Audiobooks Statistics: New Way of Storytelling

Tajammul Pangarkar
Tajammul Pangarkar

Updated · Oct 9, 2023

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Introduction

Audiobooks Statistics: The world of audiobooks has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, fundamentally altering the landscape of literary consumption.

These spoken-word adaptations of written texts have surged in popularity, presenting a versatile and accessible means of storytelling that caters to a diverse and ever-expanding audience.

Offering the flexibility of on-the-go listening, the audiobook industry has witnessed unprecedented growth, featuring an extensive library of titles spanning an array of genres and appealing to both dedicated bibliophiles and those newly discovering the joy of books.

In an era of technological innovation, audiobooks occupy a pivotal role, seamlessly merging cutting-edge digital platforms with the timeless art of narrative, heralding a paradigm shift in how we engage with literature.

As we delve into the statistics that underpin this revolution, we will uncover a compelling narrative of their rising popularity, their impact on the publishing industry, and the shifting preferences of readers in this digital age.

Audiobooks Statistics

Editor’s Choice

  • The Global Audiobooks Market to Grow at a CAGR of 25.7 % from 2022 to 2032.
  • In 2032, the audiobook market is expected to peak, with a revenue of $39.1 billion.
  • Audiobook sales revenue in the United States has increased by more than 50% in the last five years.
  • More than 65% of all audiobooks sold within the format are fiction books, while nonfiction audiobooks are growing at 27.5% per annum.
  • The audiobook market in Europe is estimated to be worth more than $850 million and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 18.6 percent each year until 2025.
  • Males comprise the majority, constituting 55.57% of the platform’s audience.
  • The average length of an audiobook is approximately one hour, with text content of approximately 9,300 words.
  • The typical audiobook narrator charges about $200 per completed hour, which means the cost of the narrator will be around $20,000 to record an audiobook.
  • In 2014, CDs still held a significant share, accounting for 29.0% of audiobook distribution, but their dominance steadily declined over the years, reaching 7.8% by 2018.
  • The rate of audiobook royalties varies depending on the platform and the incentive structure used. Audible charges a royalty of 75% on all audiobook sales, subject to a reduction of 60% when the author chooses to sell their book on the platform exclusively.

Audiobook Market Revenue

  • The Global Audiobook Market to Grow at a CAGR of 25.7 % from 2022 to 2032.
  • From the starting point of 2022, the audiobook market exhibited a promising revenue of $4.2 billion. The following year 2023, this figure increased to $5.3 billion, indicating a growing interest in audiobooks.
  • As we moved into 2024, the market continued its ascent, reaching $6.5 billion.
  • By 2025, it had surged to $8.6 billion, underlining the increasing popularity of this audio format for literature consumption.
  • The year 2026 it marked a significant milestone, with revenue hitting $11 billion, reflecting the convenience and accessibility of audiobooks.
  • This growth trend persisted in 2027, with the market generating $13.5 billion in revenue, and it showed no signs of slowing down in 2028, reaching $15.7 billion.
  • As we approached 2029, audiobook revenue climbed to an impressive $19.7 billion, and by 2030, it had risen to $24.1 billion.
  • The momentum continued into 2031, as revenue exceeded the $30 billion mark at $30.3 billion. Finally, in 2032, the audiobook market peaked, with a staggering revenue of $39.1 billion, highlighting the enduring appeal and remarkable growth of this medium over a decade.

(Source: Market.us)

Audiobooks Market

Global Audiobook Sales

  • Audiobook sales in the U.S. totaled $1,81 billion in 2022, a 3.43% increase from 2021, the slowest-ever year for this format.
  • Audiobook sales revenue in the United States has increased more than in the last five years.
  • There were more than 569 million audiobook listeners in China in 2020, more than double the number of listeners in 2016.
  • The audiobook market in Europe is estimated to be worth more than $850 million and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 18.6 percent each year until 2025.
  • More than 65% of all audiobooks sold within the format are fiction books, while nonfiction audiobooks are growing at 27.5% per annum.
  • Germany accounts for 32% of the audiobook market in Europe.
  • For the first time in 2019, audiobook revenue exceeded revenue from ebooks, and it’s been steadily increasing ever since.
  • In 2022, there were more than 74.7 million audiobooks sold in the United States.
  • As of 2022, 9% of book sales in the United States are from audiobooks.

(Source: Wordsrated)

Demographics of Audiobook Users

Audiobooks Statistics According to Age

  • The age group of 25-34 years constitutes the most significant share at 29.28%, followed closely by the 18-24 years group at 20.41%.
  • Those in the 35-44 years bracket also make up a substantial portion, comprising 19.51% of the platform’s visitors.
  • Additionally, individuals aged 45-54 represent 13.76% of the user base, while those in the 55-64 years category contribute 10.27%. Lastly, the 65+ age group, although smaller, still plays a significant role, with 6.77%.

