Ask an Expert: A Conversation with Jenna Noll on How Impacts Indie Authors and Booksellers

Today we’re sitting down with Jenna Noll, a software developer with, an online platform that allows you to purchase audiobooks in a way that benefits your local bookstore. The site features audiobooks from indie and traditional authors alike, and has partnered with thousands of booksellers. Jenna gives us an insider’ss look at the audiobook industry via, and reveals the best way for authors to promote their audiobooks on the site.

1). What is your role at What do you do?

I am a software developer on the small but mighty cloud team. I work on the website and the backend. A recent fun project I worked on was customizing the homepage so that if your bookstore has added bookseller recommendations, their picks will show when you visit the site.

2). How does benefit indie bookstores?

We see ourselves as a technology partner to local bookstores. Through our tech and bookstore partnerships, we enable readers to buy audiobooks through their local bookstore, rather than through a big, impersonal company.

We split profits with local bookstores (50/50) and currently partner with more than 10,000 booksellers at more than 1,600 partner bookstores based in the US, Canada, and online.

3). Can indie authors get their books featured and sold on (even if their books are available on other platforms like Audible)?

Yes! We love seeing indie authors’ audiobooks on! If authors are producing their own audiobook, the best way to get them on is to work with Authors Republic.

If authors are not producing their own audiobooks, they should talk to their publisher about making the audiobook(s) available on For more information about audiobook accessibility and avoiding Amazon Exclusive contracts, check out our blog.

4). What suggestions would you make to authors (indie or traditional) who want to get their audiobook featured on

Great question! First of all, we suggest they visit Once they’re ready to promote their audiobook, they should read over the ideas and tips collected here:

One fun option for authors is to curate a playlist. They can just complete a quick form, and we’ll create a custom playlist that they can share on their channels. This is a good opportunity to support other authors, as well as their favorite bookstore.

We also encourage authors to become affiliates so they can earn commission on sales of audiobooks (including their own), while driving sales for bookstores at the same time.

5). How has the pandemic affected subscriptions/usage of from audiobook listeners, as well as participation from bookstore and publisher partners?

The pandemic has made a big impact on audiobooks in general. In 2020, there were double-digit audiobook sales increases, according to The Audio Publishers Association’s annual survey—67% of audiobook listeners said that one of the reasons they enjoy the format is because it reduces screen time.

It was also a big year for, as we offered another way for people to support their local bookstores while staying safe. We saw a 202% increase in monthly members. The pandemic also made it necessary for booksellers to be flexible and become well-versed in technology; we saw a 48% growth in bookstore partnerships, and a 398% increase in amount paid to local bookshops.

Overall, 2021 was a time of healing, growing, and learning how to thrive in our “new normal.” You can check out our annual report here for more details of the past year’s impact.

6). What kind of audiobooks do you enjoy listening to? Tell us some of your faves!

I love listening to big, well-researched nonfiction audiobooks! Some of my favorites are:

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe – this audiobook is about the history of the Sacklers, the family that owns Purdue Pharma, and their ties to the opioid epidemic. It is so informative and gripping! I couldn’t stop listening.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson – this book is about the great migration of black southerners who left the south from 1915 to 1970, seeking better lives and opportunities. It closely follows the stories of three individuals through the whole book, and intersperses stories of many others along the way. I learned so much from this one, and the writing is superb.

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith – Clint Smith traveled around the country and beyond to explore America’s history of slave ownership. For each historical site he visited, he recounts the conversations with people he met. It feels deeply personal and reflective, and still remains accessible and informative. I highly recommend it!

Yearbook by Seth Rogen – I did not consider myself a huge Seth Rogen fan until I listened to this. It had me cackling nonstop. It was fun to learn more about Rogen’s experiences in Hollywood, and his life before he made it there. Listen to it when you want to laugh!

7). Do some genres fare better as audiobooks on than others? If so, what are the three “top” selling genres on the site?

This was a fun question to figure out! Outside of our more general genres of fiction, nonfiction, and literary fiction, our top-selling more specific genres are Biography and Memoir, Social Science, and Fantasy.

Last year we also looked at the top-selling audiobooks in each genre – you can find the blog post with the results here:

One of my favorite ways to browse the site is to look at the bestsellers for different genres. You can get to the genre-specific rankings by visiting our bestsellers list, and then using the buttons at the top to find your favorite genre.

Three Reasons Why You Should Release an Audiobook Right Now

Audiobooks are booming like never before. According to Deloitte, the U.S. audiobook market in 2020 was valued at an estimated $1.5 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” When 2020’s pandemic shuttered libraries and bookstores, and delayed postal deliveries, stuck-at-home readers browsed digital shelves instead, and audiobook sales kept growing. In the UK alone, the pandemic increased audiobook sales by 42% in the first half of the year according to The Guardian, while print sales plummeted.

Audiobook listeners are readers. And the takeaway is this: There’s never been a better time to release an audiobook.

Here are three reasons authors should jump on the audiobook bandwagon (as soon as possible):

1). Expose your work to more readers.
By releasing an audiobook, you will reach an audience who have, by preference or necessity, transitioned away from print media.

If you’re releasing a nonfiction book, you’ll be able to reach the growing market of 18-34 year old urban men who prefer audiobooks (particularly nonfiction), and who have traditionally not been known as a strong book-buying market according to Good E-Reader.

If you’re releasing fiction, you’ll be able to reach the vast majority of busy stay-at-home moms who juggle kid-centric commutes with an endless list of household errands–but who still want to find time to read a book.

You’ll be able to reach elderly readers who can no longer easily see the printed page, or readers who are homebound for a variety of reasons in 2021.

Why wouldn’t you want to expose your work to the widest audience possible? Audiobooks substantially broaden your reach.

2). Bring your book to life in new ways.
Gone are the days of clunky audio cassettes, scratched CDs, and uninspired narrators. Today’s technology can broadcast your story in vibrant color on the theater screen inside people’s minds.

Audiobooks (such as the ones we produce through our sister company Books Fluent) are dynamic and engaging. Talented voice actors, multi-voice casts, sound effects, musical interludes, and other interactive and engaging elements can be integrated into audiobook recordings more easily than ever.

Some newer audiobooks are more akin to professionally-produced radio plays, inspiring repeat-listens and passionate recommendations. Some authors are only releasing audio these days.

Even if your audiobook is more traditional, the point is that there are now more options than ever to get creative and make your story come alive. Why not take advantage of that?

3). Grow your sales. The statistics are in: if you can successfully reach a new audience, you will increase your sales. Podcasts have given a huge boost to consumer demand for audible media. And thanks to the pandemic (either ongoing, or in its aftermath), that demand isn’t slowing down.

We are constantly finding fresh ways to help our authors reach new readers through audiobook promotion. By making your book discoverable in this rapidly-trending audio format, new readers will find and love your work–and can become dedicated fans and repeat customers.

Audiobooks have risen, and will keep rising. It’s time to rise with them.