Bechs Forlag – Viatone is a Danish company established in 2006 with the purpose of making audio books accessible for everybody, both in a traditional CD format and as downloads. At this time audio books were not commercially available in Denmark, apart from the few expensive editions produced and sold to the libraries. To begin with, we were concentrating on publishing modern classics, and so novels by writers such as Hemingway, Steinbeck, Dostoevsky, Camus, Nabokov, Wassmo and Heinesen were recorded. In several cases the audio book was supplemented with a re-publication of the printed book, if it was sold out.
Since then the publications have been expanded with contemporary prize-winning novels (coming classics) – published as traditional paper books, as e-books for download, as MP3 audio books and as audio books for download. The company’s prediction of a growing market for audio books in Denmark has held good; the number of audio books sold has doubled every year since 2007. The download side of it, in particular, has developed a lot, and today all internet book shops offer download editions of the audio books that the buyer can listen to from MP3-players such as smartphones and tablets.
In the second half of 2014 we also started publishing some of our titles in Swedish as we noted that only a limited selection of classics are available at the Swedish audio book market. Crime novels and bestsellers are dominating and we hope to help expand the range of audio books available in Sweden with the continuous publication of our classic and contemporary prize-winning titles.
During the summer of 2015 we decided to publish some of our lesser known classics in English as we realized that there are some gaps in the English language audio book market for classics. Starting out with Dostoyevsky’s two short stories A Little Hero and A Gentle Spirit as well as his satirical novel The Village of Stepanchikovo, the plan is to follow these up with other lesser known classics by different authors in our catalogue.