(Source: Similarweb)

Audiobooks Statistics According to Gender

  • Males comprise the majority, constituting 55.57% of the platform’s audience.
  • In parallel, females also play a substantial role in the platform’s community, accounting for 44.43%.

(Source: Similarweb)

Audiobooks Statistics According to Country

  • The United States represents the largest share, accounting for 79.18% of the platform’s audience.
  • Additionally, neighboring Canada and Mexico make up 1.31% and 1.26% of the visitors, respectively, emphasizing the North American presence on the platform.
  • Further expanding its reach, Brazil and South Africa contribute 0.81% and 0.74%, respectively.
  • Beyond these specific regions, the platform enjoys a global following, with other countries comprising 16.71% of the visitors.

(Source: Similarweb)

Audiobooks Statistics by Publishing

  • The landscape of audiobook production has undergone significant evolution over the past decade.
  • In 2021, 74,000 audiobooks were published, reflecting a growth rate of 4.23% compared to the previous year.
  • This marked the continuation of a positive trend observed since 2010 when 6,200 audiobooks were published.
  • The number of audiobooks published has more than doubled over this period, with 2007 seeing just 3,073 audiobooks in contrast to the exponential growth witnessed in recent years.
  • Particularly remarkable were the years 2012, with a staggering 125.36% increase, and 2013, with a remarkable 49.03% rise
  • While there were occasional dips, such as in 2017 and 2009, overall, the audiobook industry has experienced robust expansion, underscoring the growing demand for this audio format across the years.

(Source: Wordsrated)

Audiobooks Statistics

Audiobooks Statistics – Cost Required to Publish an Audiobook

  • The average length of an audiobook is approximately one hour, with text content of approximately 9,300 words.
  • The average length of an audiobook is approximately 10 hours, with a word count of approximately 100,000.
  • The typical audiobook narrator charges about $200 per completed hour, which means the cost of the narrator will be around $20,000 to record an audiobook.
  • If you want to record in a studio, you’ll need to either rent one or buy the equipment and do the sound production yourself.
  • In any case, it will cost you between 4,000 and 8,000 dollars to produce an audiobook.
  • Some firms provide a comprehensive production service at a predetermined cost, typically six thousand dollars.

(Source: Wordsrated)

Audiobook Sales Statistics by Region

  • The European audiobook market is estimated to be approximately USD 850 million in 2020.
  • The European market is projected to expand by USD 1.23 billion annually, reaching USD 2.08 billion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 18.61%.
  • The German market accounts for 32% of the growth of the European Audiobook market.
  • In 2019, the United Kingdom audiobook market generated a total revenue of US$94.8 million, an increase of 43% from the previous year.
  • In 2020, the Nordic countries were valued at $100 million and were classified as one of the top three growth markets, behind the United States and China, as well as the United Kingdom.
  • China is the second-largest revenue-generating market for audiobooks after the United States.
  • In 2020, the number of audiobooks listened to by Chinese citizens increased from 218 in 2016 to 569 million in 2020.
  • The number of audiobooks purchased in Canada in 2019 accounted for 5% of all book purchases, representing a growth of 3.6%.

(Source: Bookseller)

Audiobook Sales Revenue by Format

  • Between 2014 and 2018, the distribution landscape of audiobooks underwent notable shifts.
  • In 2014, CDs still held a significant share, accounting for 29.0% of audiobook distribution, but their dominance steadily declined over the years, reaching 7.8% by 2018.
  • Digital formats witnessed a substantial uptrend, with their market share increasing from 69.1% in 2014 to 91.4% in 2018.
  • This transition underscored the growing preference for digital audiobooks among consumers.
  • A small fraction of distribution was attributed to other formats, including pre-loaded devices, MP3 CDs, apps, books on tape, and CD sets, which collectively represented 2.1% of the market in 2014 but diminished to 0.8% by 2018.

(Source: Bookseller)

Audiobooks Statistics

Audiobook Royalty Fees

  • The rate of audiobook royalties varies depending on the platform and the incentive structure used. Audible charges a royalty of 75% on all audiobook sales, subject to a reduction of 60% when the author chooses to sell their book on the platform exclusively.
  • Apple Books charges a royalty rate of 70% on all books published on the platform.
  • Kobo’s royalty fees range from 55% to 68%. If you buy a book over two dollars, you’ll get a 55% fee.
  • Audiobooks that cost less than two dollars will get a 65% fee. If you’re using Kobo tokens, you can expect a 68% fee.

