Audiobook Statistics: How Does The New Horizon Rise?

An Audiobook is a new way to enjoy books without having to spend time reading. It is used anytime when you’re in the car, cooking, or just relaxing. If you’re searching for the next good book, you should consider an Audiobook.

Audiobooks are the paperback copies recorded by the narrators orating the entire content and refer to abridged versions or word-to-word versions of printed books. Strongly termed as “e-audiobooks.” 

These content versions are outpacing other formats in sustained growth.

You’ll get the story, and it will put you in a good mood for the day. With an Audiobook, you can take a story with you anywhere. They’re great for when you want to read but can’t.

History Of Audiobooks:

In the Back days, Audiobooks first emerged in 1932 by identifying a studio for the Blind by the American Foundation, which created vinyl records, recordings of books. Each side held 15 minutes of speech. After that following year, Congress passed an amendment that allowed the Library of Congress to start producing audiobooks.

Initial recordings included William Shakespeare’s plays, “The Constitution,” and therefore the novel “As the earth Turns” by Gladys Hasty Carroll. More recording companies slowly emerged, primarily to assist the blind. In 1955, the Listening Library became a significant distributor of recorded books.

The new technology inspired the development of audiobooks with cassette tapes in the 1960s and compact discs in the 1980s. Waldenbooks set up “Audio centers” in their bookstores, and publishing houses like Random House, Warner Publishing, and Simon & Schuster opened the new audio divisions in his publishing house.

By 1994, “Audiobook” had become a standard. Some years later, Audible made it possible to download audiobooks to desktop computers.

The technology disruptions in the soundscape environment are expected to drive the market growth of these talking books over the forecast period. However, since the entire content is retrieved over the internet and digital devices, connectivity and power requirements are a significant concern. 

You’ll never be bored with audiobooks. It’s the perfect way to take a break and escape your day-to-day routine. Audiobooks are available for download via your Smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

The door connectivity issue is uncharged may restrain the market growth in the forthcoming period. 

By genre, the non-fiction segment anticipated growing at the highest over the forecast period, in this popular content genre presumed to be history, self-help, and biographies.

The usual benefits of listening to audiobooks were listening to storytelling, accessibility, and improving mental fitness.

European countries have outperformed over the past few years since the target audience in this region is adaptive to the latest technologies faster.

Increasing internet subscribers and the growing adoption of mobile devices may contribute to the growth of audiobooks in the region.

Let’s see brief statistics on audiobooks indicate by industry experts.

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What do the statistics say about audiobooks?

The publishing industry saw an overall decline in physical and eBook sales, while audiobook sales are booming.

2016’s Audio Publishers Association annual report tracks the industry and found that sales totaled $2.1 billion in 2016, an 18.2 percent increase from the previous years. Compare that to $1.8 billion of books sold.

The amount of audiobooks has also increased. In 2016, 51,000 audiobooks were published, up from 7,200 in 2011. Creating an audiobook has become a much faster-practiced option for publishers. 

In 2019, audiobook sales increased by 16% in the US and generated over $1.2 billion in revenue, whereas, in 2018, deals only made $940 million, but that is 25% more from 2017. 

A 2019’s Pew Research report indicates that 1 in 5 Americans prefer to listen to audiobooks. While books and ebooks are still popular, Otherside audiobooks rapidly gained popularity over the past few years. Also, audiobooks are quickly taking place instead of eBooks, which is remarkable that ebooks were twice as popular. A survey of 2019 by the Publishers Association in the UK also puts the number of audiobook consumers around 1 in 5.

Do you know what is surprising about those $1.2 billion digital audiobooks made? EBooks only made $983 million, so US audiobook sales have eclipsed ebook sales for the first time.

Edison Research’s national survey of yank audiobook listeners ages 18 and up found that the number of audiobooks per year increased to 8.5 in 2021, up from 6.8 in 2019. 

In UK, the survey found that in 2019 15% of people listened to an audiobook, while print books remain the most dominant force, with 77% of the population have read one in past years. And In 2019, audiobook sales increased by 43% and generated 69 million Euros.

Average audiobook users are affluent men between the ages of 18 and 34 is listen to an average of 4 audiobooks every 12 months.

Overall, men listen to audiobooks more than women while working, in and out. The most popular audiobook genre continues to be mysteries and Suspense. And in this, 57% of audiobook listeners are under 45; this is up from 54% in 2021.

While comes in 2021, Audiobooks were lockdown’s biggest winner, increasing average time by nearly 53%.

