Business

Renton digital studio making noise in the world of audio books

Matt Armstrong narrates a book in the Open Book Audio studio. - Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter
Matt Armstrong narrates a book in the Open Book Audio studio.
— image credit: Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter

An audio digital book production company has opened in Renton.

Open Book Audio, created in 2009 by Matt Armstrong and Andrew Parker, was formerly based in Redmond, but because of Renton’s attractiveness as a place to live, Armstrong recently moved his part-time business to the city.

“My favorite part about doing Open Book Audio is that it allows me the opportunity to get back to my performing roots from the comfort of my own home,” said Armstrong via email. “I can combine my love of reading with my performing background in order to put out a product I’m really proud of.”

Open Book Audio has about 120 titles in their catalogue, which Armstrong said is growing by 15 to 20 titles a year.

The company used to produce books by private authors, but now strictly focuses on digital-only distribution. Their most well-known titles are a Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn series and the autobiography of Carl Reiner, “I Remember Me,” to name a few.

Armstrong has a degree in musical theatre and worked in entertainment, before finally landing in the technology field with all his audio equipment.

With Open Book Audio he spends about 25 percent on narration and 75 percent on book keeping and processing. He hires freelance narrators and engineers regularly too.

His business partner, Parker, represents the other side of Open Book Audio, taking care of the marketing needs.

Most of the titles the company distributes come from publishers with whom they have an existing relationship and about half come from individuals, although they don’t solicit authors for that part of their business yet. Armstrong expects that they will see a ramp up when they do.

Audio book retailers have limits on who they work with; they can get into book stores whereas individuals can’t, Armstrong said.

He anticipates that the company will be very profitable in the next three to five years.

For Open Book Audio’s catalogue list, visit www.openbookaudio.com.

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