Hachette Audio & Wax Audio Group Launch Vinyl Audiobook Series, Featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jerry Garcia & More: Exclusive

Lin Manuel Miranda
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Lin-Manuel Miranda appears onstage at the opening night curtain call for "Hamilton" at the Pantages Theatre on Aug. 16, 2017 in Los Angeles.

The resurgence of vinyl continues, as Hachette Audio, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, and Wax Audio Group has announced a new series of vinyl + digital audiobook titles in 2018. The range will include releases read by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jerry Garcia, Amanda Palmer and Steve Jones, among others. The series launches with David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water, which is available today (Feb. 27).

"As we've all seen recently reported across major media, the dramatic and sustained rise of audiobooks continues, so there is no better time than now to expand our catalog with an audio format that has seen amazing resurgence with a greater dedication of retail space and online merchandising,” Anthony Goff, svp and publisher, Hachette Audio, says in a statement. “Though we published our first vinyl record, David Sedaris’ Live for Your Listening Pleasure, in 2010, we’re thrilled to be able to announce a new, more extensive publishing partnership with Wax Audio Group, and a full list of A-list releases planned through 2018."

Among the upcoming titles are Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter’s 2016 book Hamilton: The Revolution, read by Mariska Hargitay, Miranda and McCarter; Amanda Palmer’s 2015 effort The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, read and sung by Palmer; Dennis McNally’s 2015 book Jerry on Jerry: The Unpublished Jerry Garcia Interviews, narrated by Garcia; and Steve Jones’ 2017 release Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol, read by Jones.

All of these releases will also include digital download codes for the full version of the audiobook (for titles too long to fit on one or two LPs).

The upcoming audiobook on vinyl releases follows a record year for vinyl music album sales in the U.S. In 2017, the format hit another Nielsen Music-era record high, as the configuration sold 14.32 million copies — up 9 percent compared to 2016 (13.1 million). Nielsen Music began electronically tracking music sales data in 1991.

Further, “audio books are the fastest growing vertical in digital publishing,” Jeff Bowers, president and chief marketing officer of Wax Audio Group says, “having reached nearly three billion in sales. And 48 percent of those consumers are also aged 18 to 35. As for the portable convenience question, 57 percent of audio book listeners are listening at home.

“I’m excited about Wax Audio Group because it brings an untapped format to the forefront of audio book releases,” David Bason, partner, Wax Audio Group, also shares in a statement. “We’re seeing authors requesting vinyl releases from their publishers. And why not? It’s absolutely natural for the story telling process to have an audio component. On the creative side it gives the listener a fun and social experience."

Among such creative executions of Hachette and Wax’s audiobook-on-vinyl titles: Wallace’s This Is Water is available in two limited collector’s editions -- 1,500 copies will feature a blue-and-white water-inspired design for online orders, while independent bookstores and music stores will get 500 copies on orange colored vinyl.