In a recent revelation from Nielsen BookData’s Books & Consumers survey, the audiobook market in the UK is experiencing a remarkable upswing. The survey uncovered a noteworthy 6 percent surge in volume and an impressive 12 percent boost in the value of audiobooks during the initial seven months of 2023, as reported by the Bookseller.
If these upward trends persist, projections indicate that the year is poised to conclude with the sale of a staggering 28 million audiobooks, boasting a collective value exceeding £200 million (equivalent to A$385 million).
Steve Bohme, the research director at Nielsen BookData, reflected on the industry’s trajectory, noting a previous perception of plateauing in audiobook popularity around 2022 after eight years of double-digit growth. However, 2023 is proving to be a resurgence, with anticipated spending surpassing the £200 million mark for the first time by year-end.
Of particular interest is the flourishing growth of audiobooks in the nonfiction genre. This surge is occurring at a time when print and e-book nonfiction have witnessed a decline. Notably, the audio share in nonfiction has now eclipsed that of fiction. Bohme attributes this trend to the rising demand for genres like true crime, sport, and self-help—genres that resonate strongly with audiobook consumers who prefer to listen on the move or while multitasking.
Over the past five years, nonfiction audiobook sales have witnessed an impressive 74 percent surge, leaping from 3.5 million units to a substantial 6 million. In contrast, fiction has experienced a commendable 41 percent growth, advancing from 5.2 million units to 7.3 million.
Several key players in the publishing arena, including Hachette UK, Pan Macmillan UK, Bonnier, and HarperCollins UK, shared insights with the Bookseller. Many reported an expansion of their audio teams, signaling a strategic response to the burgeoning audiobook trend in the UK. The industry’s pivot towards audio content is not merely a passing phase but a transformative wave that publishers are actively riding to meet the evolving preferences of their audiophile audience.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles, the latter being my latest fad.