sign up for our

Home Shop Subscribe Advertise Articles Directories Classifieds Calendar FAQs Contact Us Login

Audiobook Sales Zoom To $1.2 BILLION
In 2019 With More Than 60,000 New Titles
June 22, 2020

(VOXtra) - The audiobook rocket is soaring to ever new heights.

In 2019, U.S. audiobook sales reached $1.2 billion - up 16% from the previous year - with a corresponding increase in units sold, according to a recent survey of publishers by the Audio Publishers Association (APA).

And publishers reported that 60,303 new titles were produced in 2019, which is 18% more than in 2018.

It's the eighth consecutive year of double-digit revenue growth for audiobook publishers, and is "simply phenomenal," says Chris Lynch, co-chair of the APA's Research Committee, and president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio.

"Even more encouraging are the continued upward trends in consumer listening behavior," Lynch adds, "both in how many titles they listen to per year, and in their finding more time in their day to listen."

These findings come from two annual surveys conducted earlier this year for the APA: a sales survey of publishers by independent research firm InterQ Research, and consumer survey by Edison Research.


The APA reports that in addition to the sales increase, Edison Research's national survey of U.S. audiobook listeners ages 18 and up found that the average number of audiobooks listened to per year increased to 8.1 in 2020, up from 6.8 in 2019.

  • The most popular audiobook genre continues to be Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense.
  • 57% of frequent audiobook listeners are under the age of 45; up from 51% in 2019.
  • Audiobook consumers place a high priority on quality of narration. Non-fiction and fiction listeners alike prefer a professional voice actor to the author as a narrator.
  • For the third year in a row, more than 50% of audiobook listeners say they are making "new" time to listen to audiobooks and consuming more books.
  • A clear market for shorter audiobooks exists, with 43% of audiobook purchasers saying they would buy an audiobook that is one to three hours long.
  • The car remains the #1 overall place for listening, but the home remains the place where people listen most often.
  • 60% of respondents own a smart speaker, and 46% of smart speaker owners have used it to listen to an audiobook (up from 31% in 2019).
  • 37% of respondents say they listen to Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense the most, up from 27% in 2018 and 31% in 2019.

The consumer survey by Edison Research was a national survey of Americans age 18 years and older who have ever listened to a complete audiobook, the APA explains. Edison Research completed 1044 online interviews in January/February 2020. The data was weighted to the audiobook market, as measured by The Infinite Dial, a nationally representative survey of the American media landscape conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital.

The sales survey was conducted by InterQ Research in the spring of 2020 to gather industry sales data, including gross sales, sales by various formats, and channel discounts. This is a national survey of APA members who publish audiobooks. Twenty-four publishers provided data, including Audible Inc., Hachette Audio, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.

Formed in 1986, the Audio Publishers Association (APA) is "The Voice of the Audiobook Industry" - a not-for-profit trade association that advocates the common, collective business interests of audio publishers, and is also a networking, educational and information forum for its members.

For more about the APA, visit

Your Daily Resource For Voice-Over Success
Tell Us What YOU Think!
Please Note: Since we check for spam, there will be a slight delay in the actual posting of your comment.
Your Name:
Your Email Address (will not be published):
Your Comment:
Your Comment:
Security code:     
Comments (1)
j. valentino
6/22/2020 at 3:50 PM
It's just too bad that the majority of titles are by unknown authors and the narrators have been put in a position to have to do the work of recording and editing for the possibility of royalties. LMAO. Audiobooks are hard to do, very time consuming, and the talent is lucky to get $3.52 every couple of months. Good luck with that. The quality of the narrations have also gone down considerably. Mispronunciations abound these days.
Back to Articles
Get your bi-weekly dose here ... all things VO!
With Sean Daeley and Paul Stefano - check it out!
For essential voice-over business strategies
Email alerts to new VoiceOverXtra articles