The Growing Audiobook Bug
The audiobook market is growing rapidly, and in many genres audiobooks and eBooks are putting the squeeze on printed books.
In this post, author, Dawn Brookes discusses the growth in popularity of audiobooks and argues its no longer a niche market for any one age group and not gender specific.
Some of the bestselling genres at the end of 2018:
- Literature & Fiction
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
- Science Fiction & Fantasy
eBooks now have by far the biggest market share in these top genres e.g. 95% in Romance and 78% in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, but audiobooks also outsold print in the last three months of 2018 in all of these categories except for Teens.
In categories where eBooks don’t do as well as print books such as Medical books, self-help and business, audiobooks were on a par or had a bigger market share than print.
Print’s Not Dead
Print still rocks in children’s books, education & teaching, crafts, hobbies & home, art & photography and textbooks.
Print also has an equal market share to eBooks and audiobooks across many genres outside of the top ten bestsellers.
Who is listening to audiobooks?
Originally, audiobooks were listened to via tape and CD, often by those with sight problems, but there is growing evidence that the market is now so much wider.
The market includes people sitting in cars or public transport on long commutes? I had a reviewer saying they listened to one of my published audiobooks while jogging! Many people now listen to audiobooks while doing other things and in our multi-tasking, modern world, for some, audiobooks take the place of television.
Both men and women are listening to audiobooks and the trend appears to be catching on among the younger generation too.
Where do people obtain audiobooks?
A few years ago audio CDs came and went (not quite but you know what I mean) – I don’t think the CD audiobook market ever quite caught on. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it did for a while and don’t get me wrong I don’t think CDs have disappeared forever yet – remember vinyls? They are back.
Audiobooks are now mainly obtained as digital downloads to a phone, tablet, laptop etc. I listen to mine on my phone or through Alexa!
The obvious big players are Amazon and iTunes. Amazon sell via Audible and one of the main advantages is that if you listen to a lot of books you get a free audiobook initially and then heavily discounted audiobooks and one free download per month for a monthly subscription. The free audiobook trial gives you the chance to decide whether audiobooks are for you and you can cancel before the month is out if they are not.
Whispersync on Amazon gives you the opportunity to buy the audiobook version at a hugely reduced price when you buy a Kindle book, a bonus if you listen to a lot because audiobooks are expensive outside of subscriptions.
Although Audible is an Amazon company, there are other platforms where you can purchase audiobooks such as iTunes. If you are not someone who would listen to a bucketload of books then buy from whichever platform you want to as audiobooks are available from a whole lot of places and they are not all digital:
Remember you can borrow audiobooks from libraries too!
The Future audiobooks?
Judging by the change in market share from print to audiobooks in some of the top genres, and the higher market share in non-fiction, it is a growing market that has by no means peaked.
Some authors have been slow to catch on to this growing market trend with part of this being due to the costs of audiobook production and initially returns were slow. This trend is changing and as more authors enter the market, although the competition will be fiercer, more choice is likely to improve the listener’s experience resulting in more subscribers.
Over to You!
Do you listen to, or even like audiobooks? Have you ever listened to an audiobook?
We would love to hear back from you to find out more about audiobook listeners. Are you among this growing market and if so, why?
Love them or hate them – they are here to stay. Comments welcome.