Creating an Audiobook Companion PDF: How to Create One and 5 Examples

POSTED ON Jan 16, 2024

Shannon Clark

Written by Shannon Clark

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As lives get busier and readers look for more convenient ways to consume content, more authors are converting their stories into audiobooks to meet the demand. Below we’ll look at the audiobook companion PDF, why they are a valuable addition to an audiobook, and how to format one for your readers. 

As audio versions continue to increase in popularity, the upward trend shows no signs of slowing down.

If you are considering publishing an audiobook, now is the time. The market is not flooded (yet), but it could be soon at its current pace. 

The Audiobook Companion PDF

The audiobook companion PDF is an important addition to many audiobooks. Every book is not a perfect fit for audio narration because some content only makes sense when we see it. Companion PDFs give authors a way to include visual content and other information readers may want to access later in written form (e.g. lists, diagrams, etc.). The PDFs are often free but some are treated as supplemental workbooks and are priced accordingly.

Page lengths for the supplemental material vary, and like print and ebooks, the way you present the content may come with just as many bells and whistles as the main book or it can be bare bones with just the basics.

Many traditional publishers like Harper Collins host author PDFs on their website, but if you are a self-published author, audiobook companion PDFs are a smart way to collect email addresses and build your email list. You can send listeners to your website where they can download the PDF for free.

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Audiobook companion PDFs are more common with nonfiction books because they are more likely to contain visuals like charts, tables, lists, etc.

Types of books that would benefit from having a companion PDF:

  • How to books
    • Cookbooks: Sharing the ingredients and instructions for preparing a meal is simple enough to narrate, but there’s nothing like seeing the finished dish. It can also be a challenge to prepare a recipe from audio only because of the starts and stops. Having a recipe that you can visually see allows you to prepare the recipe in your own time. It also makes grocery shopping for ingredients easier. 
    • Self-help books: Often self-help books will contain lists of questions for deeper understanding, affirmations, charts, and other useful information. This content is best viewed in PDF form for later access and to make memory work easier. 
    • Crafts/DIY: Similar to cookbooks, following along with the narrator to complete a project can be challenging. A companion PDF that lists the steps helps readers to go at their own pace, and purchasing supplies becomes a lot easier when you don’t have to stop and rewind the audiobook. 
    • Fitness: Fitness books can include everything from equipment lists and schedules to exercise reps and sets. Some may also offer diet suggestions. Having this information in a convenient place to reference when needed, makes following a fitness book easier. 
  • Educational books are a great fit for companion PDFs and can fall into several categories like textbooks, business, medical, etc. Most of them will have lots of pictures, graphs, charts, vocabulary words, and questions.
  • Picture books: Books that are heavy on images are better suited for physical books or ebooks, but this is not always convenient for the reader. Audio “picture” books that are instructional need a companion PDF to ensure that the reader can take full advantage of the content. Some example categories include:
    • Travel 
    • Photography 
    • Art 
    • Architecture


Although it’s more common to see audiobook companion PDFs with nonfiction, fiction books can also benefit from supplemental support. Fantasy is one genre that comes to mind because it’s built around worlds with elaborate systems. There are often extensive genealogies and lots of other fun details that a companion PDF could help bring to life for the reader. 

Children’s books are also a good fit for companion PDFs, especially for young readers. The audiobook companion PDF can include questions, vocabulary and even coloring pages and other activities. 

Parts of an Audiobook Companion PDF

The best way to set up an audiobook companion PDF is to assemble it the same way you would assemble the physical or digital book—in chronological order. Companion books can be as elaborate or as basic as you’d like as long as they have all of the supporting content that your reader needs. 

  1. Book cover image: Include the words “Audiobook Companion PDF” somewhere on the cover image, so the companion PDF won’t be confused with a digital download of the book.
  2. Copyright page
  3. Maps (e.g. fantasy novels)
  4. Individual chapters with supplemental material
  5. Back matter: appendix, bibliography, endnotes, glossary, QR codes, author bio, contact information, and other books. You can find additional suggestions for the back matter here
  6. CTA: (Call-to-Action) – The last page of the PDF is the perfect spot to remind readers to leave an honest review, visit your website, or whatever next step you want them to take after reading your book. 

Note: You can include a table of contents and page numbers for easier navigation, but it is not necessary. If you forgo a table of contents make sure you include a reference to the PDF page numbers in the audiobook.


1. The Begin Companion

This 150-page activity PDF goes alongside the book Begin by Philip & Erin Ulrich. Designed for young readers, it is filled with games, coloring pages, vocabulary, and more.

audiobook companion PDFs - example The Begin Companion by Philip & Erin Ulrich

2. The Farmer’s Wife

The Farmer’s Wife audiobook companion PDF has everything you’d expect to find in a cookbook (except for pictures). The 100 pages include recipes, instructions, food staples (pantry, refrigerator, and freezer), ideas for making dishes more creative, and a resource list.

audiobook companion PDFs - example The Farmer's Wife by Helen Rebanks

3. The Read-Aloud Family

The short companion PDF (16 pages) is available as a free download. It offers an extensive list of suggested reading for kids categorized by age and a resource list for parents.

audiobook companion PDFs - example  The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie

4. Marketing Made Simple

In Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller, author of Building a Storybrand, he shows readers how to create a storybrand for their business. The 16-page audiobook companion PDF shares charts, images, wireframe examples, writing prompts, and more.

audiobook companion PDFs - example Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller

5. Space Maker

The Space Maker book walks you through disconnecting from the digital world to restore balance in your life. The 24-page companion PDF shares 34 black-and-white diagrams.

audiobook companion PDFs - example Space Maker by Daniel Sih

Next Steps

If you’re an author or an aspiring author and haven’t seriously considered audiobooks for your readers, now is the time to take the option seriously. The world isn’t slowing down any time soon, so it’s highly unlikely that audiobooks will either (unless a new technology replaces them.). 

In the meantime, you can get ahead of the curve and publish an audiobook before the market gets saturated like the print and ebook markets. 

And when you create your amazing audiobook, don’t forget to add an audiobook companion PDF if it works for your book’s genre. It’s another one of the many ways to add a little extra for your readers. They will appreciate the extra effort and reward you with future buys and hopefully outstanding reviews. 

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Shannon Clark

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Shannon Clark

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