Americans’ appetite for audiobooks continues to grow with 2019 clocking in 16% industry growth in sales. While we see growth globally in the audiobook market, we’re presenting data here focused on a US market.
With 2021 off to the races, we present seven reasons based on research from the Audiobook Publishers Association (APA) on why independent authors and publishers should take their audiobook distribution wide.
- Audiobooks continue their market rise with 16% growth in sales
“Eight straight years of double-digit revenue growth is simply phenomenal,” says Chris Lynch, co-chair of the APA’s Research Committee and President & Publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio. Edison Research’s national survey of American audiobook listeners ages 18 and up found that the average number of audiobooks listened to per year increased to 8.1 in 2019, up from 6.8 in 2018. This kind of growth is akin to when ebooks first took their meteoric rise as a format. Now is the time to ride the audiobook wave as an author.
- More Listening For the third year in a row, more than 50% of audiobook listeners say they are making “new” time to listen to audiobooks and consuming more books. Making time for anything in our already hectic lives is a challenge and the fact that over half of listeners want to make new time means they have more time for your new release. While the pandemic has cut in on commuting and driving time for many audiobook listeners this year, 59% of Chirp listeners listen to audiobooks while doing chores or housework, exercising, or going on walks, and 35% find time just for listening to audiobooks (Source: Chirp).
- A younger audience that is tech-savvy consume audiobooks frequently
57% of frequent audiobook listeners are under the age of 45; this is up from 51% in 2019. The younger generation of listeners has embraced the wide array of options for audiobook listening.
- A clear market for shorter audiobooks exists, with 43% of audiobook purchasers saying they would buy an audiobook that is one to three hours long. This is great news for authors because at Findaway Voices you can set your own price when going wide with your distribution to a-la-carte retail distributors like Apple Books. Getting that short fiction e-book into an audiobook format is more approachable and appealing than ever.
- The Home remains the place where people listen most often with the continuing spread of smart speakers. 60% of respondents own a smart speaker, and 46% of smart speaker owners have used it to listen to an audiobook (up from 31% in 2019) Audiobook lovers can easily set-up their Google Nest or Home device to discover, preview, and buy titles from Google Play—then control the entire experience using voice commands.
- The hottest and most popular audiobook genre continues to be Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense with 37% of respondents say they listen to the genre the most, up from 27% in 2018 and 31% in 2019.
- Authors are going wide. ACX has changed its policies regarding exclusivity. Now is the time to go wide and reach more listeners and sell more books than ever. Head over to Love.FindawayVoices.com before February 28, 2021 to learn more!
The bottom line for independent authors is that more Americans are listening to more audiobooks than ever before. And more and more of those books are self-published.
We’re thankful for all our customers that believe in the power of going wide. In a digital world that is built with options aplenty, the philosophy that putting all your eggs in one proverbial basket is simply, well, not an option if you want your stories to be heard by as many people as possible. The audiobook market is growing at a stellar pace, not just in size but options of customer bases and business models. We empower authors to make decisions on what price they set for their books and where their books get distributed, whether that’s libraries, a-la-carte, or subscription-based retailers. (Findaway Voices)