Why Writers Need to Get Involved with Audiobooks

If you think the only way for someone to read your nonfiction book involves them actually reading every word, think again. Audiobooks are hot and provide a valid way for readers to get the benefits provided in the pages of your book. In this guest post, W. Terry Whalin (@TerryWhalin) offers some powerful statitics and information on why you should get in on the audiobook trend now…not later. .

Have you considered entering the audiobooks area of publishing? My research on publishing shows that audiobooks continuing to expand and explode. Authors who don’t consider audiobooks as part of their publishing path migh tbe missing out on a lot of readers—listeners—and some money and opportunities, too.

Check out this article from the recent Book Expo America and mega-bestselling author, James Patterson. Patterson (Crazy House, Hachette Audio) opened his presentation with a declaration: “Listening to an audio is reading. A lot of gatekeepers don’t buy into that, but I do.”

Noting the audiobook “is only scratching the surface of its potential importance and its audience,” he offered a pair of recommendations. “The first suggestion is that some audiobook people have to go out to Silicon Valley. We need to redesign audiobooks so they can be sold at a better price.”

Patterson also advocated for offering what he called an irresistible audiobook package to automobile makers. Such a package could include books from a variety of well-known or bestselling authors and be offered at cost if these businesses agreed to put them in every new car sold. This is an interesting idea. I will be watching the publishing world to see if someone takes James Patterson up on such an idea.

Are Audiobooks Viable?

If you are wondering about the viability of audiobooks, just look at the following recent statistics reported by Shelf-Awareness.com in an article whose headline read “Audiobook Sales Up 18.2%, Unit Sales Jump 33.9%”:

“Audiobook sales in 2016 rose 18.2%, to $2.1 billion, and unit sales jumped 33.9%, according to the Audio Publishers Association’s annual sales and consumer studies, conducted respectively by Management Practice and Edison Research. This marks the third year in a row that audiobooks sales have grown by nearly 20%. The APA attributed audio growth to an expanding listening audience: 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) have completed at least one audiobook in the last year, a 22% increase over 2015.”

Audio Book Facts

Here are some other facts you might find interesting about audiobooks that were included in the Shelf-Awareness article:

  • More listeners use smartphones most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before (29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015).
  • Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
  • Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year.
  • More than a quarter (27% of respondents) said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
  • A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), followed by in the car (32%).
  • 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks, followed by baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
  • The top three reasons people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) they can do other things while listening; 2) audiobooks are portable so people can listen wherever they are; and 3) they enjoy being read to.
  • The most popular genres last year were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction/fantasy, and romance.
  • 19% of all listeners used voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) to listen to an audiobook in the last year, and for frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.”
How to Get Involved in Audiobooks

I hope some of these statistics caught your attention about the importance of audiobooks. Here are several ways you can get involved with audiobooks:

  1. Listen to audiobooks on a regular basis. The first way for any of us to get active in an area is as a participant. I have written about audio books in past articles.
  2. Use your activity to promote and encourage others to listen to audiobooks. As you complete an audio, book, write a review. If you look at my Goodreads book list, you will see many of these books are audio books.
  3. Get active creating audiobooks. If you have no idea where to begin, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Richard Rieman’s book, The Author’s Guide to AudioBook Creation. This little book will help you learn more about the audio book industry and give you resources for launching your audio products.

Are you using and creating audio books? If not, I encourage you to jump into this growing area of publishing. Tell me about your experiences in a comment below.

About the Author

W Terry Whalin headshot x160W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Photo courtesy of Btomertu/123RF.com

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