Audiobook prices compared to ebooks and print books

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Audiobook price comparison vs. ebook and paperback edition

In most cases, an audiobook is more expensive than an ebook or print version of the same book.

People who started buying ebooks are used to prices that are lower – sometimes considerably lower – than print editions.

What’s more, there are several deals on ebooks, which enable users to get favorite titles at prices cut to a range between $0.99 and $2.99.

Users expect audiobooks to work the same way. Audiobooks are also books in a digital format, so there is no cost of printing, right?

Yes, but there is another cost-generating factor. It’s narration. You have to pay the narrator, plus cover the cost of sound recording and editing.

An average novel contains 80,000 words. It translates to about 9-10 hours of narration. The cost per finished hour ranges between $100 and $500. So, the cost of producing an audiobook of a 100,000-word novel narrated by a recognizable voice can easily exceed $5,000.

It’s no surprise that an audiobook version of a book title costs much more than its ebook edition. In most cases, it’s also more expensive than a paperback or even hardcover.

The usual price of an audiobook edition is between $20 and $30. It’s twice as much as the cost of a Kindle or paperback edition. Both formats are usually priced below $20.

In the table below, we’ve compared prices of a few popular books from the list of Amazon’s top 100 book bestsellers.

Price comparison: audiobook vs. Kindle vs. paperback

Data collected on June 7, 2018
Title and author Kindle Paperback Audiobook
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng $4.99 $19.72 $20.65
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood $9.99 $10.50 $23.44
The Outsider by Stephen King $14.99 $18.00 $26.64
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey $4.99 $21.31 $28.30
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson $14.99 $12.99 $23.95
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling $9.99 $8.49 $29.99
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R. R. Martin $5.99 $10.48 $28.77
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho $9.99 $9.33 $23.95
Artemis by Andy Weir $15.99 $16.00 $29.95
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders $10.99 $10.20 $24.50
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie $0.99 $9.60 $29.46

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