Audiobook Listening Keeps Growing

The June issue of the Christian Indie Publishing Journal, a monthly newsletter for the Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association, featured an article on “Is Your Website Ready for Voice Search?” Voice search is growing and will continue to grow due to smart speakers.

Half of all Americans have listened to an audiobook.

The article cited that around 52 million adult Americans own some kind of a smart speaker such as Google Home, Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo. The number of U.S. households owning voice-enabled digital assistants is expected to reach 55 percent by 2022.

Voice search is not the only thing that will be affected by the growing number of smart speaker users. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) believes that the increase in smart-speaker penetration will also increase the desire for audio products such as audiobooks as smart speaker penetration among audiobook consumers is nearly twice the U.S. average. Some 42% of audiobook listeners age 18 and older own a smart speaker.

Audiobook listening is on the rise, as supported by data from The Infinite Dial 2019, which shows 50% of Americans age 12 and older have listened to an audiobook. This growth partly due to increased listening in cars. According to the APA survey, 74% of audiobook consumers listen in their car. This makes car listening now the number one audiobook listening location.

With audiobook consumption growing, the market for audiobooks is also growing. More and more small publishers and indie authors are releasing audiobook versions of their books hoping to increase both the reach of their messages and book sales by tapping into this market.

June is Audiobook Month

Releasing an audiobook version of book is a great strategy for broader penetration to consumers. However, releasing an audiobook is not enough. You still have to market your audiobook. Visibility is the key to finding more readers and listeners. You can start with these two steps for increasing the visibility of your audiobook.

1. Link Your Audiobook to Your Print and eBook on Amazon

Having your audiobook linked so that it appears on your book’s page on Amazon—rather than on its own orphan page—helps your audiobook sales. Readers looking for your book can immediately see that it is also offered in audiobook format and some will choose to purchase your book in that format.

Many readers of books who also listen to audiobook use Amazon’s Whispersync technology. Whispersync allows a reader to alternate between an ebook and an audiobook version of a book without breaking stride. This function will only be available for readers who purchase both the ebook and audiobook version if your audiobook is linked to your ebook on Amazon.

If your audiobook is not linked to your print and ebook on Amazon, you can send an email to KDP-support@amazon.com to request an orphaned audiobook page be combined with the page that hosts your print and ebook versions.

2. List Your Audiobook on Goodreads

Add your audiobook edition to your author dashboard on Goodreads. You can do the same for your author profiles on the other book social networking sites like LibraryThing or BookLikes. While you are at it, host a book giveaway of the audiobook version of your book on these sites. Goodreads charges a fee, but authors can still give books away for free on LibraryThing and BookLikes.

Related Posts:
Audiobook Listening on the Rise
Should You Publish an Audiobook?
Five Christian Book Marketing Trends for 2019

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Should You Publish an Audiobook?

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:

  1. Audiobook production is not cheap. On average, it costs $3,000 to $5,000 to produce a quality audiobook.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

Related Posts:
Reading Rates Remain Consistent
How to Become a Bestselling Author
Predictions for 2016 that You Should Know

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Photo courtesy of Alice Moore