The US audiobook market – US $ 1.7 billion in 2021 and projected to grow rate up to 20 percent per year for next few years – is the world’s largest.

Second is the Chinese audiobook market, which is expected to generate around US $ 1 billion in the same year.

Outside these two well-studied markets, the data is sparse, and the markets themselves are developing. 

Data obtained from various sources suggest that annual audiobook revenue in the four Nordic countries is around US $ 100 million. The UK audiobook market was worth approximately US $ 85 million in 2018, with audiobook revenues for the whole of Europe (including the United Kingdom) being around 500 million USD.

Based on these figures, the US $ 3.5 billion global audiobook market seems appropriate, with the United States and China accounting for about 75 percent.

The audiobook market is not just about the dollar; It is also about the listeners. According to a 2018 poll, 18 percent of American adults said they listened to an audiobook in the past 12 months, up to four percentage points from 2016.

Assuming that the growth rate is stable, these figures mean that more than 73 million people in the United States today listen to audiobooks at least once a year.

Similarly, data from China shows that 22.8 percent of the population listened to at least one Audiobook in 2017. Assuming a similar increase, probably more than a quarter of Chinese people, or another 350 million people, listens to audiobooks today. Globally, the number of current audiobook consumers is almost certainly more than half a billion.

What growth industry expert expects?

Industry experts expect double-digit growth in audiobooks to continue over the long term, even if it is somewhat slower than the 2020 rapid 25 percent pace. For example, US audiobook revenue has increased in double digits almost every year since 2013 and even reached nearly 40 percent in 2018.

The proliferation of smart speakers is one possible driver, as are streaming-book-on-demand (SBOD) models that offer monthly subscriptions. Globally, growth is expected to accelerate as other countries and regions reach the United States, China, and Nordics levels.

Audiobook consumption can vary in different places and demographics. For example, in 2019, 74 percent of audiobook listeners in the United States heard them in their cars. Countries with shorter travel times may see more significant revenue, growth rates, and opportunities for audiobooks than countries with less travel time. Even children’s audiobooks, representing a large portion of the total number of audiobooks already sold in 2017, 40 percent of audiobook titles sold in China in this category, the United States is 10 percent, and 25% only France.

Interestingly, while audiobooks are exponentially gaining share in both the book market and the overall media market, that share is not coming from print books.

For example, in the United States, revenue from print books to consumers (trade books) increased by 2.5 percent year-over-year in the first six months of 2019, even in revenue from downloaded audiobooks Also increased by 34 percent.

However, eBook revenue declined 4 percent in the same period. It appears that, while hardcopy lovers are sticking to the physical page – which is still the dominant form of consumption, it accounts for 78 percent of US business book revenue overall. 

That indicates that war in the digital arena is underway between “who want to use their eyes” versus “who prefer their ears.” 

The outcome? No one knows for sure yet, but audiobook revenues are on a trajectory to pass eBooks by 2023 or so at current growth rates.

Let’s take a dip dive into Brief Trends:

Genre Insights: Educational Audiobooks become the first choice of parents for their child.

The non-fiction segment is a 25% sharp growth with a CAGR over the forecast period. This is attributed to the educational material that parents mainly like to make their kids scary for some time.

The segment is divided into fiction and non-fiction genres. The fiction genre includes mystery, fantasy, crime thriller, and science. This segment held a high revenue share of 65.6% of the overall market in 2019 and maintained its dominance over the forecast period. Science and mystery have begun as the most popular genres among the target audience in the fantasy category.

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Genre insights by Audiobook Publishers association

The most popular non-fiction audiobooks are histories, biographies, and self-development audiobook materials. The average length of an audiobook is an essential factor that is determining its popularity. The approximate size of a standard audio collection ranges from seven to nine hours and fluctuates depending on it. While science fiction and fantasy audio content are of longer duration, comedy and comic books are shorter. Casual audio listeners tend to prefer the range of more brief periods, making it difficult for critical participants to sell. To avoid this, major companies are launching audiobook boxes with five to six volumes to keep their target audience engaged.

Industry insights: Audiobook industries are on the way to a new horizon.

These key players are facing dynamic competition from newcomers. Local players are offering subscription-based lower rates to users than global associates. 

However, global players still grasp this market as they have improved their product portfolio with a broader range of components. To maintain a rival edge, industry participants engage in various support and alliances with authors and publishing houses to acquire copyrights for the most popular paperback material. 

