I’m All Ears

The Connecticut Corpse Caper is currently being made into an audiobook.  How exciting is that?  Can’t wait to hear it.  Of course, given I can’t find the time to promote myself and the Triple Threat Investigation Agency ebooks and hardcover books, I’m not sure how I’ll manage to market this one.  But where there’s hope, there’s … hope.

Audiobooks were up an impressive 20% across the publishing realm in 2017, while print books were up by a mere 1.5% and ebooks <gulp> were down by 5.4%.  In fact, audiobook sales in the U.S. in the last two years have amounted to $2.1 billion (per Scribd data).  Not too shabby.

Here are a few more not-too-shabby facts based on a survey done by the research firm Management Practice.  These can be found in an interesting July 2019 article—“Audio Publishers Association Survey: Nearly $1 Billion in 2018 US Sales”—by Porter Anderson (Editor-in-Chief at Publishing Perspectives and Co-owner/Director at The Hot Sheet). WPearsPorterAnderson

·       Publisher receipts in 2018 totaled almost 1 billion dollars, up 24.5 percent from 2017

·       Unit sales were up 27.3 percent over 2017

·       Audiobook listening is on the rise, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital’s The Infinite Dial 2019, which shows 50 percent of Americans age 12 and older have listened to an audiobook, up from 44 percent in 2018

·       Audiobook titles published in 2018 totaled 44,685  (an increase of 5.8 percent over 2017)

·       The ages of listeners: 55 percent of all audiobook listeners are under the age of 45, and 51 percent of frequent listeners are aged 18 to 44 years

·       Time for listening: 56 percent of audiobook listeners say that they are making “new” time to listen to audiobooks, and subsequently consuming more books

·       Where they listen: 74 percent of audiobook consumers listen in their car, up from 69 percent in 2018; the home is the second-most popularly cited spot at 68 percent, down from 71 percent in 2018, and this coincides with increased adoption of in-dash car players

·       Smart speakers provide growth opportunities as penetration among audiobook consumers is nearing twice the US average—42 percent of audiobook listeners age 18 and older own a smart speaker

·       Podcasts: More than half (55 percent) of audiobook listeners tell researchers for the survey that they’ve also listened to a podcast in the last month, continuing a strong historical association between podcast listeners and audiobook listeners

·       The most popular genres sold in 2018 in audio were general fiction; mysteries and thrillers/suspense; and science-fiction/fantasy

I used to listen to audiobooks back in the 80s (yeah, dating myself, huge sigh) when they weren’t popular. In fact, they were pretty limited then, but they did exist.  Didn’t catch on very much though, probably because the quality—unlike today—wasn’t there.  Still, I rather enjoyed driving through the countryside, listening to Sherlock Holmes.

Personally, I love reading print books, holding them in my hand, flipping pages, earmarking them (I know, I know, slap on wrist).  But I could get used to the audio version.  Given I’m/we’re always running somewhere and doing something, it makes total sense to be listening while running and doing!

So, did you hear about . . . ?

Oh, Say Can’t You . . . Hear . . .

. . . the ca-ching, ca-ching of audiobook$?

Maybe it’s something you’re considering?  I certainly have.  (Mind you, I can’t even get a couple of e-books converted into hard cover—been waiting for a year for it to be done, so never mind the challenge of audio, LOL.)

An audiobooks ad that ran regularly on TV—before “holiday cheer” commercials took over—had caught my attention and got me to thinking that audio could prove quite viable (never mind that I’d love to hear the private-eye gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency come to life).  But do I remember the name of that company?  Of course not.  As P.I. Linda would say: dang.

Back when, I listened to Sherlock Holmes stories on cassettes (remember those?) and had found it entertaining; it made driving, cleaning, ironing and cooking rather enjoyable.  In today’s fast-paced world, when sitting and reading isn’t always possible, listening while “doing” certainly is.

As an FYI, a complete reading of a book is referred to as “unabridged” while a condensed version—“abridgement” of the text—is called “abridged”.  (Always wondered about that.  Now, I know.)

Curiosity prompted me to do some quick research.  Here’s an impressive fact:  audiobooks sales are up 20% year after year.  Here’s a (sad) not-so-impressive fact: e-book sales are down approx 5%.  . . . Maybe another reason to go audio?

The reason for the hike in audiobook sales?  It’s the way we’ve started approaching the action of reading—or rather the mode of listening, which is often now via an iPod, MP3 player, cell phone or smartphone, or Kindle device, and the list goes/grows on.  The awesome thing is we can listen anywhere: at home, on public transit, at the gym, in the mall, walking the dog.

My e-books are on Smashwords and new news to me (I really need to find time to read more)—the company has partnered with Findaway Voices.  Smashwords authors like yours truly can use Findaway to produce and distribute audiobooks.  How cool/easy does that sound?

Another cool thing?  You can narrate your own books, if you like.  You’ll just need to ensure you have the right equipment (such as recording and editing), a quiet venue, and time (evidently it can take 30-40+ hours to complete an audiobook).  Doing it yourself would probably best suit non-fiction.  In terms of fiction, unless you possess some acting/voice skills, a professional narrator might be better because you’d almost certainly want distinct differences in your characters’ voices.

Another tantalizing tidbit: more and more retailers (like Google Play and Apple iTunes, to name just a couple) are getting into audiobooks.  . . . And audiobooks for kids?  Yup.  Happening.  Big time.

At present, the genres that appear to be most popular: classic literature, sci-fi, fantasy, history, science, and self-help.  (Maybe, hopefully, mysteries will move up the popularity ladder.)

Do that due diligence if you plan to go the audio route, such as weighing costs, because they can add up, and confirming company legitimacy and credibility (remember “buyer beware”).  This holds true for the distribution component, too.  Know what you’re getting [into].  Determine whether you want to go exclusive with one distributor or sign up with many.

WPframeABCUse2