Audio Revolution: Audiobooks Also On The Rise

Podcasts are not the only form of audio content that is booming- so are audiobooks! A recent article from the The Wall Street Journal states:

“Revenue from downloaded audiobooks in the U.S. grew 38% last year from 2014, according to the Association of American Publishers. Meanwhile, revenue from hardcovers and paperbacks grew by 8% and 3%, respectively, and e-books declined 11%. The surge is continuing in 2016. Preliminary data from the same group show that downloaded audio sales were up 37% in January and February compared with the same period in 2015.”

We are in the midst of an audio revolution. As consumers spend an average of 2 hours a day listening to audio content, both the podcast and audiobook industry have smartphones to thank. In addition to the convenience factor, smartphones make it easy for book worms to have an entire library of audio content at minimal cost, in their pocket at all times- thereby making it easy to consume while multitasking.

Can you guess when the audiobook industry first emerged? It was during the 1950s with LPs, then cassette tapes, then CDs. The reason it didn’t take off at a monumental level was because of the requirement of multiple tapes/CDs, and the high cost. Most people at the time weren’t even aware of the term “audiobook.” Both audiobooks and podcasts are so mainstream now- they are naturally becoming a part of everyday conversation. It is almost to the same level of conversations surrounding television programming.

Audio books have now become so popular that services like Audible are beginning to commission original works. That means they will commission audiobooks that DO NOT have printed counterparts.

Despite the similarities and one being an offshoot of the other, we can’t help but wonder if there will soon be a battle between podcasts vs. audiobooks in terms of listeners. We’ll have the popcorn ready just in case.