When the pandemic hit and schools closed, Audible moved quickly to bring stories to families and educators around the world. Launched in just 10 days, Audible Stories gave anyone, in any country, free and unlimited access to stream hundreds of family-friendly titles in nine languages. From April 2020 to June 2021, the collection was regularly updated and included a range of perspectives and content by and for underrepresented groups.
But the story behind this tremendous effort is, itself, a compelling one, full of surprises and complexities, which the Stories team revealed on a recent LinkedIn Live (you can watch below). It all began with a tweet to Audible’s CEO Bob Carrigan, who deputized Chrissy App, Strategic Advisor, to “make it happen.” Overnight, App pulled together a core international team, many of whom had never worked with each other before.
The team immediately began working to identify and navigate around unprecedented challenges. For starters, could they compile a catalog of titles diverse enough to please listeners of all ages and tastes, and across a spectrum of languages and cultures? How would they make this content accessible so that people wouldn’t have to create accounts and log in?
As the project evolved, needs arose around the globe that also required creative problem-solving, like getting Spanish-language content on the radio in Peru when Audible had never been on the radio before, and in India, adding locally relevant content in Hindi.
For an initative that was only supposed to be live for a few weeks, its impact has endured beyond anyone’s expectations. Eloise Elandaloussi, Audible Germany’s Director of Content, shares a story from a customer whose daughter had been diagnosed with severe dyslexia. The customer was told her daughter would likely be illiterate. Instead, listening along to Audible Stories helped her pass her reading exams with an “A” and she’s now writing her own books.
Knowing that Stories has helped people during such a difficult time brings great pride to our employees, who say they’ve bonded over the experience of working so intensely and quickly to bring it to life. “Seeing how this team came together,” says App, “I developed a profound respect for what all of you do, and for you as people.”
Watch the entire conversation below.