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4 Things You Need to Know About the Audiobook Publishing Industry

4 Things You Need to Know About the Audiobook Publishing Industry

Oct 18th 2021

Audiobooks are popular precisely because they allow a reader to multitask, whether it's listening to a book on the way to work, while walking their dogs, or even folding laundry. Have you ever stopped to wonder about how the industry of audiobooks works, though? With their growth in popularity, it's no wonder that people would be curious about how it all works. Below are four things you need to know about the audiobook publishing industry today.

From Humble Beginnings to Now

Though audiobooks first emerged in 1932 for the specific purpose of creating book recordings for the blind, the technology and devices used to read audiobooks have steadily improved. By the 1960s, readers could listen to books on cassette tapes, and by the 1980s, the format became compact discs. However, it wasn't until 1994 that the term “audiobook” became common knowledge and was seen as a legitimate way to read a book. With the rapid improvement of technology since, audiobooks have exploded in popularity. While the publishing industry is seeing an overall decline in physical books and ebooks, audiobook sales are booming. In fact, as of 2020, audiobook sales revenue in the United States has reached a whopping 1.3 billion dollars, continuing its rapid increase in sales that began in 2018. From the looks of it, this trend is going to continue as people enjoy getting to read the books they love, while also doing the things that need to be done.

Just How Many Audiobooks Are Out There?

Just as sales of audiobooks have grown tremendously, so has the supply of books available. In the early 2000s, only a small handful of audiobooks were available (around 7,000). However, by 2016, this number has increased to over 51,000. This is because making an audiobook has never been faster or more widely adopted by book publishers. Audiobook publishing has benefited from the rapid improvement of technology, making the creation of them faster and better with every book recorded.

How Has the Audiobook Publishing Industry Performed?

You may be surprised to know this, but the audiobook publishing industry increased faster than the Consumer Goods and Services sector overall. For those in the industry, this is very good news. With the rise in the number of mobile internet connections and more people gaining access to the internet, the demand for audiobooks will continue to grow.

What Is the Audiobook Publishing Industry Up to Now?

With the huge explosion in growth, players in the audiobook publishing industry are busily working not just on increasing the number of titles they produce every year, but they're also paying attention to who is listening and how. If the trend of mobile phone sales continues to go up, and the expansion of the internet across the country continues to be a priority, the number of downloaders and listeners to audiobooks will also surely grow. To keep up with the upwards trend of audiobook sales and to make headway with other demographics, some audiobook publishers are experimenting with different genres not usually available in audiobook format and with how the audiobooks are voiced (using multiple narrators for different characters or inserting music overlays).

No matter which way you slice it, it's clear from the current data that the audiobook publishing industry is here to stay.

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