What is it?
The increase of audiobooks popularity has caused an uproar in the book industry. Over the past year, they’ve started outselling print books, and many publishers are in disbelief.
Why is it important?
While self-published authors are giving traditional publishers a run for their money, the unlikely contender of audiobooks has risen to stir the pot up even more. As sales of audiobooks went up 30% in just the past year, sales of hardbacks and e-books seemed to have fallen. What this means for the publishing industry may not be what you’d think . . .
Long Story Short
There’s a new shift in how books are being consumed. According to Donald Katz, Audible’s CEO:
“This a completely different phenomenon — a cultural and, frankly, aesthetic change in people’s habits.”
Audible (Amazon’s audiobook subsidiary) wouldn’t disclose exact sales figures across formats, but did state they found examples of books that sell better than their print counterparts. Some up to four times better.
What they’re not stating is the main reason behind these increased sales: the new trend is to hire celebrity narrators such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Tim Robbins, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, and many more as narrators.
That being said, many people don’t care for special celebrities and just enjoy audiobooks—no narrators attached. That and the fast pace we live in. Many people still prefer to listen to a good story while working out or on their commute to and from work. So not all credit goes to this new craze.
As author Andrew Peterson pointed out: audio can outsell print when treated as its original format and not produced as an afterthought. And that is the real story. Creating great work, treating it with pride, . . . AND having enough money to hire celebrities to read for you. 😉
Does this really affect traditional publishers?
Perhaps the most important factor to consider comes from the AAP (Association of American Publishers). These audiobooks sales include titles from 1,200 publishers . . . BUT don’t include self-publishing authors. And as we know, there’s also been a rise in self-published audiobooks.
So are print books going extinct? No, not at all. Personal preference is what matters. Most hardcore readers sill love to hold a book in their hands and read for themselves. And if they move on to listen to some celebrities narrating random books? Well, it’s safe to assume ‘someone has a crush!’
With audiobooks creating new fans for all involved, collaborations of this sort is only going to grow as time goes by. How will self-published authors keep up? Well, I can’t wait to find out!
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