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Wix Audiobooks: Misadventures and Lessons Learned

In last week's blog, I confessed that I'm not the most business-savvy person. What saves me is that I'm an information hound, eager to learn, and don't mind admitting my ignorance or asking questions. One of my business goals is to make my website more profitable by selling ebooks and audibooks direct. At the very least, I'd like the website to earn enough to pay for itself.

With the debacle that was Spotify's big announcement and the changes it prompted (see last week's blog), business decisions I'd put on hold got pushed to the front of the line. I need to start pushing audiobooks in my website store.

Selling Audiobooks Direct: Author Side

When choosing my Wix site, I deliberately chose a design that would allow me to sell music albums and singles. Because audiobooks are mp3 files, selling one meant I was able to sell the other. I uploaded my audiobook files before uploading my ebooks to my store. I've had this website for over two years now and have yet to sell one audiobook. I prayed about it, and God gave me a few ideas.

Idea #1: Lower the prices of my audiobooks. I changed the prices to $5, $10, and $15 based on narration length.

Idea #2: Bundle the ebook with the audiobook in a BOGO for free deal. This was simple to do. I'd noticed when setting up the audiobook files that I had the option to add bonus content. Uploading the epub file to the mp3 files only took seconds.

Setting up the store was easy. The biggest problem was not knowing what happened when a reader purchased an audiobook. This information was critical because it determined whether my Wix store was sufficient for my needs or whether I'd have to pay additional money to use a site like BookFunnel. In addition, I needed to know in case my customers experienced issues. I had to have an answer to give them.

I'm already paying over $300 a year for my website and store. I didn't want to add an additional $120 a year for Bookfunnel. I also didn't want to load my audibooks to yet another site where I had no control. If possible, the best outcome was to make Wix work.

End User Experience - The Customer Side

First Issue: I tried to purchase an audiobook. Couldn't. I use PayPal with my website. PayPal wouldn't allow me to buy from myself. (Bummer!) I called my daughter, explained the problem, and asked her to buy one of my audiobooks. She did and sent screenshots of what the customer saw at each step.

The process was easy. She selected the audiobook, made payment, and within minutes received a payment notification with a download link. The download was a zip file which took a few minutes to download. My daughter has an Apple phone. She sent me the link so that I could do the same with my android phone.

Second Issue: The good news is that all of the files downloaded in the correct order. (A major concern of mine.) The bad news is that she couldn't figure out how to play the audiobook. Once she did, it only played once chapter at a time and wouldn't auto-advance. I speculated that it might be the media player she used.

Once my file downloaded to my phone, I had to find and extract it, and then figure out how to play it. Once extracted, playing it turned out to be easy. Samsung asked me which app I wanted to use to play it: Media Player, Amazon Music, or Spotify?

My first mistake was telling it to always use Amazon Music. Amazon couldn't find the file. To be honest, it could totally have been user error. I deleted the files from my phone and started again. This time I selected the music player app I'd installed. Other than repeating chapter one twice (no clue what that's about), it played just fine. It auto-advanced from one chapter to the next, just like my audiobooks do with Audible.

Final Analysis

Selling audibooks is possible with my website. Tech-challenged customers like me might have a few issues, but nothing that can't be overcome with a bit of patience. It remains to be seen if the new price structure will garner sales.

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