AudioGO (formerly BBC Audiobooks) was a publisher of audiobooks and a range of spoken word and large-print titles. It was majority owned by AudioGO Ltd, and minority owned by BBC Worldwide. It was formed in 2010, when AudioGO purchased a majority share in BBC Audiobooks, and traded until it went into administration in 2013.
|Parent company||AudioGO Ltd, BBC Worldwide|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Key people||Michael Kuhn|
|Publication types||audiobooks, books|
|Imprints||AudioGO, BBC Audio, BBC Radio Collection|
|Revenue||£25.9m p.a. (as of 2010)|
|No. of employees||140 (as of 2010)|
AudioGO published unabridged audio novels, and the BBC Radio Collection which incorporated dramatisations and non-fiction output derived from BBC Radio programmes. Novels were published under the imprint AudioGO, and BBC-sourced content under the BBC Audio imprint, the latter making up about 20% of new titles as of 2010.
The BBC titles, formerly known as the BBC Radio Collection, and considered by industry experts to be the most valuable asset, were licensed to Random House Audio. It included popular radio dramatisations such as Doctor Who, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, as well as radio comedy including I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and Just a Minute.
Owned by BBC Worldwide, BBC Audiobooks was created by the amalgamation of BBC Radio Collection, Cover to Cover and Chivers Audio Books (Chivers Press) in 2001. BBC Audiobooks had bought Cover to Cover in 2000, a company which specialised in unabridged audio recordings and had been started by Helen Nicoll, the author of the Meg and Mog books, in 1983. Chivers Audio Books was one of the early commercial audiobook companies and among the first to employ professional actors for narration.
In July 2010, BBC Worldwide, at that time led by CEO John Smith, sold an 85% stake in BBC Audiobooks to AudioGO Ltd, a company set up by former Polygram senior executive Michael Kuhn and six partners, for a reported £10m to £15m. In 2011, AudioGO acquired US children's audiobook firm Audio Bookshelf.
In October 2013 AudioGO Ltd announced that it was suspending operations, due to "significant financial challenges", and was seeking fresh investment or a sale of the business. The US arm, Blackstone Audio which had been acquired in January 2013, was sold back to its founders, the Black family, with other AudioGO US operations at the same time.
In November 2013 it was announced that 57 employees had been made redundant, and that the licensing rights to 5,000 non-BBC titles would be transferred to Amazon.com-owned Audible pending approval from affected authors and publishers. In December 2013, Random House Audio reached an agreement with BBC Worldwide to license the rights to the prestigious 3,500 BBC audio catalogue, saying that it would take "sole responsibility for sales, stock management and distribution of BBC-branded physical CDs in the UK and the rest of the world excluding North America, Australia and New Zealand," and "take global responsibility for download sales with leading digital retailers, including Audible".
The AudioGo website reported it would close on 1 February 2014, however sales ceased on the website months before then.
- "BBC Audiobooks sold". The Guardian. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "Welcome to AudioGO". AudioGO. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "AudioGO's BBC titles signed by Random House". The Bookseller. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Milliot, Jim (28 August 2009). "BBC Audiobooks for Sale". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- Ringshaw, Grant; Poole, Oliver (10 December 2000). "BBC buys big audio books group". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- "A Brief History of Audio Books". Booksalley.com. 2007-09-18. Archived from the original on 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "AudioGO Merges with Audio Bookshelf". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
- "AudioGO Acquires Blackstone Audio". Publishers Weekly. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "AudioGO suspends business operations". The Bookseller. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "AudioGO files for administration". The Bookseller. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "Fifty-seven redundancies made at AudioGO". The Bookseller. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "Audible buys rights to 5,000 AudioGO titles". The Bookseller. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.