“People find great comfort in being read a story,” says Kate Bland, director and co-founder of the audiobook platform Spiracle.

Together with a team of readers, illustrators, producers, editors and writers, Kate creates original audiobooks in collaboration with independent publishers. Spiracle audiobooks have included: “An intense and poetic exploration about what it means to be human,” a memoir that charts a “layering, circling, non-linear time of grief” and a gripping crime novel set in Scotland in 1869, His Bloody Project, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016.

Spiracle also offers a selection of audiobooks produced by other organisations, similar to the way booksellers offer a selection of books and stories within an independent bookshop.

“The wider selection, about 500 audiobooks, is made by a group of people looking for very strong writing and good narration - books that can surprise, that open windows to different cultures and take the listener on unexpected adventures,” says Kate.

Kate Bland, Spiracle Director, speaking at the launch event, pictured with Leigh Wilson, Spiracle Publisher (far left) and Stephanie Cummings, Spiracle Head of Social Media (left)

All audiobooks can be bought as a one-off purchase through the Spiracle website. Customers can also join Spiracle as a member and receive two audiobooks each month.

Spiracle, which launched this year, is a Starling business customer. It’s run by a small London-based team and is funded through private investment, commercial sales and a start-up grant from the Arts Council.

Why audiobooks?

Kate has a lifelong love of books and stories. Before Spiracle, she worked as a radio and audiobook producer. Through this work, she built up a network of narrators, publishers, sound engineers and editors, many of which are now involved in the creation of Spiracle’s original audiobooks.

“Audiobooks can be a way to have more books in your life. We can listen while we’re peeling potatoes, travelling to work or walking the dog,”

For Kate, one of the most important aspects of creating an audiobook is casting the right narrator. “A supreme narrator understands that they are communicating a whole world to the people listening,” she says.

“They can’t move around a stage, they can’t move from camera to camera, they have to do that through their imagination which is somehow translated into their voice. And they have to do it without exaggerating, otherwise it becomes exhausting to listen to. You want something that’s clear and nicely paced.”

Unlike many other audiobook platforms, Spiracle provides the narrator with a 10% share of the audiobook revenue, in addition to their fee.

Why Spiracle?

The name ’Spiracle’ was suggested to Kate and the team by narrator and actor Eleanor Bron. “It’s such a wonderful word, which broadly speaking refers to breathing, to gills or pores - ventilation. Somewhere contained in it is the feeling of a spiral, which is a lovely idea too as it’s symbolic of eternity,” says Kate.

For the members’ section of the website, which collects podcasts, interviews and articles related to Spiracle audiobooks, the team chose the name ’Murmurations’. “We wanted to communicate that sense of single individual birds grouping together to make a wonderful swirl of excitement.”

Why Starling Bank?

“The speed at which things happen and the ease of paying people is brilliant. We have quite a few freelancers working all over the world that we need to pay and foreign transfer with Starling is very straightforward,” says Kate.

“When I was introduced to Starling, it was like night and day, compared to other banks I’d used. Everything was so clear.”

Subscribeto blog updatesarrow-rightGrow your businessHelpful free business guidesarrow-right

Related stories

Latest posts