By W. Terry Whalin
June is AudioBook Month. This area of publishing continues to expand and explode from everything that I read online and in print, in consumer magazines and in trade magazines.
For example, I encourage you to read this article from the recent Book Expo America and mega-bestselling author, James Patterson. “Patterson (Crazy House, Hachette Audio) opened his presentation with a declaration: “Listening to an audio is reading. A lot of gatekeepers don't buy into that, but I do.” Noting the audiobook “is only scratching the surface of its potential importance and its audience,” he offered a pair of recommendations. “The first suggestion is that some audiobook people have to go out to Silicon Valley. We need to redesign audiobooks so they can be sold at a better price.” He also advocated for offering an irresistible audiobook package, which “could include, just for example, a John Grisham, a Patterson, Hillbilly Elegy, a Wimpy Kid novel, Alan's new book,” to automobile makers at close to cost if they would agree to put it in every new car they sell.” I found this idea interesting and will be watching the publishing world to see if someone takes James Patterson up on such an idea.
If you are wondering about the viability of audiobooks, just look at these recent statistics:
“In 2016, Audiobook Sales Up 18.2%, Unit Sales Jump 33.9% Audiobook sales in 2016 rose 18.2%, to $2.1 billion, and unit sales jumped 33.9%, according to the Audio Publishers Association's annual sales and consumer studies, conducted respectively by Management Practice and Edison Research. This marks the third year in a row that audiobooks sales have grown by nearly 20%. The APA attributed audio growth to an expanding listening audience: 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) have completed at least one audiobook in the last year, a 22% increase over the 2015.”
“Among other findings:
- More listeners use smartphones most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before (29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015).
- Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
- Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year.
- More than a quarter (27% of respondents) said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
- A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), followed by in the car (32%).
- 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks, followed by baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
- The top three reasons people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) they can do other things while listening; 2) audiobooks are portable so people can listen wherever they are; and 3) they enjoy being read to.
- The most popular genres last year were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction/fantasy and romance.
- 19% of all listeners used voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) to listen to an audiobook in the last year, and for frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.”
1. Listen to audiobooks on a regular basis. The first way for any of us to get active in an area is as a participant. I have written about audiobooks in past articles.
2. Use your activity to promote and encourage others to listen to audiobooks. As you complete an audiobook, take a few minutes and write a review. If you examine my Goodreads book list, you will notice a number of these books are audiobooks.
3. Get active creating audiobooks. If you have no idea where to begin, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Richard Rieman's book, The Author's Guide to AudioBook Creation. This little book will help you learn more about the audio book industry and give you resources for launching your own audio products.
Are you using and creating audio books? Let me know in the comment section.
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (available exclusively through this website with bonuses even though this book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews). He blogs about The Writing Life and lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers.
Are you taking advantage of the audiobook boom? Read this article to take action. (ClickToTweet)