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Americans are listening to more audiobooks than ever before

Americans listen to audiobooks 2020

Audiobook sales in the US totaled 1.2 billion dollars in 2019 alone – that’s 16% more than the previous year.

According to recently released results from the Audio Publishers Association’s annual sales survey, Americans are listening to more audiobooks than ever, continuing the eight-year trend of double-digit revenue growth.

“Eight straight years of double-digit revenue growth is simply phenomenal,” concludes Chris Lynch, co-chair of the APA’s Research Committee. “Even more encouraging are the continued upward trends in consumer listening behavior – both in how many titles they listen to per year and in their finding more time in their day to listen.”

What’s more, Edison Research’s national survey found that the average number of audiobooks listened to per year jumped to 8.1 in 2020 – a 1.3 increase compared to last year.

Audiobooks continue to rise in popularity among younger generations, with a little over half of all frequent audiobook listeners being under the age of 45. Quality of narration plays a key role – both non-fiction and fiction lovers prefer professional voice actors to the author as a narrator.

In terms of the most popular audiobook genre, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense takes the crown third year in a row, with almost four out of ten respondents saying they listen to books of this genre the most.

Interestingly, 60% of respondents own a smart speaker, but less than half of them use their devices to listen to audiobooks. Nevertheless, the share of audiobook listeners among smart speaker owners increased to 46% from 31% in 2019.

⇢ Full report

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