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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

At Audible, This Former Book Editor Gets to Tell Stories in New, Creative Ways

Irene Bigas, a publisher relations manager at Audible.
Irene Bigas, a publisher relations manager at Audible.
| Courtesy of Audible

Irene Bigas has always been fascinated by the written word, so a career as a book editor was a natural fit. But after 10 years in the publishing industry, she found an opportunity to move beyond the print world and enter a new era of content: making audiobooks at Audible.

“I never stopped wanting to learn new things about the publishing industry and the shift from paper to digital is something that has always interested me,” she says. “The possibilities that the spoken word media world offers in culture are unlimited, and Audible was one of the best options for me to enter this world.” Today, Bigas is a publisher relations manager in the company’s Berlin office.

Here, Bigas talks about working in the nascent Spanish-speaking market at Audible, her transition to a new team shortly after joining the company, and the most challenging part of her job.

Tell us about your career journey, and what led to your job at Audible.

I started my career working with translations, then became part of the production department of a printing company and, during the last few years, I worked as an editor in an independent publishing house that specialized in illustrated books. As a book lover, I have always known that the publishing world would be my place and discovering new opportunities is always exciting. More than ever, I believe that the philosopher Albert Camus was right when he stated that “to create is to live twice.”

You moved into a new role shortly after joining the company. In what ways did Audible help you make this transition?

I started my career at Audible in the Content Lifecycle European team. This allowed me to learn how to transform a manuscript into an audiobook and to understand the essential operations to ensure quality in the works we publish. Then I joined the Spanish content team to combine this first experience in Audible with my previous knowledge in publishing. Both my managers and colleagues facilitated my transition between teams and integrated my new role in a smooth and comfortable way.

What are you responsible for as a publisher relations manager, and why does the work excite you?

As a publisher relations manager, I build new relationships with Spanish publishers to strengthen our collaboration. I also conduct negotiations for audiobook acquisitions to grow our Spanish-language catalog, as well as participate in editorial commissioning and content strategy.

I very much value the possibility of observing the sector from a local perspective, but also from a global and international point of view. The marketplace for Spain is young—we just celebrated our second birthday—and I like the fact that it is growing and that we can still do a lot. I also like the possibility of being creative and trying to innovate in audio formats.

Why is working on content acquisitions inspiring? What have you enjoyed most about the project?

This professional project is inspiring mostly because I am working with excellent publishers, amazing colleagues, and incredible books. Understanding new publishing trends and audiences is one of the aspects I enjoy the most because I appreciate the challenge of seeing how content needs to constantly adapt to technological and digital upgrades.

Tell us about your experience relocating from Barcelona to Berlin. What was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?

Moving from Barcelona to Berlin during the pandemic was an important decision in my personal and professional life. I was afraid of missing my city too much, but working in an international team with colleagues from all around the world makes it easier. Some of my business trips to visit publishers, agencies, and writers are often to Barcelona, so I am happy I can sometimes enjoy the sun and the city!

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

“Trust your instinct”—it never fails!

What is your favorite Audible book and why?

One of my favorites is Dogs of Summer (Panza de Burro) by Andrea Abreu because of the perfect match between the narrator and the localization of the story. I also like The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers because the beauty of this work transcends all formats.