Distinction Recruits, Onboards and Upskills Internal Teams for Recorded Books INC.

As Distinction had already improved its website, the world’s largest independent wholesale audiobook retailer, Recorded Books, asked them to recruit, onboard, and upskill its own internal team to optimize the new platform.

Having this new dedicated in-house team not only saved money but also gave the retailer constant access to the complete technical resource required to continue selling books across the world.

Upskilling Internal Teams to Create an Autonomous Resource

The adage goes:

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

For Recorded Books, it’s an entirely relevant way to describe Distinction’s role in the creation of its own internal digital team.

As the largest independent wholesale audiobook retailer in the world, Recorded Books sells a vast range of audiobooks, eBooks, eMagazines, movies, learning programs, and more into libraries, military bases, private libraries across the world, as well as to leading B2C retailers such as Audible and

Reducing Costs, Increasing Access

Being a retailer, reducing costs wherever possible has a massive impact on Recorded Books’ bottom-line. And being a largely online business means Recorded Books’ technology platforms need to be constantly managed, maintained, and optimized.

The problem was twofold. First, paying digital agencies for ongoing technical support was simply costing too much. The second was the issue of availability. The feeling was that a skilled internal digital team would provide the constant, readily available, and agile technical support the business really needed, minute by minute, hour by hour.

Replacing Themselves with Something Sustainable

It was a little odd to be handed this brief because Distinction was essentially being charged with replacing themselves. But you can never do too much for a good client, so they began by establishing a structure for the new internal team, developing the new processes and training programs that would deliver the knowledge and skills to maintain and improve the Recorded Books platform in the future.

Recruiting, Onboarding and Training

From the outset, it was a challenge working across different time zones from the UK to the US. A few well-timed trips across the Atlantic and lots of carefully planned online workshops enabled them to engage with prospects and new recruits in a natural and easy manner. But this was no quick and easy fix. Recruiting, onboarding and upskilling the internal digital team proved to be a two-year-long process. And during all that time, at the back of their minds was the fact that this was essentially a long goodbye.

Engaging Everyone All the Time

Distinction learned valuable lessons along the way. Recognizing the value of sharing the more exciting tasks required in maintaining the platform – focusing on the intellectual aspects like R&D and strategy, rather than just the donkey work – they engaged people early. By sharing all the tasks across the new internal team, both dull and interesting, Distinction helped improve work satisfaction and reduced staff turnover.

Saying Goodbye Happily

Distinction found that rather than struggling to stay motivated, they found a strange sort of pride instead. Seeing the increasing number of individuals successfully bedding into the new internal team was a source of great satisfaction. A valuable lesson they took from this project is one of trust. It’s never good when one business relies too much on another and they discovered it’s natural to say goodbye sometimes.


Building Trust for the Future

Where most client/agency relationships end in what amounts to a divorce, this particular relationship ended when both parties were still happy and successfully working together. And the outcome of this lesson? Distinction provides consultancy services to Recorded Books. Thanks to the trust they built in their approach to what was essentially replacing themselves with something that would work better for Recorded Books, we’re still in the frame for future big projects. It became very much a case of “Thanks for all your hard work, goodbye, we’ll speak again soon.”

Delivering Lasting Benefits

As well as a positive future with Recorded Books, the people they onboarded, upskilled, and nurtured will inevitably move on someday and, Distinction hope, think favorably of them as a supplier in their new venture. Because more than anything, seeing Recorded Books’ internal digital team thrive was a source of great satisfaction and pride at a job well done. They felt like their team in so many ways, and it was hugely rewarding to see them succeed and continue to succeed to this day.

So while there is no such thing as a client for life anymore, they like to think that by delivering on their promise, and by doing the right thing in giving Recorded Books and its new internal digital team a long and sustainable life, the future looks brighter for everyone involved.


The impact of creating a self-sufficient client by helping them recruit, onboard, and train their in-house team was as huge for them as it was for Recorded Books, resulting in a mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationship.

About Distinction

Distinction is the digital product studio who’ll make you stand out. They work with clients to disrupt their sector, challenge the competition, and capture market share by delivering experiences users love.