31 January 2020

Landover, MD, January 30, 2020—RBmedia, a leading spoken audio and digital media platform company, today announced a strong close to 2019 with a record number of new titles released across its publishing brands, a number of notable exclusive partnerships, and a new imprint. Customer adoption of the RBdigital library platform achieved an all-time high with a 52% increase in the number of titles borrowed year-over-year, and the platform now offers an industry-leading 15 different types of content.  On the direct-to-consumer front, Audiobooks.com added a range of new content and services while over two million users downloaded the app.
 

PUBLISHING HIGHLIGHTS

RBmedia reinforced its position as the largest publisher of audiobooks in the world with the release of a record-breaking 6,500+ new titles in 2019. The company launched its new politics and policy imprint, Kalorama Audio.  RBmedia also announced exclusive partnerships with Harvard Business Review Press, Princeton University Press, and Baen Books to publish a combined 400+ audiobooks over the next three years across its various content brands.

Recorded Books’ significant US audiobook releases in 2019 included:
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers
  • The Parisian by Isabella Hammad
  • Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon
  • Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
  • Women Talking by Miriam Toews
  • Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
  • Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat
  • Witchmark by C. L. Polk
  • These Truths by Jill Lepore
  • Mama’s Last Hug by Frans de Waal
Recorded Books also almost doubled its children’s title output, deepening the company’s commitment to providing audio content for that category.

Tantor Media published more than 3,800 new titles in 2019, including the audio edition for Pulitzer Prize winner The New Negro by Jeffrey C. Stewart and SOVAS award winner The Adolescent by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Additional releases included Audie Award finalists The Grass Harp by Truman Capote and We Were Soldiers Once … and Young by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway.

HighBridge Audio’s significant audiobook releases in 2019 included New York Times bestseller Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future by Pete Buttigieg and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, one of the best-reviewed nonfiction titles of 2019. Additional important titles included Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn, a Best Book of the Year by Washington Post, O, The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, People, and BuzzFeed, and 2019 Audie Award winner Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires.

ChristianAudio published more than 215 new titles by top-selling Christian authors in 2019, including The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman, God, Where Are You? by John Bevere, Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt, and Risen Motherhood by Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler. Overall sales growth included increased digital and library sales as well as strength in backlist sales, led by continued performance of The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile.

Gildan Media published stand-out business book Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall through RBmedia’s exclusive agreement with Harvard Business Review Press. Additional significant audiobook releases include Objections by Jen Blount and The Fearless Organization by Amy C. Edmondson through the company’s exclusive partnership with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

W. F. Howes published more than 980 new titles in 2019, including significant UK audiobook releases Imposter and Hysteria, the first titles in a three-book deal with number-one Amazon bestselling and self-published author LJ Ross, How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid, and Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls.
W. F. Howes’s biggest sellers in 2019 were My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite—also adapted to TV/movie—and worldwide successes The Moon Sister and The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley. 

Wavesound in Australia increased publishing to over 100 titles per year and established an audio publishing partnership with Allen & Unwin that will initially see the two copublish up to a dozen audio titles a year.

The number-one bestseller overall for Wavesound (and W. F. Howes) was The Dry by Jane Harper. Wavesound also released Silver by Chris Hammer, the follow-up to his award-winning bestseller Scrublands; The Wife and the Widow by Christian White; and Troll Hunting by Ginger Gorman.
 

DIGITAL MEDIA PLATFORM HIGHLIGHTS

Adoption of the RBdigital library platform reached an all-time high in 2019.  Year-over-year, RBdigital realized a 52% increase in the number of titles borrowed.  The app saw a 28% increase in installs and achieved a review score of 4.7 (out 5) in the Apple App Store. 

Key RBdigital product enhancements in 2019 included the release of an industry-leading accessibility solution with support for the latest industry standard WCAG 2.1, a new graphical reporting dashboard, an improved recommendation engine, and partner integrations with Polaris, Evergreen and Koha. The content selection was significantly enhanced, and the total number of content types available on the RBdigital platform is now at an industry-leading 15. Additionally, the company launched digital content collections for higher education institutions and corporations.

On the direct-to-consumer front, Audiobooks.com users listened to more than 14 million hours of audiobooks in 2019, and the company added over 40,000 new audiobooks to the service. Audiobooks.com had more than two million app downloads in 2019 and expanded its audio-entertainment offering by integrating podcasts into the app—providing members over 896,000 podcasts and over 59 million episodes. Additional releases included a comprehensive membership VIP Rewards program and personalized in-app member community features, as well as strategic integration with Waze—extending its catalog reach by offering seamless in-car access to up to 50 million Waze users.

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About RBmedia
RBmedia is a global leader in spoken audio content and digital media distribution technology that reaches millions of consumers—at home, in the car, and wherever they take their mobile devices. RBmedia produces exclusive titles and delivers the finest digital content through its platforms—including audiobooks, streaming video, educational courses, entertainment titles, and much more. Headquartered in Landover, Maryland, the company has a catalog of more than 40,000 exclusive audiobooks through its content brands: Recorded Books, Tantor Media, HighBridge, Kalorama Audio, ChristianAudio, Gildan Media, W. F. Howes in the United Kingdom, and Wavesound in Australia. RBmedia is owned by KKR, a leading global investment firm. Find out more at www.rbmediaglobal.com.
 
Media Contact:
Becky Wyatt
rwyatt@recordedbooks.com
800-738-1304
 
 

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