Don Katz founded Audible, the leading provider of spoken audio information and entertainment, in 1995 after 20 years as an award-winning author and journalist.
Audible commercialized the first portable digital audio player in 1997, four years before the introduction of the iPod, and now includes more than 400,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible was acquired by Amazon in 2008 and runs digital membership businesses in the U.S., the UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan, Italy and Canada, and it serves as the supplier of digital audiobooks to Amazon. Since moving to Newark in 2007, Audible has become the fastest-growing private employer in the city.
In the news
- Business Insider (4/22/18): Audible’s founder talks about selling his company to Amazon for $300 million, bonding with Jeff Bezos, and how he managed to have a ‘nontoxic’ midlife crisis
- TechCrunch (11/14/17): Don Katz dishes on Audible.com storytelling with ‘Invisible Man,’ Ralph Ellison
- Inc. (11/10/17): Notes to my Younger Self
- Fast Company (7/13/17): How Audible’s CEO Is Working To Lift Up The City Around The Company’s Office
- Bloomberg Radio (7/3/17): Don Katz, founder and CEO of Audible, discusses the evolution of the audio book, podcasts and Audible’s relationship with Amazon
- The New York Times (5/30/17): Audible Creates $5 Million Fund for Emerging Playwrights
- CNBC (5/2/17): Turning Ideas into Realities
- Urban Agenda Magazine (February 2017): The Spoken Word With Audible Founder & CEO Donald Katz
- The New York Times (6/14/15): At Audible, Work Speaks Volumes
- NPR (3/9/15): Straight To Audiobook: Authors Write Original Works Meant To Be Heard
- The New York Times (11/30/14): An Art Form Rises: Audio Without the Book
- CNBC (5/9/13): Audible.com: Changing the Way We ‘Read’
Donald Katz is founder and CEO of Audible, Inc., the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment. Prior to founding Audible, Katz was a journalist and author for twenty years; his work won a National Magazine Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, among other prizes.
Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Newark, NJ since 2007, audible.com (US) serves millions of listeners and offers over 400,000 downloadable audiobooks, audio editions of periodicals, and other programs. The company, under Mr. Katz’s leadership, commercialized the first portable digital audio player in 1997, four years before the introduction of the iPod. Audible is the supplier of audiobooks to Apple’s iTunes store worldwide and operates eight dedicated digital storefronts including audible.co.uk, audible.de, audible.fr, audible.com.au, audible.co.jp, audible.it and audible.ca. Audible was publicly traded on NASDAQ until acquired by Amazon.com in 2008 and is now an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary.
Named one of NJ.com’s “25 Most Influential People in New Jersey” in 2016, Donald Katz was also recognized as one of America’s Top 25 Disruptive Leaders by Living Cities for his work on behalf of urban transformation in Newark. Katz was the recipient of a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award in 2013. The story of Audible, a Business 2.0 magazine profile contends, is “precisely the kind Katz would have loved to write, complete with its big ideas about how an audacious writer turned businessman hopes to spearhead a literary revolution by reviving the ancient art of oral storytelling using modern technology. But Katz himself is the story now.”
Don wrote The Big Store: Inside the Crisis and Revolution at Sears (1987), Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America (1992) and Just Do It: The Nike Spirit in the Corporate World (1994). Don also served as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, and Worth. A two-volume collection of Don’s magazine stories, King of the Ferret Leggers and Other True Stories and Valley of the Fallen and Other Places, was published in 2001.
Katz graduated in 1974 from New York University, where he studied with novelist Ralph Ellison; he attributes his fascination with audio to Ellison, who emphasized the role of oral and vernacular culture as a fundamental underpinning of American literature. Katz also attended The University of Chicago as well as The London School of Economics, from which he holds an MSc Economics. He served as a member of the public library board in Montclair, New Jersey for nine years, and has served on the board of Uncommon Schools, a nonprofit organization that manages several of the most outstanding urban college preparatory charter schools in the Northeast, since the organization was founded in 1997. He also served as both a member and chairman of Newark’s economic development corporation, and he is the founder of Newark Venture Partners, a social impact early-stage investment fund and ultra-bandwidth accelerator that seeks to connect Newark – Audible’s global headquarters – to the early-stage technology start-up innovation economy. Mr. Katz is married, the father of three children, and an avid ice hockey player.