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Early look at the worldwide audiobook report 2019

Global overview of audiobook markets and trends
First highlights of the report “Global Audiobooks Data: Steps Toward Understanding the Size of the Market” have been revealed during the 2019 Bologna Children’s Book Fair / Photo: Alphacolor, Unsplash

Take a look at early findings of the worldwide audiobook report that’s being prepared by APA, Bookrepublic, and Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

The audiobook market has been flourishing in the recent years. As the companies ditched inconvenient CDs and tapes, and started offering audiobooks via their digital platforms.

Now, you can listen to an audiobook on your Kindle or iPad, and almost any other mobile device. The only thing you need is a free audiobook player app you can download in an instant from your devices’s app store.

Voice-operated smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa or Apple HomePod, are perfect for audiobook fans. Use your voice to hear a voice – there is no need to take a phone or tablet to start playing an audiobook.

Audiobook sales are on the rise because they can now be listened to virtually anywhere – at work, while cooking, in public transport – on any device you have at hand at the moment. What’s important, opposite to ebooks, you can listen to audiobooks while doing something else: driving a car, cooking a dinner, or cleaning a house.

Recently, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) and Bookrepublic in collaboration with Bologna Children’s Book Fair have surveyed various retailers and come up with a global overview of the audiobook marketplace, titled “Global Audiobooks Data: Steps Toward Understanding the Size of the Market.”

The report sums up the collected data in form of a set of charts, each illustrating one of the following: geographies, key areas and emerging markets.

It is important to note that there are some unavoidable drawbacks to the report, as there is no consistency or standard in data collection from nation to nation and some of the cases the sales data was withheld by audiobook retailers.

The following highlights are based on an overview of the report written by Porter Anderson at Publishing Perspectives.

Worldwide audiobook report 2019 – first highlights


Global audiobook report 2019 highlights - geographies

According to the report, the world of audiobooks can be divided into three main “macro-areas” of key importance: the US, with an estimated 2017 consumer spend of a whopping $2.5 billion; Europe coming second with an estimated $500 million spendings; and finally China, with publisher data of $470 million.

Also, in general observations the European market has a “range of maturity based on location, with plenty of room for growth.”

The turquoise squares offer a visual comparison of the size of the market in each of these key areas.

Key areas

Global audiobook report 2019 highlights - key areas

The report further specifies the key areas within, showing that Nordic countries lead the European audiobook market, constituting almost one-third of its income. While Americans lead the charts with the biggest estimated consumer spend, the Chinese audiobook is quite popular among the young ones, with 40% of the units sold in the children’s books category. According to broader data, China is also seeing a “shift toward paid content.”

Audio strongholds in Europe include Germany (about 16 million units sold in a year) and the UK (14 million units sold in a year, with 18% for children). France and Russia are among the most rapidly developing markets.

Emerging markets

Global audiobook report 2019 highlights - emerging markets

Emerging markets include Spain, Italy, and India.

Upon broader observations, the report also suggests that web platforms are the leading distribution channels that not only aggregate the publishers’ content, but also take on the traditional functions of physical bookstores, such as offering advice and customer service.

APA’s executive director Michele Cobb also suggests that a rise in popularity in children’s audiobooks can be expected if the retailers learn to create “safe” spaces for the young ones, without parents having to worry that they will bump into adult content.

Via Publishing Perspectives.

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