THE MARKETPLACE

Today’s market for Audio Books, eBooks and Paper Books is massive.

October 2014—The Audio Publishers Association released results from the 2014 Annual Survey of Members. The survey of 2013 sales reveals that the audiobook industry is continuing to grow at a tremendous pace.

The independent research firm Management Practice who conducted the 2013 Audio Publishers Association Annual Survey conducted this study in the spring of 2014. Based on the data from reporting publishers, their findings revealed that the 35,713 titles published in audiobook format in 2013 more than doubled from the previous year’s number of 16,309. This is the second year in a row that the number of titles published has doubled over the prior year and marks a huge industry jump since 2010 when only 6,200 titles were released in audio.

Net sales in dollars are up 12% over the prior year’s revenues. Based on the net sales from the reporting publishers to the annual survey, the APA estimates industry retail sales at $1.3 billion.

Returns continued to decrease in 2013 – down to 7.5 %, which is one-third of the return rate a decade ago. This all-time low rate of return can be attributed in part to the rapid rise in sales of digital audiobooks.

The digital download continues to reign supreme with a full 70% of all audiobooks sold being in the digital format. Revenues from digital audiobooks are also on the rise. Downloads represented 62% of net sales in 2013 vs. 54% in 2012.

The unabridged format still dominates with 91% of units sold being unabridged. Fiction titles still far surpass non-fiction with nearly 80% of all audiobook units sold being works of fiction. These patterns have held steady with virtually no change in statistics year over year.