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People are pressed for time; in this distracted world devoting time to read a book seems like a luxury. Bibliophiles have nothing to worry though, as audiobooks are to the rescue. With the success of Audible, the audiobook revolution is truly here. Audible is a subsidiary of Amazon and is the most popular platform selling audiobooks. Along with audiobooks it also sells podcasts, newspapers and magazines in the audio format.
The current collection of audible stands at a mammoth 450,000 titles, and it is growing fast. According to Forbes, the growth of audiobooks is 20% which makes it a lucrative business opportunity.
Many entrepreneurs are interested in developing an app like Audible. This article shall act as a complete guide for such entrepreneurs.
The cost of building an app like Audible depends upon a lot of things. This includes the number of app features and functionalities to be added, level of complexity of the app, number of third-party plugins and the country in which you choose to develop your app.
While calculating the cost of developing an app like Audible, you should also take a note about the cost of hosting the app, the cost of publishing the app on play store and even the cost of maintaining and updating the app.
Understand that as the complexity of the app or the number of the features and functionalities increases, so do the costs. Another major factor that has an overbearing effect on the cost of an Audiobook app is whether you are choosing to build a Native app or a Hybrid app. While building a Native app for both iOS and Android can prove to be costly, building a Hybrid app can prove to be an economical solution. The more bells and whistles that you add into your app, the more will be the cost of the app. The country in which you are planning to develop your app also has an overbearing effect on the cost of your app. For example, in the US, you will have to shell out $110-190 per hour to develop and app, while in India, an app with similar functionalities can be built at a cost of $20-$70 per hour.
Building a basic app with features like search and filter, product listing, viewing the shopping cart, payment integration, managing my orders section, Ratings and Review management would cost you between $ 10,000-12,000. The more features you add, the higher will be the cost. Please note that the costing given above is according to an Indian app development firm’s costing, while the costing for an US based app development firm will be at least 2-2.5 times higher.
Let us now look at the various aspects involved in a detailed guide on developing an audiobook app like Audible
The model followed by Audible is a little different than that usual subscription models as it provides more option for the user. Audible has mainly two options for generating revenue
The subscription model
Audible charges its users a monthly subscription fee, and in return, it provides you with access to thousands of audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, newspapers and many more things. When you pay the monthly subscription fee of audible, you will get 1 credit. Then you can buy from the available titles using this credit.
The Audio book selling model
Another business model of Audible is the Audio book selling model. In this model, the company sells its audiobooks like any other online book retailer. You login to the app, select your favourite title, pay for it, and you get access to the audio book.
Advertisements:- For users who want to enjoy the free titles, you can include ads within the free audiobooks. You can also show in-app promotions of various audiobooks and other related products to increase the ad-revenues.
Subscriptions:- Another source of revenue can be subscriptions, where you allow users to listen to a certain number of books monthly or annually. The subscription model works in two ways. The first method is when you allow the customer to read a limited number of books during a specific period, say one month. In the other method, you ask the customer a fixed amount of money and allow the customer to listen to as many books as he/she can read.
Selling Audiobooks- In this monetization model, you will sell the audiobooks directly to your customer. This model will attract those customers who are interested only in a few specific audiobooks.
Promotion of new authors- Many new and talented authors in the industry want to get recognized. You can enter into an agreement with these authors and promote their content on your website. Then you can either take a fixed amount for promoting the authors, or you can take a cut from the sold titles.
Let us now discuss a few user panel features
Sign up/ sign in:- the user should be able to sign up with your app quickly. It would ensure that you can create a user profile and track the titles that the user is interested in. To make the sign-in/sign up easy, you can easily link it with social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Play/pause the book:- the user should be able to easily play-pause the book. You should also add a feature to book-mark individual chapter. Another feature that needs to be added is the fast-forward/backward button. It will help the user in quickly reaching the desired spot in the audiobook. This feature is especially helpful when the user is listening to the book again, as the user might want to skip some parts in a chapter.
