In 2007 a paltry 3,073 audiobook titles were produced and this figure rose exponentially to over 12,000 published in 2011. In 2013 many industry experts proclaimed that over 20,000 audiobooks were now available and in 2014 over 35,000 were released by major publishers and companies like Audible.
The global audiobook industry is currently worth 2.6 billion dollars and part of the reason why we have seen a dramatic increase in profitability is due to digital. In a recent New York Times piece, they said “In the first eight months of 2014, sales were up 28% over the same period last year, far outstripping the growth of e-books, which rose 6%”
The audiobook industry in the US and UK are fairly well documented, but Canada tends get lost in the shuffle. Booknet Canada seeks to remedy this situation with a comprehensive report on digital usage. Apparently 76% of Canadians only listen to the digital audiobook format and women account for 57% of the audience.
Many audiobook users are actually purchasing the digital edition after they have read the print or e-book variant. 36% of the respondents stated that they generally read first and listen second. Meanwhile the majority of the respondents stated they want to see more bundling with the e-book and audiobook format.
I won’t bore you with a summary of the 22 page report, but what I found that was the most interesting was how Canadian libraries are starting to see massive digital usage. Most of the big libraries in Canada have seen a 50% increase year on year in audiobook loans. Overdrive, likely the largest content provider indicated downloads have increased 38% in 2014, outpacing the 32% increase in eBook downloads.
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.