Audiobook industry sees 17 percent annual growth

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Audiobook sales are predicted to grow 17 percent annually until 2018 from 12 percent a year from 2008 to 2013 with the product’s cheap price and the proliferation of smartphones as the growth drivers.

Research firm IBISWorld made the forecast in its recent report covering the industry and said the future of the industry remains upbeat.

Audiobook publishers sold $1.6 billion audiobooks during the period 2008 to 2013, according to the report.

IBISWorld analyst Agata Kaczanowska said the market was able to grow despite the recession because of the cheap price of audiobooks.

Ironically, audiobook production is not cheap since it is labor-intensive. For every dollar spent on labor costs, publishers spend just four cents on recording.

The growth is also attributed to digital audio platforms that allow their sale and marketing. Notable examples are Audible and iTunes.

Audible, under Amazon, is the largest audio book producer and retailer in the U.S. In 2012, more than 60 percent of audiobooks were downloaded from, nearly all coming from Audible or Apple’s iTunes, to which Amazon is licensed to supply audiobooks.

As of June 2013, the iTunes Store possesses 575 million active user accounts,[9] and serves over 315 million mobile devices, including iPods, iPhones and iPads, according to Wikipedia.

An interesting addition to the ranks of social media platforms is Audioboo, which hosts spoken word content such as news and sports broadcasts, as well as podcasts.

The platform already has 2,000 channels, over a dozen of which allow the preview and sale of audiobooks. Although small in number, the channels represent major audiobook publishers such as BBC, AudioGo, Random House, and HarperCollin’s Harper Audio.

Audioboo, which has been called the audio version of Youtube, has 2.5 million subscribers and 13 million active users through its website, mobile applications and content partners. The platform’s features include embedded players that allow the clips to play on Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to audiobook sales, channel owners can also strike a revenue sharing deal with Audioboo through the use of pre- and post-roll advertising. Because of this feature, publishers and broadcasters may release free content with the hopes of getting advertising revenue in return.

Audioboo is owned by Audioboom Group PLC’s (BOOM.L), which is listed in the London Stock Exchange.

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