From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FounderRecorded Books
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationLandover, Maryland
Publication typesAudiobooks, Books
ImprintsRecorded Books
Tantor Media
Kalorama Audio
Christian Audio
Ascent Audio
W.F. Howes
Owner(s)Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Official websitehttps://rbmediaglobal.com/

RBMedia is an audiobook publishing company with sales globally. It claims to be the largest audiobook publisher in the world.[1] It was founded in 2017 through the acquisitions of independent audiobook companies. The companies, which now operate as imprints of RBMedia, include: Recorded Books, Tantor Media, HighBridge Audio, ChristianAudio, Gildan Media, W.F. Howes, Wavesound, GraphicAudio. It was assembled during the ownership by Shamrock Advisors (2015-2018), a private equity firm, and was created by the former publisher Recorded Books. The current owner is Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (2018). The company is headquartered in Landover, Maryland near the original Recorded Books operations. It has studios in New York and elsewhere.


Recorded Books[edit]

Recorded Books (later to be the "RB" in RBMedia) was founded in Maryland in 1978 and was a pioneer in the industry.[2]

Haights Cross Communications[edit]

Recorded Books was acquired by Haights Cross Communications in December 1999, where Recorded Books operated as a division of that company.[3]

In May 2014, Recorded Books acquired HighBridge Audio from Workman Publishing.[4] In January 2015, Recorded Books announced its acquisition of Tantor Media.[5]

Shamrock Advisors[edit]

Later in 2015, Recorded Books was sold to Shamrock Advisors, a private equity firm.[6]

In April 2017 the company reorganized.[7] The new company name was RBMedia and its imprints included Recorded Books, HighBridge Audio, Tantor Media, ChristianAudio, Gildan Media, W.F. Howes (UK), and Wavesound (Australia).[8] It would sell or distribute titles directly to customers through Audiobooks.com, libraries, and resellers such as Audible.[9]

In September 2017, it was announced Gildan Media was acquired by RBMedia. Gildan publishes business books.[10]

In April 2017 RBMedia purchased Audiobooks.com[11] and in October 2017 Audiobooks.com launched in the UK.[12]

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts[edit]

In July 2018, Shamrock Advisors – who owned the company from August 2015 to July 2018 – sold it to new owners, the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR).[13]

In March 2020, RBMedia acquired GraphicAudio, a producer of immersive full-cast and sound-effect productions with brands such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Vault Comics and authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Peter V. Brett, Michael J. Sullivan, R. A. Salvatore, William W. Johnstone, and Brent Weeks.[14]

In June 2020, RBMedia sold its library assets to OverDrive, Inc.; this includes RBDigital, an app and service for the distribution of digital content. RBMedia and OverDrive are both owned by KKR, with KKR's OverDrive purchase concluded in June 2020. The sale of RBMedia's library division to OverDrive represents a merger of KKR's related assets.[15][16]

In March 2021, RBMedia acquired Booka, a Barcelona-based audiobook publishing company rebranded as BookaVivo.[17] In May 2021, RBMedia acquired McGraw-Hill Professional's audiobook business including the entire catalog of previously published titles and exclusive rights to all future titles.[18]

In August 2021, RBMedia launched Ascent Audio for business focused books. The catalog includes audiobooks from the previous acquisition of Gildan Media and McGraw-Hill Professional. It claimed to be the world's largest catalog of business audiobooks.[19]

In November 2021, RBMedia announced that its property Audiobooks.com, purchased in 2017, was being sold to Storytel for $135 million.[20]

In December 2021, RBMedia acquired the audiobook self-publisher Author’s Republic, including its traditional audiobook subsidiary Novel Audio.[21]

RBMedia purchased German audiobook publisher ABOD in January 2022, with works to be published under the RBmedia Verlag brand.[22]


  1. ^ RBMedia (February 10, 2020). "At the Center of It All: RBmedia Spreads Its Wings". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  2. ^ Virgil L. P. Blake (1990). "Something New Has Been Added: Aural Literacy and Libraries". Information Literacies for the Twenty-First Century. G. K. Hall & Co. p. 205. Recorded Books and Books on Tape, pioneers in this new sound recording format, recorded unabridged versions of books on cassette.
  3. ^ Shannon Maughan (September 6, 2004). "An Independent Spirit". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  4. ^ "Recorded Books Buys HighBridge Audio". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2014-09-15.
  5. ^ Milliot, Jim (2015-01-06). "Recorded Books Buys Tantor Media". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2015-02-01.
  6. ^ "Shamrock Advisors Buys Recorded Books". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2016-04-11.
  7. ^ Shannon Maughan (May 26, 2017). "How RBmedia Came to Life". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  8. ^ "A new global powerhouse takes center-stage in spoken audio and digital media distribution technology". recordedbooks.com. April 11, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  9. ^ Shannon Maughan (May 26, 2017). "How RBmedia Came to Life". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  10. ^ Michael Kozlowski (September 25, 2017). "RB Media Acquires Gildan and Now Offers Business Audiobooks". Good Ereader. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  11. ^ Heloise Wood (April 11, 2017). "Newly formed RBmedia buys Audiobooks.com". The Bookseller. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi (October 18, 2017). "Audiobooks.com launches in UK". The Bookseller. Retrieved October 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Jim Milliot (July 16, 2018). "Equity Firm Buys RBmedia". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "RBmedia Acquires Leading Producer of Dramatized Audiobooks". rbmediaglobal.com. March 10, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  15. ^ Scott Suttell (June 24, 2020). "Digital media company OverDrive buys the library assets of audiobook producer RBmedia". Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  16. ^ "OverDrive to Acquire RBdigital from RBmedia". prnewswire.com. June 23, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  17. ^ "RBMedia Acquires Spain's Booka". www.publishersweekly.com. Retrieved 2021-03-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ Michael Kozlowski (May 11, 2021). "RBmedia purchases McGraw-Hill Professional's audiobook business". Good Reader. Retrieved May 11, 2021.
  19. ^ Michael Kozlowski (August 3, 2021). "RBmedia launches Ascent Audio for business focused audiobooks". GoodReader. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  20. ^ Ruth Comerford (November 13, 2021). "Storytel extends into English language market with $135m Audiobooks deal". The Bookseller. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  21. ^ "RBmedia Acquires Author's Republic Self-Published Audiobooks Platform". December 2021.
  22. ^ Michael Kozlowski (January 5, 2022). "RBmedia now has German-Language Audiobooks". GoodReader. Retrieved January 5, 2022.