Penguin Audio Backs Out of E-music Audiobook Deal

by Staff

Penguin Audio announced yesterday that it will not proceed with plans to offer one hundred and fifty audio titles on eMusic, the second largest seller of electronic media available for download. Penguin Audio withdrew its offer to avoid the potential for digital piracy due to the unregulated MP3 format in which eMusic sells its files.

The MP3 format does not carry digital rights management (DRM) technology, which prevents users from sharing files and burning files to multiple CDs. Each MP3 sold on eMusic includes a watermark, which indicates the source of the file, should it appear on a file-sharing site, but does not restrict sharing.

Publisher Madeline McIntosh of Random House Audio, one of the four publishing companies still signed on with eMusic, said that a monitoring firm has so far located no piracy of Random House Audio titles on file-sharing sites. McIntosh called early sales "really encouraging."

Though eMusic will not begin advertising its audiobooks until December, David Pakman, the company’s CEO, reports that it has sold over five hundred titles daily since the program launched on September 18. In addition to Random House Audio, eMusic offers titles from Blackstone Audio, Hachette, and Naxos Audiobooks, and plans to include three other publishers soon.