Audiobooks Are the New E-Books

The New York Times recently reported that audiobooks are the new e-books.

In a look back at 2015, they said “audiobooks joined podcasts as one of the breakout creative mediums of the year.” Sales of downloaded books increased by 38 percent in the first eight months of 2015, according to the Association of American Publishers. Meanwhile, e-book sales declined by 11 percent in the during the same period, leading to speculation that some consumers are switching from digital reading to digital listening.

The New York Times points out, “The growing use of smartphones means that practically everyone has an audiobook player on hand at all times. There are more titles than ever to choose from (25,787 audiobooks were released in 2014). And the medium is attracting prominent actors and celebrities.”

Tom Tivnan of the publishing industry bible The Bookseller also believes the rise is largely due to technology. “Streaming and speed of downloads helps, but simply that most people have a smartphone is probably the main factor,” he says. And developments in digital recording and distribution have made audiobooks more affordable. The Wall Street Journal notes that Stephen King’s lengthy The Stand cost $100 in 1978. Today it can be downloaded for $33.

I’ve been a fan of audiobooks for years.  As a book publicist my work is often sedentary, so when reading for pleasure I love the mobility afforded by audio downloads. And because I specialize in media relations for nonfiction titles, I gravitate toward fiction on my own time. It’s incredibly relaxing to have someone read me a story while I’m doing chores, running errands, or working out.

Bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham summed it up when he said, “I think people will always enjoy having a story told to them. It’s not something that happens often after childhood and it’s a rare and special treat.”

My book publicity clients often ask if I think it’s essential for them to produce an ebook version of their titles. Now a more important question is, when will your audiobook be ready?

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our book publicity services can help promote your audiobook–or ebook. 😉