The Audiobook Revolution – Listening is the New Reading


Imagine doing your chores at home listening to Stephen Fry’s narration of Oscar Wilde short stories or Jeremy Irons’ rendition of Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist. The effect can make even the mundane of tasks enjoyable. Such is the power of an audiobook.

The audiobook revolution is taking the publishing world by storm. Estimated at around 2.8 billion dollars, the audiobook industry has seen a surge in its fortunes in the last few years. Last year alone, 43,000 titles were adapted into audio formats and over 3.88 million downloads completed. From noted authors to budding writers, everyone is getting onto the audiobook bandwagon. Many publishing houses and independent publishers are converting hardcover and eBooks to audiobook formats and seeing great returns already.

Creating audiobooks is no simple task though. Having just a microphone and recording equipment isn’t enough. From selecting the right narrator to identifying the tone of the content, and the hours of sound engineering that goes into it, the creation process needs to be professionally managed, to say the least. Once created, then starts the more difficult part – promoting the book to reach the desired audiences.

Many companies, small and big have entered the space with a wide range of strategies. The subscription model is the most popular, offering the reader a selection of titles from the publisher’s online library at a prescribed fee. From education to business and fiction, the reader gets to choose from a wide range of genres. Most of the packages offer a sampling option where few titles of a book series are made available. This way readers get a wide range of options and can sample the experience first.

This is indeed just the beginning. As we move ahead, in addition to a lot more titles being added, we will also see the offerings mature, such as:

  • A Netflix-type subscription model where although the latest titles may not be available, the customer gets enough choice of royalty-free and back listed books converted into audiobooks
  • Bundling of eBooks and hardcover with audiobooks, made available at retail and online stores
  • Digital audio libraries –  Audiobooks take lesser time to create and publish than eBooks, hence we could also see libraries converting their collections to audio

No matter the trend, we can be sure that audiobooks are on track to become one of the more important divisions of publishing.

Impelsys is an established company with a strong presence in the online education and publishing sphere. We offer cutting-edge and tailored products for your publishing needs. Read more about our digital publishing services here.

Digital Publishing in 2018 – Through the Crystal Ball