Cambridge University Press moves into audiobooks

News - Academic Wednesday, 06 March 2019

CUP publishes its first audio titles in its 435-year history: 'we need to evolve'

Cambridge University Press, which 'published its first book in 1584 making it the oldest publishing house in the world' (according to its website), is releasing five audio books at LBF. Working with production company Sound Understanding – which specialises in nonfiction – CUP will release five titles from its recently launched academic trade programme as part of a pilot project.

The titles will be available to purchase from the Press and through a variety of retailers and subscription services.

Last year the PA reported that sales of audiobooks had increased by 148 per cent between 2013 and 2017, making them the fastest growing area in digital publishing. Download sales rose 22 per cent in 2017 alone.

Mandy Hill, managing director of Academic Publishing at the Press, said: "Content usage is evolving and we need to evolve with it. Audio is an increasingly popular and important way for people to enjoy books and we need to explore its potential for making the fantastic work of Press authors available as widely as possible.

"That’s why we have picked titles from our new and recently-announced Academic Trade Programme for the trial. All of the titles present cutting-edge ideas of huge relevance to the way we live and understand our world. As a university press dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge, it makes absolute sense to see what audiobooks can offer in ensuring the widest impact for this information."

At the end of the pilot, the Press will consider rolling out a larger selection of audiobooks from across its Academic publishing portfolio.

The first four titles set for publication are: Stand out of our Light, Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy by James Williams; There Is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee; The Ape that Understood the Universe, How the Mind and Culture Evolve by Steve Stewart-Williams and On the Brink, Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War by Van Jackson.

They will be followed later this year by an audiobook version of Crack – David Farber’s look at the history of the drug. Visitors to the Press’s stand at London Book Fair in March will be able to listen to clips of Mike Berners-Lee reading from There Is No Planet B. In total CUP publishes around 50,000 titles.

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