Kristin Lang, Audible’s Senior Director of Acquisitions and Content Partnerships, and her team work to acquire the rights to turn books, articles, stories or even viral videos into audiobooks. But her day to day is anything but simple, and rights deals happen at rapid-fire speed: A typical day for the publishing industry veteran includes ironing out multiple agreements with agents and authors; pitching new voices on why they should work with Audible; and coordinating with teams inside the organization to make acquisitions a success. Each day in her role, she says, “you have to be really nimble, creative and strategic.”
1) How have you seen Audible evolve since you started here nine years ago?
I come from the book publishing world; I've been a book scout, agent and editorial director. I liked working with audio publishers and as I was trying to figure out what to do next, a mentor and I talked about how audio was really heating up, mostly due to Audible's influence. So when this job came up, I took a leap of faith—and it's paid off! Since 2009, we've gotten exponentially bigger, as has our focus on not resting on our laurels and finding new ways to engage our customers.
2) How has the catalog changed? Where do you see it going?
We have new members and the ability to reach them, and I love being able to acquire more books from diverse voices and in new and developing genres. Plus, we're also leveraging our relationships to acquire rights for some exciting Originals productions.
3) What are some deals you're most proud of?
The first deal I ever did that was really out of the box and that shaped how Audible has moved forward was the satirical bedtime story Go The F—k to Sleep. It was 2011, and I had a five-year-old and a two-year-old at the time and saw it going viral on Facebook, and though it didn't fit into any buckets of anything we'd ever done, we ended up with Samuel L. Jackson narrating it and it was a massive hit.
4) When do you listen and what have you been listening to recently?
I listen on my commute from Maplewood, N.J. to Newark, but started listening when I was training for a half marathon years ago. I just finished The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason. I also recently listened to David Spade's A Polaroid Guy in a Snapchat World, which I did the deal for, and laughed a lot (disclaimer: some of the humor is not for the faint of heart).
5) When you're not making deals to expand our Audible offerings, what do you love to do?
I spend as much time as I can with my husband and two sons who are now 14 and 10 years old.