Marketing Meetup Recap: Marketing Audiobooks During the Holidays

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On Thursday, October 17, the American Booksellers Association presented a Marketing Meetup focusing on upcoming holiday promotions from Guest speakers for the video chat included Nick Johnson from; Suzanne Droppert of Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo and Bremerton, Washington; and Jennifer Wood of East City Bookshop in Washington, D.C.

Johnson shared with bookseller attendees the ways in which they can market audiobooks during the upcoming holiday season, as the company will be offering several promotions, initiatives, and programs for indie bookstores. Booksellers also had the opportunity to ask questions to learn more about’s services.

Here are some of Johnson’s key points:

  • This year,’s main focus for the holidays is the ability for customers to gift audiobook memberships. While this is something that can be done all year long, the holiday season is a perfect time to promote it.

    • When customers gift a membership, they can choose a one-, three-, six-, or 12-month membership depending on the price point they’re looking for. Prices range from $15 to $150.
    • One thing to keep in mind with gift memberships is that the recipient will receive all credits at once. Gift recipients are not able to receive one credit per month for multi-month memberships.

      • Customers who purchase their own membership receive one credit each month. Customers who would like to receive more credits at once are welcome to gift themselves a membership in addition to their regular membership.
    • If a customer is associated with a store through and they decide to gift a membership to someone else, the recipient will also be associated with that store. This means that a store can gain customers that have never even stepped inside.
    • Memberships are not automatically renewed; instead, members are prompted at the end of each month to renew.
    • does not at this time offer a dollar-amount gift card for customers to purchase, but the concept is currently in the works.
  • New this year, has teamed up with Hachette to offer a free audiobook copy of Madeline Miller’s Circe to customers that gift a three-, six-, or 12-month membership.

    • The purchase must be made by December 28, and customers must redeem the offer by the end of the year. 
  • To promote’s holiday initiatives, booksellers should use the following URL:

    • Booksellers that are promoting pages on the website that are not their storefront should add the code “?bookstore=storecode,” which will direct customers to their store’s page. An explanation of how to use this code is in the Bookseller Hub. Booksellers need an approved bookseller login to access the information.
  • is running an initiative called Real People Monday on December 2, Cyber Monday. The goal of the initiative is to let people know they can still shop online and get deals that day, but they can also support local businesses while doing so.

    • For Real People Monday, new members can participate in a three-for-one audiobook sale for one using the code “RealPeople,” and all customers will receive two free audiobooks by referring a friend.
    • Details for these promotions, as well as digital assets to promote the initiatives, can also be found in the Bookseller Hub.
  • will also be using Small Business Saturday/Indies First (November 30) to encourage customers to stop in their local bookstore. Information about how will be promoting the day can be found in the Bookseller Hub.
  • Celebrating Bookstore Champions is another program recently launched by, which will choose people each month to advocate for local bookstores.

    • For the month of October, author Ann Patchett will be the advocate. Future advocates will include Sean Doolittle, Jason Reynolds, and Neil Gaiman.
  • The Android update for will be released in the coming weeks; this will bring the Android app up to the same functionality as the iOS app. The ability to browse and make orders through the iOS app will be available in the coming months.
  • also offers a free marketing box to member stores. It includes bookmarks, shelf-talkers, posters, fliers, and more for promotional use in-store. Stores that would like to receive this box can request it through the Bookseller Hub.

The Q&A session focused on promoting online and in stores.

  • East City Bookshop posted an Amazon breakup letter in the store’s bathroom, which garnered people’s attention.

    • The letter is particularly useful because customers often don’t know that Audible is owned by Amazon; customers also aren’t aware that they don’t actually own the audiobooks they purchase through Audible.
    • The letter can also be found in poster and flier size on the Bookseller Hub.
  • At Liberty Bay, Droppert asks customers if they listen to audiobooks or if they use Audible. To promote, she tells the customers who use Audible, “We’d love for you to listen with us because Jeff doesn’t need your money,” because the store is located in Seattle and customers will be familiar with who she is referencing.

    • Liberty Bay keeps the signup open on checkout devices so booksellers can easily sign customers up with an e-mail address.
  • When a bookstore refers a customer, the store receives an audiobook credit, which can then be used in store giveaways or to gift books to customers.
  • Booksellers can recommend that parents buying books for their children purchase the audiobook along with the print book. has launched its Kids Club that offers audiobooks for children at a good price point for this reason.
  • has also launched a program similar to the Audiobook Listening Copy Program for booksellers that is marketed toward educators, librarians, and social media influencers. Those who join the program are also associated with a store, which means they can bring in customers.

A recording of this Marketing Meetup can be found on the American Booksellers Association’s Education Resources page. Booksellers must be logged in to to view the recording of the session.

The American Booksellers Association now offers two opportunities for live online education: a twice-monthly Marketing Meetup and a monthly Technology Meetup. All member booksellers are invited to participate in these online discussions; subscribe to the mailing list here to receive invitations for the Technology Meetups, Marketing Meetups, or both.