They also feature tie-ups with up-and-coming authors to launch ‘straight-to-audio’ books to attract their target audience.

Further, due to technological gains, leading players are upgrading their website and app-based platforms to provide a user-friendly sense to their visitors and grow their customer base. 

For example, in July 2019, Audible promoted that they were planning to upgrade their app with the Audible Caption feature, which would reproduce audiobooks to listeners with the help of machine learning (ML). Users will be able to read as well as listen to the narration. 

Some of the major players operating in the audiobook market are:

· Audible, Inc.

· Amazon.com, Inc.

· RBmedia

· Playster

· Google, Inc.

· Rakuten Inc.

· iBooks by Apple Inc.

· Storytel

Growth Rates:

From 2016 to 2020, it was clear that Audiobooks are making a stand in the market. While we talk about 2018, it was a year that the audiobook market increases exponentially. 

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Growth rate by Audiobook Publishers Association

And, when it comes to returns, that indicates that the return of investment is unexpected. While talking about 2016, it was a time when Audiobooks took a stand at a global level, and some of those already ready get a higher beneficial advantage in the amount of return.

Return Rates:

From 2016 to 2020, it comes down to how much return publishers and authors get from their Audiobooks.

That statistic indicates that the return rates are going down. That is all because Boatload audiobook creators and publishers come into the market.

And that is because they have to sell it at lower rates instead of higher return.

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Return Rate by Audiobook Publisher Association

Target Audience Insights:

In 2019, adult audiences accounted for more than 80% of the revenue share and valued over USD 2.00 billion.

Various audiobook features, such as offering stimulation and relaxation of the mind even during packed plans or multitasking, are expected to commit to extreme development.

Adults and children are the target audience of the market. While the Kids segment constitutes the target audience up to 12 years, the Adult segment represents the users above 12 years.

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The market can listen to content while multitasking at home or driving, using the entertainment system in their in-car, or on public transport while traveling.

According to a Consumer Behavior Survey by the Association of Audio Publishers (APA), about 60.0% of listeners use audiobooks while resting at home.

Due to the versatility of this industry, the adult audience is expected to witness massive subscriptions and maintain the dominance of the segment over the forecast period.

The kid’s segment is expected to expand at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. In recent years, audiences have been predominantly subscribed by audiences for educational and entertainment genres for children.

The many benefits of audiobooks for children, including better visualization, refined vocabulary, fostered narrative structure, and many other skills linked to improving reading comprehension, are projected to provide lucrative opportunities to develop.

The Bottom-line

For audiobook publishers, the growth prospects of the audiobook market in 2021 and beyond will undoubtedly be music to ears.

However, they must determine which titles are to be released as audiobooks and how many and how often. If 46,000 new titles per year for the United States is reasonable, is 650 vernacular titles per year for Spain or 95 for India the correct number?

Whatever that number turns out, it will become more important from year to year. The cost of making an audiobook is not negligible. Still, this is very low compared to the upfront, promotional, and printing costs for traditional books, so we expect the percentage of titles in audiobooks to increase over time.

The continued proliferation of smart speakers could give a boost to audiobooks. Smart speakers are expected to achieve over 25 percent market penetration in the United States and urban China by 2021, and further growth is expected in the rest of the world.

These devices are popular with audiobook listeners. With 66 percent of smart speaker owners saying they listen to at least one Audiobook on their smart speaker weekly.

Finally, how concerned should the rest of the audio industry be?

It depends on where the audio listeners are coming from – but the radio industry, in particular, maybe cause for concern. However, radio has proven to be surprisingly resilient compared to other epical media, with current revenues of US$42 billion globally and slow.

But steady growth is expected on the back of more than 90 percent of global weekly reach; recent figures show some worrying signs. While the decision to listen isn’t an all-or-nothing option, 90 percent of American audiobook listeners have also listened to the radio in the past week;

For example- the total listening minutes of the radio is decreasing. In 2019, average radio listening time in the United States fell by four minutes per day to 1 hour 42 minutes, down 3.8 percent year over year. 

Furthermore, this decrease occurred across all age groups, with the most significant decline in 18 to 34-year-olds and 35 to 49-year-olds (5.9 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively). Noting that all but two -Third of out-of-home US radio listening happens in cars, more podcasts and audiobooks function similar to radios on the go.

At least plausible that the lack of radio in minutes of listening occurs at the loss of listeners’ audiobooks reflects. For radio broadcasters, these numbers may be almost worth watching as audiobooks continue their upward climb.

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