The New York Times on Audible’s Writing-to-the-Form Original Productions

The New York Times ran a front-page story on Sunday, June 3, on the expanding range of writers — novelists, journalists, playwrights, screen writers, comedians — writing to the Audible listening aesthetic and conveying their powerfully performed words to Audible’s millions of listeners.

When Michael Lewis had an idea for his next book, a contemporary political narrative, he decided he would test it out first as a 10,000-word magazine article, as he often does before committing to a yearslong project.

But this time he made a surprising pivot. Instead of publishing the story in Vanity Fair, where he has been a contributing writer for nearly a decade, he sold it to Audible, the audiobook publisher and retailer.

“You’re not going to be able to read it, you’re only going to be able to listen to it,” Mr. Lewis said. “I’ve become Audible’s first magazine writer.”

Mr. Lewis — arguably one of the most successful nonfiction writers working today, with book sales topping 10 million copies — is betting Audible will expand his audience and draw even more people to his work. Last month, he signed a multiyear contract with Audible for four audio original stories, with the first scheduled to come out in July. Mr. Lewis, who wouldn’t reveal further details about the story, plans to narrate it himself.

It quotes Don as saying: “We’re scripting to this new aesthetic. This wasn’t a full fledged media category before, it was a tiny little Siberia stuck in book publishing, and it shouldn’t have been.”