eMusic Launches Audiobooks, But Publishers Spurn

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eMusic, the second-largest music download store after iTunes, launches an audiobooks offering today.  This is a no-brainer for the company but one that gives traditional publishers pause: Most aren’t making their inventory available for the company, the NYT reports. That’s because eMusic only sells audiobooks in MP3 format, without anti-piracy DRM locks on them, the same way it insists on selling music.

But eMusic’s book plan also employs another element of its music strategy, one that should help persuade publishers to join the company sooner than later: It sells its books via a subscription service. As with its music offering, that lets eMusic sell books at a  lower per unit price than competitors, while generating  more revenue per customer. An audio book a month is $10, or close to half of what Apple’s iTunes charges for its audiobooks. eMusic currently has 10% of the music download market, vs. Apple’s 71%. NYT