Audiobook Sales Statistics – The Rise of Audiobooks

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We know, some of you have been listening to audiobooks for years and years. In fact, some of us can still remember listening to children’s audiobooks in the car with our parents, that was on a cassette, not digital, like now in 2022. So, what has made audiobook sales statistics rise so much in recent years? We believe that the main reason for this increase is primarily due to the advancement of technology, and we’ll cover more on that later. First of all, let’s take a look at some audiobook industry statistics for the past 10 years.

In 2017, Nielsen UK Books & Consumers survey revealed that audiobook sales have actually doubled in the past five years, ranging from 2013 to 2017. Then, in June 2018 there were even more rising statistics in the audiobook industry, this time released from the Publishers Association. They press release revealed that publisher sales had reached a whopping £31 million last year, a 22% increase from the year before. Also, keep in mind that this data doesn’t include Audible Studios sales, therefore, it must be even greater than this number.

Another sign that indicates that the industry is growing is that the ebook and e-reader giant, Kobo, launched their audiobook service in September 2017. They are taking on Audible and Audiobooks.com, and clearly, they think that they can gain a decent percentage of the audiobook market. This is great news for us (the consumers) as it will result in better deals. In fact, you can now enjoy a 30-day free trial with Kobo, click here to get this offer. On top of that, their audiobooks offering is £1 cheaper per month compared to the current industry leader Audible.

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It isn’t only the United Kingdom that has gone audiobook mad. In fact, when looking at figures from across the pond, it seems that our American cousins are more in love with audiobooks than us! Between 2012 and 2016 the number of audiobook units sold in the USA has more than doubled! In 2012, 42.02 million units were sold and in 2016 89.56 million units were shifted from the digital shelves.

After reading this information the next statistics won’t come as such a big shock. Let us back up to 2007 in the USA when there were just 3,073 audiobooks published, and now take a guess to how many were published in 2016? 50,937! With Audible publishing even more of their Audible exclusives in 2017 and 2018, this number is for sure even greater.

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Which are the top demographics listening to audiobooks?

So, who is it that is now listening to audiobooks on the daily? Well in the U.K. according to the Nielsen UK Books & Consumers survey the main demographic increase came from men aged between 25 and 44. Especially those that live and commute each day to London and other big cities.

In America, the target age is similar to that of the United Kingdom. It is estimated that the most active audiobook listeners are aged between 25 and 35.

How technology has propelled the audiobook industry

The audiobook industry has been revolutionized due to new technology making it easier to access the services, and listen from wherever. Users can now listen across a plethora of different devices, including mobile phones, and smart speakers devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Being able to cook, clean, or workout whilst listening to audiobooks is just one reason why audiobook sales have increased.

Recent statistics show that there are more than 50 million smart speakers in American homes now in 2018. This number is set to increase over the next few years too, which will add to the use of audiobooks.

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£14.95/month after 30 days

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Joining the audiobook revolution

The number of audiobook services that are now competing in the market must have increased the popularity too. With five out of the top audiobook apps offering free trials, consumers can now access 5 months worth of audiobooks content for free! That is definitely tempting to an audiobook enthusiast! Below we have included which services currently offer audiobook free trial offers. 

Check the best audiobook services here

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