The Audio Publishers Association released the results from their annual sales survey, conducted by the independent research firm Management Practice in the spring of 2015, which revealed that the audiobook industry is continuing to expand in sales as well as the number of titles being published in the format.
Based on information from responding publishers, the APA estimates that audiobook sales in 2014 totaled more than $1.47 billion, up 13.5% over 2013. Unit sales were also up 19.5%, nearly five times the increase of the overall book trade industry (4.2% as reported by the Association of American Publishers in June 2015).
Additionally, 1,032 more titles were published on audio than in the previous year — bringing the number of audiobooks published in 2014 up to 25,787. The growth of the industry is largely due to the growing popularity of the digital download and increasing awareness and profile for the audiobook format. Sales of digital downloads continue to rise – showing an increase of 7.3% in dollars and a full 10% in units sold from the previous year.
Year # of Audiobook Titles Published
2012 16, 309
While adult titles continue to account for 87% of sales, children and young adult titles are on the rise with a 3.7% increase in sales from 2013 to 2014. The APA’s recent consumer behavior study revealed a strong demand for titles for younger listeners, with 36% of respondents reporting listening to children’s or YA audiobooks.
Fiction continues to represent the vast majority of audiobooks sold with roughly 77.4% of audios being fiction vs. 22.6% non-fiction. The unabridged format continues to dominate with 91% of audios sold being in this format.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.