Penguin Random House UK recently launched a new partnership between its audio division and 2000AD publisher Rebellion, in response to increasing demand for science fiction audio.
The partnership will see Penguin Random House produce and distribute audio versions of Rebellion’s latest fiction titles alongside classic graphic novels from its bestselling 2000AD imprint.
Supporting the decision to invest in this area, PRH cited new research from Harris Interactive that indicates that science fiction is one of the leading audiobook genres, with 30% of those surveyed listening to science fiction in the past 12 months. In contrast, according to research from Bookstat, revealed at the Futurebook Conference, traditional publishers are only capturing half of the overall demand.
“This is a really exciting new partnership,” commnted Richard Lennon, audio publisher at PRH, “which helps us reach even more listeners in this hugely popular and ever-growing section of the audiobook market.
“We’re looking forward to helping tell some of Rebellion’s incredible stories and to creating some truly groundbreaking recordings, particularly as we explore turning some of British comic book history’s true greats – Judge Dredd, Slaine and Rogue Trooper, to name but a few – into audiobooks for the first time.”
(Presumably, Lennon is referring to this being the first time Penguin has adapted Rebellion characters, as there have been previous forays into audio for Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, for example, thanks to Big Finish and others).
Ben Smith, Rebellion’s head of Film, TV & Publishing, said: “Rebellion is the UK’s leading comic book publisher and home to Hugo and Nebula Award-winning fiction from our Solaris and Abaddon imprints, and as such we’re delighted to partner with Penguin’s forward-looking audio team. Their appetite to bring both our fiction and our landmark graphic novels to the audiobook market is tremendously exciting. We can’t wait for the public to listen to the incredible stories in the works.”
PRH will produce and distribute audio versions of around 30 titles a year from the Rebellion frontlist, which covers genres including science fiction, fantasy and horror, and will include works from authors such as Chuck Wendig, Katherine Addison, Derek Künsken and Adrian Tchaikovsky.
The first title to be published under the new partnership is Chuck Wendig’s apocalyptic epic, Wanderers, read by Dominic Hoffman and Xe Sands, available now.
The audiobooks, published from March 2020, will draw on Penguin Random House’s “roster of top narrator talent”. PRH’s audio bestsellers include titles such as The Handmaid’s Tale narrated by Elisabeth Moss, The Secret Commonwealth narrated by Michael Sheen, and Becoming, narrated by Michelle Obama.
The partnership will also see PRH record and produce adaptations of five new graphic novels in the 2000AD series, which will feature multi-voice narration, sound design and original music to bring the stories to life.