Behind the Scenes Tour of Audible

by Peter on May 8, 2012

Welcome to Audible, the world’s largest audio book retailer located right here in the historical heart of New York New Jersey.

My name is Katherine Kellgren and I’m one of the dozens of audio book narrators who record audio books for you every day. Am excited to show you around so let’s take a look inside.

Audible is spread over the top three floors of this building. We are now in the main reception area which has got this really cool. Custom made multimedia strip. As you enter the office you can read about audio titles on the zippers or listen to the audio books themselves on the speakers above. It’s a great mix of Silicon Valley high tech and old school spoken word story telling.


Audio books was founded in 1995 by Don Pats. And here we have what Dons wife refers to as the Don museum. Don was an award winning author and journalist before he founded Audible but he always had a vision for spoken word entertainment and you can read all about it right here. Oh look, Pride and Prejudice in zombies! I narrated that audio book, Zombies, classic.

Another full piece of Audible history is right here in this conference room. In 2008 Audible was acquired by Amazon. When Amazon was first starting out they made desks out of doors, so they could put all their money into the customer experience. Here is one of the original door desks signed by Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bazzos.

When Audio books first moved here, CEO Don Pats wanted a collaborative environment. There are so many people who work here, creative people, actors, editors, computer scientists, so this open layout creates a forum for the open exchange of ideas.

All these desks are custom build for this space with the orange and green of the Audible logo. One of the best features of the offices are the amazing views of New York and the Manhattan sky line. Audible chose to make its home here because it wanted to be part in the revitalization of this city. We are really proud to be part of the New York renaissance

If you look out here you can see the New York Spares baseball field. Audible’s own soft ball league uses their field in the summer. As Audible is so linked to New York, all conference rooms here are named after people and places significant to New York history. We have rooms here named after Philip Roth, Alan Ginsberg, Queen Latifa, to name a few, there is even and ice t phone booth upstairs.

This conference room is named after Cory Booker, Ney York’s current mayor. You notice that all our conference rooms have this little outlook touch pad that we use for booking rooms. Since it’s synched to everyone’s calendar it saves people from that awkward peeping… sorry.

In the center of the Audible offices we have this stacked column of recording studios. They were designed by Walter Stoic Design Group. Stoic designed the famous electric lady land studios for Jamie Hendricks. Since then he has designed studios for Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys among others. Let’s go take a peek inside.

So this is where the audio book magic happens. Each one of our studios is set up so that the narrator is positioned directly across from the engineer. The average book takes about four or five days to record. And when you are in one of these studies it’s easy to fall into a whole in the space – time continuum.

Well, let’s see who is recording today. Why it’s Therese Palmer!

Therese: What is up girl?
Katherine: Hey Therese?
Therese: Nice to see you!
Katherine: Nice to see you, what are you working on today?
Therese: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Alison,
Katherine: Alright, I’ll let you get back to work.
Therese: Great, see you.
Katherine: Bye!

Everyone along these walls is answering phones and helping customers 24/7. They are right here on the floor where the Audio books get made. These guys know everything. Whether you are recording, producing or programming it’s always nice to have a cozy spot to take five. Here we are in Audible cafeteria. In this space there are steamed tables for catered lunches, and a stage and a podium for speeches and company meetings. Recent visitors have included Game of Thrones author JR Martins and the Amazon CEO Jeff Bezzos.

Audible offers complementary snacks and drinks and there is an array of futuristic coffee gadgets. Me I just prefer a good old fashioned cup of tea.

Thanks for stopping by Cubes. I had a great time showing you around Audible but now I really must get back to work.

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