The amount of people who are listening to audiobooks is increasing every single year. Data from The Infinite Dial 2019 which shows 50% of Americans age 12 and older have listened to an audiobook. This is the first time that audiobooks’ consumer penetration has reached the 50% mark, up from 44% in 2018, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital.
The multiple ways audiobook listeners can digitally access their content are helping them carve out more time to listen. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) annual consumer survey shows that half (56%) of audiobook listeners say that they are making “new” time to listen to audiobooks, and subsequently consuming more books.
Growth can be partly attributed to increased listening in cars, which surpassed the home as the #1 audiobook listening location in the 2019 survey. According to the APA survey, 74% of audiobook consumers listen in their car, up from 69% last year. The home is the second most popular spot at 68%, down from 71% in 2018. Technology is playing a major role, as the Infinite Dial survey also shows 19% percent of Americans age 12 and older have an in-dash information and entertainment system in their vehicle, up from 15% last year. Sixty-two percent of respondents who have in-dash systems have listened to an audiobook.
Smart speaker proliferation also bodes well for future listening growth, as penetration among audiobook consumers is nearing twice the US average – 42% of audiobook listeners age 18 and older own a smart speaker. Just over three in ten of these owners report listening to an audiobook on their smart speaker, which points to a significant opportunity to grow the medium using this important new technology.
Here are the top 10 audiobooks of 2019
- Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Narrated by Jennifer Beals, Benjamin Bratt, Judy Greer & Pablo Schreiber (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group)
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Narrated by Jack Hawkins & Louise Brealey (Macmillan Audio)
- The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, Narrated by Tom Hanks (HarperAudio)
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Narrated by Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mae Whitman, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal & Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group)
- Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, Narrated by Malcolm Gladwell (Hachette Audio)
- Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, Narrated by Ronan Farrow (Hachette Audio)
- Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark, Narrated by Georgia Hardstark, Karen Kilgariff & Paul Giamatti (Macmillan Audio)
- Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, Narrated by Tara Lynne Barr, Marin Ireland, Mena Suvari & Lisa Taddeo (Simon & Schuster Audio)
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Narrated by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group)
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, Narrated by JD Jackson & Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group)
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.