Audible Inc. has launched Audible.ca, offering Canadians more than 300,000 audiobooks, original programs, lectures, comedy and other audio content.
The new Canadian service is being kicked off today with an event at Toronto's Union Station, featuring Audible founder and CEO Don Katz, appearing with author Margaret Atwood and actress Elisabeth Moss, who portray Atwood's character Offred in the TV production of The Handmaid's Tale. Katz will also be appearing tomorrow, September 14, at Gare Centrale in Montreal with Quebecois author Catherine Leroux and actress Julie Le Breton.
At launch, the new Canadian site is said to include over 100 new titles from Canadian authors, in English and French. It will also offer other "long- and short-form local content specially curated by and for Canadians."
Celebrating the launch, Audible.ca will be offering a special edition of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, performed by Clare Danes, and featuring new original content. The site will also feature Leroux's novel Le Mur Mitoyen, performed by Le Breton. Both works will be available free for one month.
Audible founder and CEO announced that the company would be earmarking $12 million CAD over the next three years to invest in "Canadian writers and voices."
Other titles and programs to be available "at launch or shortly forthcoming" will include:
- Justin Trudeau's Common Ground, narrated in both French and English, with a new introduction by Trudeau himself.
- An unabridged recording of Atwood's Alias Grace, performed by Sarah Gadon.
- A "dramatized, multi-voice production" of Angel Catbird, an audio adaptation by Atwood of her graphic novels.
- The thriller Our Little Secret, by Roy Nay.
- Mister Sandman, Falling Angels and We So Seldom Look on Love, by Barbara Gowdy, available for the first time as audiobooks.
- They Called Me Number One, a "personal story of surviving government-sponsored religious school to assimilate indigenous children, by Bev Sellers, narrated by the author.
- Hellgoing, a Giller prize-winning short story collection by Lynn Coady.
- Six Degrés De Liberté, winner of the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for French Fiction, by Nicolas Dickner, performed by Atriana Reeves.
- Petite et le Vieux, Winner of the 11th Grand Prix de la relève littéraire Archambault, by Marie-Renée Lavoie.
- Bain de Sang, a mystery by Jean-Jacques Pelletier, narrated by Jean Brassard.
Audible.ca will also by highlighting Canadian comedy content recorded in leading Canadian comedy clubs. And starting this year, Audible.ca will be the exclusive audiobook sponsor of the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
To support its new Canadian storefront, Audible states that it has extended its audiobook rights marketplace and production engine, the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) to Canada. ACX, saysAudible, enables individual authors or publishers to work with professional actors and producers to create audiobooks. The company reports that since its launch in June, ACX has added almost 500 audiobooks from Canadian authors to the Audible service.
"Honoring Canada's distinctive literary and theatrical tradition and supporting the creation of rich local content, Audible.ca is a dedicated, authentic, and vibrant multi-language destination for English- and French-speaking Canadian consumers that puts Canadian talent and spoken-word content front and center," said Audible founder and CEO Don Katz. "We look forward to delivering an even richer and more culturally resonant listening experience to our Canadian customers and customers to come."
"Audible's dedicated Canadian service is great news for Canadian writers of all kinds," commented Margaret Atwood. "Artful voice performance enhances text, and Audible gives authors access to a rapidly growing audience for whom listening is a wonderful way to experience gripping narratives and forceful words."
"It is so gratifying that Audible is providing Quebec authors and actors this powerful medium to showcase their work," said Leroux. "Quebec has a unique culture and storytelling tradition, and deeply values the arts. I think the Quebecois public will love hearing the works of their favorite Quebecois writers brought to life in this way."
Audible claims to be "the world's largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content." It reports that its content library now includes over 375,000 audio programs.