Audiobooks Boom

Audiobooks Boom

Audiobook sales doubled in 5 years, Nielsen Book reveals at The London Book Fair

Men aged 25-44 drive growth in audio

Audiobooks are experiencing sustained double digit growth, with sales doubling in the past five years, new data from Nielsen Book – the book industry’s leading provider of search, discovery, consumer research and retail sales analysis services internationally – will reveal exclusively at The London Book Fair.

As ebook sales drop, and print holds steady, the real bright spot in the consumer book market is audiobooks, which have enjoyed double digit growth every year for the past four years, including 15% growth in 2017, said Oliver Beldham, Nielsen Book Research at The London Book Fair’s Quantum conference.

The world’s publishing industry is meeting at The London Book Fair (10-12 April, 25,000 visitors, 130 countries) this week and the stratospheric growth in the audiobooks market will be under discussion throughout the Fair.

Audiobook purchases now account for 5% of consumer book spending in the UK, and 7% of fiction sales by value.

While audiobooks have gained share of book buying overall, Nielsen UK Books & Consumers survey also revealed that this rise was particularly high in purchases made by males aged 25-44, and those living in/commuting to the more urban regions of London and the North West. Audiobook sales have also outperformed for genres such as sci-fi/fantasy, classic fiction, self-help, history and science.

Oliver Beldham, Nielsen Book Research said:

“I look forward to sharing the latest data with LBF Quantum conference. Audiobook growth is an encouraging sign that the book consumer in 2017 had a good appetite for content in many formats. The differing consumer profile also shows the reach that audio formats can have among buyers beyond the traditional book customer.”

Jacks Thomas, Director of The London Book Fair said:

“This fascinating research from our data partner Nielsen Book appears to show what we have long suspected, that audiobooks are not eating into print or ebook share but bringing new consumers into the consumer book market. The rise in podcasts and the ease of listening on digital devices may have turned on a new generation to the joys of having a book on the go. As the publishing world comes to London this week for The London Book Fair, I think it’s wonderful to have more people reading in whatever the book format and I look forward to finding out more about this research at Quantum on Monday and throughout the week.”

Other statistics revealed will include:

  • Overall Audiobooks now account for 5% of all UK consumer book spending (4% by volume) and 7% of fiction by value.
  • While UK consumers bought 3% fewer books in 2017 than 2016 overall (across all print & digital formats), purchases of audiobooks rose both in volume (+12%) and value (+15%), with purchases in this format nearly doubling since 2012.
  • Audiobooks are increasingly likely to be downloaded/streamed (up from 55% to 65% since 2014) rather than bought on CD.

[Source: Nielsen’s UK Books & Consumers Survey]

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