Penguin are the UK’s leading publisher of audiobooks. We bring together our amazing authors and the world’s very best acting talent to create exceptional listening experiences; from the finest stories and ideas for adults to entertainment and education for children and families.
Penguin is made up of nine independent publishing houses and fourteen group function teams. Audio is one of our nine publishing houses, but unlike the other publishing houses that specialise in a certain type of book, they create award-winning, market-leading audio editions of books from all over the business.
Audio look after the audio edition of Penguin book titles from the initial acquisition conversation right through to ongoing, long-tail marketing activity which can still be running many years after initial publication.
Editorial are part of the very early acquisition conversation, which gathers together key members of the business to decide whether to buy, or ‘acquire’, a book.
They’ll judge whether a work has profitable potential in audio, commission a recording, handle any initial decisions about how best to translate the printed text into audio, and work with the author, editor and our network of voice and talent agents to find exactly the right voice or voices to narrate our edition.
Our Audio production teams handle the business of taking a final manuscript and getting it recorded. They prepare the text, research the correct pronunciation for any words that might require some guidance in the studio, and start to build a picture of how the book should sound, from the overall tone of the recording to specifics of how particular characters should speak.
They’ll work in the studio with the narrator to ensure that they’re able to give a brilliant performance and take the lead on post-production, ensuring that the finished edit of the recording meets our exacting standards, as well as directing sound design and music elements where necessary.
Our specific marketing team run a mix of campaigns across both our new releases, and previously published (‘catalogue’) titles. On an ongoing basis, they try to ensure that every listener’s next audiobook is a Penguin title by running reactive multi-channel campaigns to help us make the big books even bigger.
Operations manage the delivery of final files, ensuring that they’re ready to go out to retailers, and work closely with colleagues across the business to ensure that not only the recording but the artwork, edition copy, metadata, and bibliographic data for dozens of titles every month are supplied correctly, accurately and on time.
Alongside our own productions, we also buy and repackage BBC audio content as Penguin audiobooks before working with sellers and suppliers across the UK and around the world to get these into the hands of as many listeners as possible.
We are continually investing in our Audiobook offering, and have recently doubled our in-house studio space, located in our London Embassy Gardens office.
“When you’re translating something that visual into audio you can take less from the page. You have to create more from nowhere. What you’re doing with sound design and music is attempting to replicate the experience of reading the book, but in quite a non-literal way. The music is designed to give you some of the emotional impact that the words and pictures have together.”
Richard Lennon, Audio Publisher
There is a huge variety of roles. We have our Production team consisting of producers, sound editors and those responsible for the smooth running of our studios. We also have our Operations team who make sure the audiobook distribution to retailers is seamless, including Google, Audible and Apple; and manage schedules to keep productions on track. Of course, we also have our Editorial department who commission the audiobooks, cast actors, and do detailed work on texts and briefs for readers. Lastly, Marketing, Design, and Sales ensure our products reach as wide an audience as possible, and that people are just as, if not more excited to listen to our audiobooks.
It is. It’s one of our nine publishing houses and comes with its own production, editorial, marketing, and operations teams. These dedicated teams mean that Penguin Audio is the UK’s leading publisher of audiobooks. We do however, work very closely with the other publishing houses and group functions and have dedicated members of staff who partner with them.
We do indeed, and we’re expanding! At our office in Embassy Gardens, we are working hard to ensure our studio spaces are maxed out and used to their fullest. We have in-house producers, studio managers and sound editors to make sure everything happens smoothly. We do, however, also use some external studios for recordings outside of London.
For our production roles, we may need you to bring a love for the format with experience working with sound – whether that’s radio, podcasts, music etc.
For our entry-level roles (such as Editorial Assistant or Marketing Assistant), we don’t need you to have worked with the format at all.
What important to us is that you are a strong team player able to communicate effectively to a wide range of people. You’ll also be organised and proactive, able to keep on top of your multiple deadlines and ensure others deliver on theirs.
We don’t publish an audio edition of every print book that Penguin publish, but decide which books are most suited to audio and discuss what will likely be the best production approach to make the best audiobook for listeners.
It really varies depending on the length of the book, but on average we’d say 3 days in the studio is most common for recording an audiobook. But then there is also a post-production process to edit and prep the final audio for publication!
We publish audiobooks across the whole range of genres that Penguin has published in print, but non-fiction, memoir and crime fiction are some of our most popular genres.