Donald Katz is founder and CEO of Audible, Inc., the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment on the internet. Prior to founding Audible, Don was a journalist and author for 20 years. His work won a National Magazine Award, an Overseas Press Club Award, and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award and other prizes.
Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Newark, NJ, since 2007, Audible serves millions of listeners and offers over 350,000 downloadable audiobooks, audio editions of periodicals, and other programs. Under Don’s leadership, the company commercialized the first portable digital audio player in 1997, four years before the introduction of the iPod. Audible operates 16 global outlets, including audible.co.uk in London, audible.de in Berlin, audible.fr in Paris, audible.it in Italy, audible.com.au in Sydney, and audible.co.jp in Tokyo. Audible was publicly traded on NASDAQ until acquired by Amazon.com, Inc., in 2008 and is now an Amazon subsidiary.
Named one of NJ.com’s “25 Most Influential People in New Jersey” in 2016, Don 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. Don was the recipient of a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award in 2013. The story of Audible, a Business 2.0 magazine profile says, is “precisely the kind Don 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.
Don graduated in 1974 from New York University, where he studied with novelist Ralph Ellison. He attributes his appreciation for audio to Ellison, who emphasized the role of oral and vernacular culture as a fundamental underpinning of American literature. Don also attended the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics, where he earned a MSc in economics. He served as a member of the public library board in Montclair, NJ, for nine years, and has served on the board of Uncommon Schools, a nonprofit 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 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 high-bandwidth accelerator that seeks to connect Newark to the early-stage technology start-up innovation economy. Don is married, the father of three children, and an avid ice hockey player.