Background play:- The app should play with ease in the background without interfering with the other processes in the phone. You should also keep sufficient provided that the user does not push any button by mistake that hinders the experience. This feature is especially helpful in situations when the user is in a crowded place like while commuting in a public transport system. Another useful feature to add in the app would be allowing the users to control the playback of the audiobook via their earphones. This feature will enhance the user experience.
Save for later:- Sometimes the user is too confused between different titles. You can solve this dilemma by allowing the user to save the books for future reference.
Manage subscriptions:- The admin should be able to manage various subscriptions and see how many users have availed the service.
Add/delete audiobooks:- The admin panel should allow the admin to add or remove the audiobooks as per requirement.
Manage advertisements:- The admin should be able to manage the ads that are shown in the app.
Manage the extra content:- In this feature, the admin will be able to manage the additional content like related news, author interviews and other such material.
Apart from the common features, there are some advanced features that you can include in your app to make it stand out from the crowd.
Variable speed:– Many times, users want to understand a concept more clearly. Slowing down the playback speed can help the users in achieving this goal. Some users are power users and like to skim through a book or listen to a book on repeat mode until the concepts are ingrained into their heads. Having a fast playback speed can help these users in achieving their goals.
Integration with various devices:– People listen to audiobooks not only on their smartphones but also in their car, on their smart speakers and their desktops and laptops while working. Hence in this connected world, your app must integrate with various devices seamlessly. Doing this will also boost your app installs as the app would always be on the mind of the users.
Social media sharing:– To boost the engagement of your app, another thing you can try is to allow the users to share short passages from the audiobooks they purchase with their friends on social media. It will bring in new users to your app.
Audio and text together:– Audible has a feature known as immersion reading. In this feature, the user can read and listen simultaneously. This allows the user to have an immersive experience with the audiobook. You can add a similar function to your app.
Newsfeed and interviews with the author:– For big-ticket launches like the Hunger Games and Harry Potter, creating hype around the book is a good idea. Providing a section for conducting interviews and newsfeed will help you in building this hype.
Push notifications:– Having push notifications instilled into your app will allow you to disseminate valuable information like new book launches, important announcements regarding a particular book and other such information.
UI/UX: You can use tools like Photoshop and Google sketch to craft beautiful UI/UX that will help in engaging users to your platform.
Payment Gateways: You can use services like Stripe and Braintree to integrate various payment gateways like Paypal, MasterCard, Visa, Netbanking services of multiple banks.
Data Storage: You can choose to store your data in an on-site server or on a cloud. Cloud storage is increasingly becoming the preferred option amongst various IT companies. It is because of the sophisticated solutions, flexibility and cost-effectiveness that cloud storage provides.
Coding: Objective C, Java, Python, Swift are the preferred languages amongst iPhone and Android developers. Nowadays, you also have the freedom to build a hybrid app using platforms like Flutter and React Native.
Stream audiobooks:To instantly stream the audiobooks, you can use services like Cassandra and PostgreSQL.
Data Analytics: You will need data analytics to ensure that you know about the personal preferences of each customer. Using Big data analytics, you can also identify which audiobook titles sell well. This data can then be applied to improve the sales of your audiobooks. Using data analytics solutions from Amazon, Google and Microsoft, you can achieve these goals.
Push notifications:– You can include push notifications in your app by using various services like Twillo, Apple push notifications service and firebase. By sending push notifications, you would boost the engagement levels of your app.
Social media signup:– Allowing your users to signup with their social media accounts will ensure that they can subscribe on your portal with minimum hassle. It will boost up the signup rate of your app.
For developing a basic app, you will require
To develop an advanced app you will need a team –
You can either hire an in-house team of developers to build the app or hire professional app developers. A professional app development company having experience in working on many projects can help you in building an app like Audible. A top app development company will already have all the resources necessary to develop the app. By using the experience of the app development company, you can speed up the process of app development. This will significantly reduce the hassles faced during app development and also reduce the time to market of the app. You can quickly build a world-class app using their expertise. This will save you the time and headache of assembling an in-house app development team.