Here is Cassandra Carper’s interview with Devin Mahoney, the Operations Manager at Blackstone Audio. Enjoy!
CC: Tell me a little about yourself.
DM: I grew up in Ashland and graduated from Ashland high. I then did a year at SOU and 2 years at Lane Community College, while also taking some classes at the U of O. I was planning on finishing college and getting my degree but instead I started working at Blackstone about 10 years ago, starting at the bottom and slowly working my way up. Along the way I had the opportunity to work in several different departments which has given me a great perspective. I originally worked at Blackstone right after high school because one of my good friends got me the job. A few years later when I came back it just happened to be a good fit and also good timing as the company was on the verge of really expanding.
CC: Do you have a favorite book/audiobook?
DM: It is very hard to pick a favorite but it seems I always come back to Zodiac by Robert Graysmith and read by Stefan Rudnicki. It is the only audiobook to ever really scare me. The story is creepy but the reading by Stefan just enhanced the overall feel.
CC: What does your job entail?
DM: I do a little bit of everything. I handle all HR matters such as hiring, firing, reviews, raises, resolving issues between staff, etc… I also do a lot of contract negotiations with our special projects. Most of the remainder of my time is overseeing operations, which can be as simple as arranging to have a plumber come in to fix a leaky faucet or as complicated as planning and managing our annual book sale event (food, bands, product sales, volunteers, etc…).
CC: What is your favorite part of your job and the least favorite part of your job?
DM: One of my favorite parts of this job are the relationships with coworkers and being in the position to help solve problems. The least favorite part of my job is having to let someone go for whatever the reason, it is always very hard to do especially in today’s economy.
CC: Who is the primary audience for Blackstone Audio?
DM: The primary audience is 40 and up, but with downloads always increasing the younger market is expanding.
CC: How long does it take to make one audiobook?
DM:It all depends on the narrator and the complexity of the book. From recording through to shipping, one ten-hour book could take 30 to 50 hours, while another ten-hour book could take a couple hundred hours.
CC: What types of audiobooks does Blackstone make? Fiction, non-fiction?
DM: We try to do a little bit of everything. The more options we can offer our customers, the better.
CC: What is the basic process for making an audiobook?
DM: The process starts with acquiring the rights to the audio. Then the book is researched so we can make sure we record with the correct intentions and cultural nuances. The next step is recording the audio and then proofing the audio. Once the audio is finished being proofed and any and all corrections have been made our audio engineers will put on the final touches and cut the book up into several different formats ( ie. cassette, cd, mp3, digital downloads). When our hard good formats are ready we then duplicate the discs, tapes, or mp3’s and then package and ship them. When the download versions are ready we upload the content to our download partners so they can downloaded off any one of their sites.
CC: Where can people purchase Blackstone audiobooks?
DM: Our audiobooks can be purchased in our lobby here in town or online as digital downloads through any one of our many digital partners including Audible.com. You can purchase some of our titles as iPhone apps through iTunes, with our Android app as well as others to be released soon. You can also purchase our tiles at many retail chains such as Barnes and Nobles. The other place you may find our books is in your local library.
CC: Does Blackstone sell more audiobooks online or in stores?
DM: In the last couple of years the download market has surpassed the hard goods sales and we only expect that trend to continue.
CC: Will the change from paper books to electronic books change the market for audiobooks?
DM: Most definitely, we see that change as an opportunity for us to grow our business even more. We believe there is a way to combine both audio and ebook in one digital product that appeals to both markets. Coming soon….