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News: W.F. Howes turns 20


W.F. Howes, the UK’s largest independent publisher of audiobooks, today celebrates the significant milestone of 20 years in business.

Established in 1999 with the mission of bringing a wider selection of unabridged audiobook titles to market, the Leicestershire-based company has become one of the most prolific audiobook publishers in the world, playing a pivotal role in the recent audio boom.

The company has been responsible for some of the biggest global success stories in audio publishing, such as Harlan Coben’s Tell No One, David Nicholl’s One Day, and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, working with big name narrators—from David Tennant and Caroline Quentin, to Surrane Jones and Greg James—to bring their audiobooks to life.

So far in 2019, W.F. Howes has published over 1,000 audiobook titles, an increase of 156 percent since 2012. As the company has expanded its output, it has also grown, now employing over 50 permanent members of staff.

Miles Stevens-Hoare, General Manager at W.F. Howes, said: “To many people, audiobooks are something of a recent phenomenon. But we here at W.F. Howes have been living and breathing audio for 20 years, dedicating ourselves to unlocking the category’s understated potential and helping audiobooks to reach a wider audience. During this time, we have witnessed disruption, widespread digital adoption, and rapidly evolving consumption habits, and have moved with the times to grow the market and build on our success.”

Launching at a time when very few audiobooks were being published—predominantly in cassette format for the elderly and visually impaired—W.F. Howes set about driving the mass market appeal of audio by dramatically expanding the range of titles being made available to consumers across multiple genres.

The company invested heavily in high-quality production with state-of-the-art studio facilities and expert production staff, while driving innovation across the retail and library markets—over 90 percent of libraries in the UK now use RBdigital, its digital download lending service.

Miles continued: “We have established a leading position in the library market and strengthened our retail offering, while smoothly managing the various format transitions which have taken place as technology has developed at break-neck speed. I am extremely proud of everything W.F. Howes has accomplished over the last 20 years and feel privileged to be part of this company’s success story. Long may it continue!”

To celebrate W.F. Howes’ 20th anniversary, the company is running a special library promotion offering 30 percent off on a collection of 20 of its favourite audiobook titles from the last 20 years. Click here to find out more.


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