Saturday, December 6, 2014

I Can Hear Audiobooks Rising

Audible, owned by Amazon, is the leading publisher of audiobooks. It released 18,000 this past year.  Of all audiobooks produced by the industry in 2013, 36,000 were created, so Audible releases about half of all audiobooks on the market.

The good news it the audiobook market is healthy and growing.  In fact, audio sales are up 28% from a year ago, but during the same time period ebooks were up only 6% and hardcover books were down 2%.  The bad news is the genre is dominated by Amazon.  Now Audible is taking it a step further, creating straight-to-audio books and not releasing a print or ebook version.


Why not go where there’s less competition, right?  But competitors are growing.  Scribd offers tens of thousands of audiobooks in its monthly buffet deal and Skybrite provides 10,000 audio titles to listen to for a monthly fee.  Apple iBooks Store sells audio downloads, and Barnes & Noble just released an audiobooks app for its Nook tablet and Android devices, with over 50,000 titles to select from.

Who listens to audio and why?

·         People on a long road trip, either alone or with a family
·         Long-flight business travelers
·         Those who workout or walk to a book
·         People learning a language
·         Those who want to hear a play or something theatrical
·         Anyone who wants a comedy tape
·         Blind people
·         Children
·         Illiterates
·         People who enjoy having stories told to them

Audiobooks still only account for 2.3% of the book market, but they are the fastest-growing segment.  They have room to double or triple in size in the coming years.

Authors should consider doing an audiobook original or creating an audio version of an existing book.  Books that do well on audio include business, self-help, fiction, humor, inspirational, memoir, and history.  Books that don’t work well in this format include cookbooks, photography, gardening, textbooks, health, educational, and hobby.

Have you heard a good book lately?


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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