Audiobook growth has reached new heights!

Audiobook growth has reached new heights!

Audiobook sales started to take off during the pandemic reaching new audiences for the first time - surprisingly this has continued to grow exponentially with the audiobook format remaining the fastest growing format in publishing in the United States. If growth continues with more titles available in this format, sales may soon switch over from other book formats such as eBook or traditional print books. 

We examine below the demographics and ask ourselves as publishers - how should we plan our audio book inventory? 

Who is listening?

Recent surveys indicate that, on balance, younger individuals listen to audiobooks more frequently than older ones, and women more often than men by a margin of 13%.

Remarkably, 45% of the U.S. population has listened to an audiobook at least once in their lifetime. Over half of the respondents reported that their children have also listened to audiobooks, with 57% of U.S. youth having experienced them. The most avid audiobook listeners are those aged 18 to 44, comprising 57% of the audience. (

Audiobook enthusiasts are true connoisseurs of audio content, immersing themselves deeply in the medium. According to the Audio Publishers Association, daily audiobook listeners engage with audio content for at least 2 hours more per day than the average person. (

When it comes to choosing their next listen, preferences are intriguingly diverse. Half of the respondents actively seek out specific titles, while the other half revel in browsing for new discoveries. Interestingly, 58% of women enjoy browsing for new titles, compared to 42% of men who share this habit.

Fiction holds a slight edge in popularity over non-fiction, with 56% of listeners favouring fiction and 44% preferring non-fiction. This balance showcases the broad appeal of audiobooks, catering to diverse tastes and listening habits.

Easy to multi-task! 

Audiobook listeners like their routine when it comes to listening: whether travelling to work - 63%, or completing household chores - 54%, or relaxing in the bath - 44%. 50% of listeners tune in 1- 4 hours per week with 33% listening between 5 - 10 hours per week!

The versatility of this media ‘listen while you work’ approach is driving up audiobook sales at an extremely fast rate. 

Widen your audience reach

Audiobooks also broaden access to literature for individuals with physical, mental, or neurological limitations that make traditional reading challenging. This includes people with vision impairments or those who struggle with sitting for extended periods or holding a book. Additionally, audiobooks are a valuable resource for those with attention span difficulties, enabling them to engage with books despite the challenges of maintaining focus on reading.

In a rapidly evolving media landscape, authors should consider incorporating audiobooks into their offerings. This format provides an opportunity to reach a broader audience and offers an inclusive alternative for those who find traditional reading difficult.

The audiobook market's growth reflects its dynamic evolution. Platforms like Spotify have recently added audiobooks to their Premium subscriptions, while Audible has enhanced its offerings with productions featuring large, star-studded casts and immersive sound effects.

Producing a good narration - experiences matter! 

A quality narrator is essential, as noted by 64% of listeners. Thirty percent believe that the audiobook experience is more immersive than reading. However, 59% have stopped listening to an audiobook midway because they didn't enjoy the narrator. Audiobooks offer a convenient way for more people to enjoy literature, even with the busiest schedules.

In terms of audio content usage, audiobooks rank higher than podcasts, coming in just behind music.

The future looks bright for audiobooks, and with these promising trends, they are poised to continue captivating listeners worldwide. Consider adding them to your inventory wisely!

We recommend contacting us at Supadu and the Audio Publishers Association “Voice of the Industry” for more information

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