(Source: Apple Books, self-publishing advice)

Audiobooks Statistics

Average Time Spent Listening to Audiobooks Statistics

  • Engaging with audiobooks offers a unique perspective on the passage of time, where the listening duration translates into an impressive literary journey.
  • In a week, people typically dedicate an average of 4 hours and 47 minutes to listening to audiobooks, which equates to completing almost half of a book.
  • When we extend this timeframe to a month, listeners invest an average of 20 hours and 30 minutes, enabling them to savor more than two complete audiobooks.
  • For a year, audiobook enthusiasts spend a substantial 249 hours and 24 minutes immersed in literary worlds, consuming the content of more than 25 books.
  • Zooming out to five years, this commitment extends to an astonishing 1247 hours and 1 minute, allowing avid listeners to enjoy the equivalent of more than 124 books.
  • Finally, a decade of audiobook engagement results in an impressive 2494 hours and 2 minutes of listening, equivalent to consuming more than 249 books.  

(Source – Bookseller 2, APA, Rakuten)

Audiobooks Most Popular Genres Statistics

  • Literature & Fiction emerged as the front-runner, with an impressive 4.93 million sales, reflecting its enduring popularity among book enthusiasts.
  • Following closely behind was the Mystery, Thriller, and suspense genre, with 2.45 million sales, illustrating the enduring allure of gripping and suspenseful narratives.
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy carved out a significant space in the market, accounting for 2.14 million sales, indicative of the enduring fascination with imaginative and otherworldly storytelling.
  • The Romance genre, with 1.33 million sales, continued to captivate the hearts of its devoted readership.
  • Meanwhile, Business & Money titles generated 1 million sales, underscoring the interest in self-improvement and financial literacy.
  • Children’s literature, with 0.97 million sales, showcased its enduring appeal to young readers and their parents.
  • Lastly, Biographies and memoirs rounded out the genres with 0.96 million sales, emphasizing the ongoing curiosity about the lives and experiences of notable individuals.

(Source – Bubblecow)

Preferred Audiobook Listening Locations by Common People

  • A significant 73% of respondents reported that they prefer to listen to audiobooks during their daily commutes, making productive use of that often time-consuming journey.
  • Additionally, audiobooks have become a companion during house chores for 33% of respondents, adding entertainment to the mundane tasks of daily life.
  • For those looking to merge leisure with fitness, 25% enjoy audiobooks during workouts, transforming exercise sessions into engaging literary experiences.
  • A smaller yet notable group of 15% integrate audiobooks into their workdays, merging professional responsibilities with the pleasure of storytelling.
  • Some respondents, at 5%, even opt for audiobooks while shopping, possibly to make errands more enjoyable.
  • Finally, 8% mentioned “other” activities, showing the flexibility of audiobooks in seamlessly weaving into various aspects of people’s lives.

(Source- SurveyMonkey)

Conclusion

Audiobooks Statistics – The world of audiobooks is undergoing a transformative evolution, marked by impressive market growth, a diverse audience spanning different demographics and geographic regions, and flexible listening habits that integrate seamlessly into daily routines.

With a wide range of genres and an expanding catalog of titles, audiobooks are proving to be an inclusive and accessible medium for literary consumption.

Royalty structures vary across platforms, providing authors and publishers with options for monetization. As technology advances, audiobooks are poised to remain a dynamic and influential force in the literary landscape, reshaping how we engage with books and stories in an ever-evolving digital age.

FAQs

What are audiobooks?

Audiobooks are audio recordings of books you can listen to rather than read. They typically feature narrators who bring the text to life through spoken word.

How do I listen to audiobooks?

You can listen to audiobooks on various platforms, including audiobook apps and streaming services, or by purchasing and downloading audiobook files. Many libraries also offer audiobooks for borrowing.

Are audiobooks the same as podcasts?

No, audiobooks and podcasts are different. Audiobooks are complete book recordings, while podcasts are typically episodic audio shows on various topics.

Do I need a special device to listen to audiobooks?

No, you can listen to audiobooks on various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and dedicated audiobook players.

Can I multitask while listening to audiobooks?

Yes, audiobooks are perfect for multitasking. You can listen to them while commuting, exercising, doing house chores, or during any activity that allows you to use your ears while your hands are occupied.

How long does it take to finish an audiobook?

The time it takes to finish an audiobook depends on its length and your listening speed. On average, audiobooks can range from a few hours to over twenty hours.

How do I choose the right audiobook for me?

Consider your interests, preferred genres, and the narrator’s voice when selecting an audiobook. Many platforms provide samples, reviews, and recommendations to help you choose.

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Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar is a CMO at Prudour Pvt Ltd. Tajammul longstanding experience in the fields of mobile technology and industry research is often reflected in his insightful body of work. His interest lies in understanding tech trends, dissecting mobile applications, and raising general awareness of technical know-how. He frequently contributes to numerous industry-specific magazines and forums. When he’s not ruminating about various happenings in the tech world, he can usually be found indulging in his next favorite interest - table tennis.

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