KWL recently launched an audiobook upload service for its authors! Whether you are considering creating an audiobook or just want to stay up to date with shifts in the publishing industry, read on for expert insight and interesting facts. For audiobook inquiries, email writinglife@kobo.com.

Audiobooks Publisher’s Association

  • The US-based Audiobooks Publishers Association reported $940 million in revenue for 2018. This represents a 27.3% increase in sales over one year!
  • Ages of listeners: 55 percent of all audiobook listeners are under the age of 45, and 51 percent of frequent listeners are aged 18 to 44 years.
  • Where they listen: 74 percent of audiobook consumers listen in their car, up from 69 percent in 2018; the home is the second-most popularly cited spot at 68 percent, down from 71 percent in 2018, and this coincides with increased adoption of in-dash car players.
  • The most popular genres sold in 2018 in audio were general fiction; mysteries and thrillers/suspense; and science-fiction/fantasy.

An Executive Director’s Take on Audiobooks

“Paired with the results of the consumer survey released earlier this year and the increase in listenership shown in the States … it’s no surprise to the Audio Publishers Association to see continued audiobook sales growth.” – Michele Cobb, Executive Director of the Audio Publishers Association

Association of American Publisher’s StatShot Annual Report for 2018

  • Downloaded audiobooks accounted for 13.7% of sales in the US market’s online retail channels. The format followed trade print (45.1%), ebooks (24.5%), and instructional materials (14.5%).
  • This national survey included data provided by 20 publishers including Audible Inc., Hachette Audio, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

“Not only is audiobook production constantly improving, but recent developments in technology have made audiobooks extremely convenient for the consumer.” Trip Adler, CEO of audiobook subscription at Scribd

5 Reasons Audiobook Sales Are Booming

Technology Advancements

Production technology improvements have certainly helped: digital editing, email distribution of manuscripts, use of tablets instead of hard copy scripts (no need to edit out page-turn noises), and proliferation of home studios for narrators have all shortened the time needed to create audiobook products and reduced the cost of production.

Greater Sales Opportunities

The digital sales format has also been a big influence. Audiobooks are now easier to purchase and store than in the days of cassettes and CDs. Portability, the ability to multi-task, and the ability to listen wherever you want are the top three reasons cited in the 2019 consumer survey for why people enjoy the format. As digital devices such as smartphones are now ubiquitous, audiobook access is simple and convenient.

Rising Social Media Mentions

Social media chatter and publicity about audiobooks are also on the rise. Authors are talking about the format, as are professional audiobook narrators (who have their own rabid followers), and even production studios are part of the story – helping to push titles with their own social footprint. The cross-talk between authors, narrators, and studios about their titles is an exciting development and helps each appeal to a wider audience. On top of this we’ve also seen an increase in celebrity interest and participation.

Creative Marketing

This social media chatter encourages publishers, authors, and narrators to get creative with marketing – many are incorporating video about the making of audiobooks into their campaigns. In fact, during the fall of 2016, to support their members and increase the social media presence about audiobooks, the APA launched the #loveaudiobooks video campaign where big name authors and audiobook fans such as Whoopi Goldberg and Stephen King talked about their love of the format. More social media presence, more marketing, and more support from big names means more sales and more sales means more production. Which brings us right back to where we started.

Success Breeds Success

Sales keep increasing – if the industry made more titles and consumers didn’t respond with more sales then no doubt we wouldn’t continue to see these same increases in production.

Information provided by audiopub.org.

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