Audiobook sales have increased a staggering 29.6% in the first four months of 2017. Publisher revenue for this format jumped from $77.6 million in 2016 to over $100.6 million in 2017. April was the strongest month of the year so far, with sales performing 34.4% better than last year.
E-Book sales declined by 4.6% over the first four months of 2017 and the format generated $374.9 dollars, during the same period of 2016 total ebook sales were over $392.9.
Through April 2017, revenues for trade books were flat at $2.02 billion, up $6 million (0.3%) compared to the first four months of 2016. Adult Books and Religious Presses saw increased revenues and Children & Young Adult Books saw declines.
What I noticed from this new data is that it is more of the same. Publishers have seen consistent declines in e-book revenue over the course of the past three years. Every month they are making less money than the month prior, but the format is consistently generating over almost a hundred million dollars a month. So for now, I doubt publishers are worried that the format continues to fall. I have spoke with a number of agents and executives at Penguin Random House, Hachette and HarperCollins. They all acknowledge that the rise of audiobook sales have nullified the decline in e-book sales. Audiobooks continue to make up for the loss and every month the format is generating more money. This has prompted these publishers to double down on the amount of new front-list titles that are giving the audio treatment to.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.