The Book Industry Study Group has just released a new report on how audiobook adoption is really starting to take off in the United States. The data was collected from a substantial general survey population of 4314 respondents, in late 2020. The report found that 43.6% of the general survey population engage with audiobooks and 49.6% of those who engage with audiobooks buy the same book in multiple formats.
“The APA was delighted to see the audiobook findings that are so relevant to our members”, states Executive Director Michele Cobb, who emphasized that “2020 was a banner year for audiobooks with over 71,000 titles published and the ninth year of double-digit sales growth.” The lead researcher Dr. Noorda noted that “Over the past several months, I have had wonderful opportunities to share our findings with publishers, librarians, booksellers and authors. It is our hope that Immersive Media & Books will serve as a reference work for the entire industry, including audio publishers whose products continue to experience rapid adoption from a wide range of consumers.”
Here are some of the most notable findings on the report
- 67.9% of those who engage with audiobooks are also avid book engagers (4+ per month). This compares to 53% of the general survey population.
- Audiobook engagers are younger than the general survey population, with 41.5% of Millennials and 43% of Gen X engaging with audiobooks.
- Greater percentages of people of color (Black 19.6%, Latinx 16.4%) engaged with audiobooks compared to the general survey population.
- Audiobook engagers rely heavily upon word-of-mouth for book discovery, with 21.6% citing friends, 13.6% family, and 10.1% social media.
- 81.4% of audiobook engagers have a library card compared to 75.8% of the general survey population.
- Favored genres of audio enthusiasts for adult fiction are Mystery, Classics, Fantasy, Romance, and Thriller. For adult nonfiction, preferred genres for audio enthusiasts are History, Biographies and Autobiographies, Body/Mind/Spirit, Spirituality, and Business. Audio enthusiasts engage with YA (fiction and nonfiction) in all genre categories at higher rates than the general survey population.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve 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. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.