It’s hard to walk and read a book. Fortunately, audiobooks allow anyone to multitask while “reading” a book. In fact, the main reason people listen to audiobooks is so that they can multitask. Exercising, driving to or from work, and cleaning the house rank top among the activities people do while listening to an audiobook.
Multitasking combined with the ease of listening via smartphones, which are highly portable, are driving factors in the increase of audiobook consumption. The Audio Publishers Association reports that audiobooks are growing at a tremendous rate. Their most recent report shows that following numbers:
- Audiobook sales rose 18.2% from 2015 to 2016 to an estimated $2.1 billion.
- Unit sales rose 33.9% to 89.5 million over the same period.
- Production of audiobooks rose 43.1% to 50,937 units in 2016 over 2015.
- Digital downloads of audiobooks accounts for 82.4% of audiobooks.
- 24% of Americans listened to at least one audiobook in 2016, an increase of 22% over 2015.
- Just about half of all audiobook listeners are under the age of 35.
- Audiobook listeners either read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year.
- 29% of audiobook listeners listen to the audiobook on their smartphone.
- Audiobooks borrowed from libraries increased 34% in 2016 over 2015.
These numbers are promising and may stimulate you to get your book produced as an audiobook. Before you run out and take this leap, consider the following:
- Audiobook production is not cheap. On average, it costs $3,000 to $5,000 to produce a quality audiobook.
- Fiction drives audiobook sales. The most popular categories for audiobooks in 2016 were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction/fantasy, and romance. So, if your book is nonfiction, give careful consideration to whether your target audience consumes audiobooks.
- The competition is stiff. Just because you produce an audiobook does not mean that people will buy it. You will need to market your audiobook heavily to keep it from getting lost in the mass of audiobooks available to consumers.
- If your print book is not already selling well, producing an audiobook will, as a rule, not help you sell more books.
The bottom line is that if you create an audiobook version of your book, it will still require promotion to sell. Marketing is key to selling products, including print, digital, and audiobooks. If you don’t have a robust marketing plan, don’t take the audiobook plunge until you do.
Many in the publishing industry are proclaiming the audiobook as the new ebook. What do you think?
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Photo courtesy of Alice Moore