Get Caught Listening for Booksellers and Librarians

Attention booksellers and librarians. Learn more about the impact of audiobooks!

Get Caught Listening

Facts about the Audiobook Industry

The total size of the audiobook industry is approximately $900 million, based on a 2009 sales survey.

When compared to non-audiobook listeners, data shows that listeners are*:

  • Avid readers
  • Better educated than non-listeners
  • Slightly younger than non-listeners
  • Commanding higher incomes
  • Utilizing the audio format to fit more books into their lives

Among top reasons given for listening to an audiobook for the first time are*:

  • Amusement during travel
  • Friend recommendation
  • Commuter activity
  • Exercise/other activity

65% of audiobooks sold are in CD format and 78% of audiobooks listened to are unabridged

Most listeners are still listening on CDs, but 15% of adults and 19% of teens have downloaded an audiobook*

Among the most important deciding factors when buying audiobooks are price and availability on CD*

Listeners are most likely to turn to recommendations from a friend to select an audiobook. Librarians, coworkers and teachers are also influential*

75% of sales are fiction and 25% of sales are represented by non-fiction

Data is from Audio Publishers Association Sales Survey 2009 unless noted with an asterisk (*); this data is from Audio Publishers Association Consumer Survey 2010.

Audiobooks and Children

Audiobooks are great tools for children learning English as a second language and special-needs children

Audiobooks are a useful tool in the classroom and a change from teachers reading aloud

Parents are the customer base for children's audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great form of entertainment and a change from television and video games!

Staff recommendations and guidance on age-appropriateness is useful; the sole use of age labels may not apply to all children

Data from Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC) 2006

Promote Audiobooks

Create an audiobooks section with face-outs displaying audiobook covers

Create an audiobooks bestseller section

Promote audio versions of titles with print versions—especially at author events!

Include audio titles on 'Staff Recommendation' lists


Contact publishers or the APA to enquire about staff listening programs and mailings

Run specials offers or discounts on audiobooks

Offer diverse formats of the same title (unabridged, abridged, etc.) to meet the different needs of your customers!

Compiled from Audio Publishers Association Board document, April 2004