Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Digital Erotica goes mainstream

Between the sheets there is some new bedtime listening. Virgin Books has launched an erotic audiobooks joint venture with Audible who will deliver downloadable titles under Virgin's Black Lace, Nexus, Cheek and Erotic Memoir imprints.

In technology, Erotica always leads and others follow. The questions are whether Audible’s model will appeal to erotic buyers and ordinary audio book buyers and also whether this can capture new download sales or merely replaces those in the old formats? Today there are 521 erotic titles available from and 239 at, of which Virgin has just loaded 20. However, Virgin does have a huge list of titles, so it can convert a lot more and could be become a major contributor to this genre in Audible.

A visit to the US site is interesting. Listening to the samples may do it for some, but personally it didn’t work for me! ‘Between the Sheets’ took some two minutes before the steam started to rise and then it cut out. ‘Erotic Short Stories was certainly quick to the point, but the reader was so fast I wondered what the softly spoken lady was talking about! Like a schoolboy I then searched all over the UK site. I couldn’t find the Virgin titles but loads of ‘In Bed with Susie Bright’. In fact 115 titles are hers! She produces audiobooks like a blog, or a podcast, each about 26 minutes long for around £3.99. One can sample as many as you need for 5 mins for free! She sounds just like an American lady, just talking off the cuff and into the mike. The Susie Bright model is however interesting and shows how to viral market, blog and potentially make money. In fact she has her own website, blog, store, entry in wikipedia, generates over 400K hits on Google and produces a weekly podcast which is sold via Audible!

So what have we learnt? Certainly an insight into viral marketing and promotion but is it digital news or just I we suspect, more digital noise?