Headquartered in Prince Frederick, Maryland, Recorded Books was founded in 1979 by Henry Trentman as an alternative to standard radio programming. Recorded Books operates as a “one-stop shop” to its core library customers and is the largest independent publisher of unabridged audiobooks and a provider of digital media to consumer, retail, professional, school, library and infotainment markets.
Recorded Books owns an exclusive catalog with thousands of audiobook titles narrated by professional, award-winning actors. Recorded Books provides digital audiobooks and eBooks, as well as other compelling third-party content, including digital magazines and films, through its proprietary RBdigital Gateway platform. The company operates in the United Kingdom through its W. F. Howes subsidiary and in Australia through its Wavesound subsidiary. Recorded Books acquired both Tantor Media and HighBridge Audio in 2014.
Recorded Books has established a reputation for producing top-tier content. The recordings are produced at the company’s studios in New York and Connecticut, leveraging an extensive universe of consistent and loyal independent contract narrators. Audiobooks from Recorded Books undergo a thorough editing, proofreading and quality-control process.
Transition to Digital Content Provider
In 2010, Recorded Books recognized an accelerating shift toward digital products in the library market. Consequently, the company invested in both technology and infrastructure. In 2011, Recorded Books released its OneClickdigital platform to deliver the company’s proprietary eAudiobook titles as well as those of other publishers to the library market. In September 2013, Recorded Books added the capability to deliver eBooks via OneClickdigital as well. The company also developed RBdigital Gateway, a proprietary distribution platform to deliver electronic resources to the library market.
Long-Standing Relationships with Libraries
Recorded Books has solid, long-standing relationships with its library customers, many dating back more than two decades. Starting with the standing order plans (SOPs) rolled out in the 1990s, the company has held the goal of being the provider of choice to librarians for audiobooks. The company’s sales approach and SOPs have positioned Recorded Books as “collection development consultants” for libraries, as librarians have utilized Recorded Books to assist them in their audiobook-selection process.
The company typically casts each book by selecting the appropriate reader from an established and loyal pool of over 250 narrators. Once cast, the book is recorded at the company’s Manhattan or Old Saybrook studio locations. The company uses premium raw materials, implements extensive quality control and retains an in-house CD production facility to produce top-quality recordings. The Recorded Books research team (believed to be the only audiobook publisher with such a capability) ensures through in-depth research that all words are pronounced as the author intended and, before any title is released to the market, the audiobook is sent to proofers for their critical feedback and recommendations.