State of the Audio Book Industry
- In 2004, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) estimated the size of the audio book market is $800 million, factoring in sales from non-reporting and non-APA members.
- In December 2004, audio book publishers reported a 14 percent increase in retail and wholesale sales between 2002 and 2003. - APA
- Publishers say it is expected that an audio book will account for 10 to 15 per cent of a book?s overall sale. - "Analysis: Some of the Factors Contributing to the Growth of Audio Books," National Public Radio, January 27, 2005
- Shifts in audio book formats continue to advance with CD sales revenue increasing from 35 percent in 2002 to 45 percent in 2003. Cassette revenue decreased from 58 percent to 49 percent. - APA
- Sales revenue from abridged versus unabridged formats was essentially unchanged from 2002 to 2003. Abridged sales accounted for 21 percent of overall sales dollars; unabridged sales were at 71 percent. - APA
- The sector showing the most growth in the audio book industry is in downloadable sales. Download of audio books increased 50 percent year over year from 2001 to 2003, with a six percent increase in 2005. - APA
- In libraries, circulation for adult audio books jumped 13.5 percent in two years, while circulation of children's audio books rose 10.7 percent. Budgets for adult audio books increased 6.1 percent and those for kids audio books increased 4.8 percent. - APA
Audio Books and Commuters
- The most popular place to listen to an audio book is in the car. People also report listening at home, at the gym and while doing repetitive tasks at work.
- According to the Audio Publishers Association, multi-tasking continues to be the primary benefit recognized by consumers of audio books, especially by those who are driving long distances, traveling, or commuting.
- In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Americans spend more than 100 hours commuting to work each year, with the overall national average at 24.3 minutes per one-way commute. If the average audio book is 4.4 hours long, a commuter could easily listen to a book a week just while commuting to work.
- Random House Audio Publishing ranks Los Angeles as the largest market for its recorded books, primarily because it is a city of so many commuters.
- The National Household Travel Survey named Thanksgiving weekend the busiest long-distance travel period of the year, with the number of long-distance trips increasing by 54 percent during the six-day holiday. Although media focus is usually on crowded airports and bus and train stations, nine out of ten travelers actually use personal vehicles.
Audio Book Superstars
Harry Potter: The best-selling audio books in history
- The first North American audio book printing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was 635,000 copies, making it the largest initial print in the history of the audio book medium.
- Listening Library published the unabridged audio book in both cassette and CD formats, with the unabridged CD recording accounting for 68 percent of sales and the cassette format making up the remaining 32 percent.
- The unabridged recording of the 652-page book is approximately 19 hours, filling 18 CDs and 12 cassettes. If you were to start listening to the book while in New York City, you?d still be listening when you got to Memphis, Tennessee.
- Adding the sales to-date for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, brings total Potter audio books in print to more than 5 million copies.
- Grammy Award-winning narrator Jim Dale, narrator of all six Harry Potter audio books, holds the Guinness Book Record for creating the most number of voices in an audio book (134) for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." Dale also won a Grammy for his narration of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire".
- Prior to the release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, the five previous Potter audio books sold over four million copies in North America in all formats.
My Life: Best-selling nonfiction audio book
- My Life, Bill Clinton?s 900-page autobiography, had a first printing of 1.5 million books with a simultaneous audio book release of 350,000 copies.
- The 6.5-hour abridged audio book read by Clinton had a first-day sales record of 35,000 in the United States, nearly ten times the typical audio book bestseller and the most ever for a nonfiction book.
- My Life was named 2005 Audio book of the Year by the Audio Publishers Association and received an Audie Award in recognition of its excellence in spoken word entertainment.
Simply Audiobooks Tidbits...
- The most shipped title in our inventory is Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
- Dan Brown?s Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code both tied in the top spot for most "lost" titles during the shipping process.
- Our most popular genre by far is Fiction, with Business and Self-Help taking second and third place.
- June is Audio Book Month. Simply Audiobooks makes an extra effort during this time to increase the awareness of the audio book industry and promote the use of audio books.
- If you like to listen to audio books while commuting, then based on a 90-minute commute, the amount of hours of audio book listening that we have available to you will take care of nearly 47 years worth of commutes!