I was recently referred by a previous client to his new publisher. He wanted me to record a couple of his books with my portable audiobook studio.
I’m still editing the book I recorded with him and I assume the process went well for him which led to him suggesting me to his new publisher.
I emailed the publisher who is a specialist in education and leadership books and included a link to my website for him to get an idea of how I work. I was a little disappointed not to receive a reply after a few days, so I followed up.
This time he did respond but said that, despite being asked more frequently by authors about audio versions of their books, he couldn’t see how he could justify the expense of adding audiobooks to his process – unless I knew something he didn’t.
So here’s how I responded:
“I fully understand your concerns about audiobooks. After all, producing books in print and e-book formats is costly enough – why would you want to add even more expense?
However, as you say below, [in your reply] authors themselves are beginning to view audio versions of their books as important.
There is undeniable evidence of the remarkable growth of the global market for audiobooks as well as a dramatic increase in ‘social’ proof. In May 2020, the e-book commentator Michael Kozlowski wrote:
“One thing I noticed about the past month are the sheer number of audiobook recommendation posts made on Google News. There are literally hundreds of posts from blogs, hyping up everything from sci-fi titles to self-help just in the past week, this is not including the thousands that appear in the normal Google Search results page. In Google Trends, audiobook results were fairly stable the past twelve months, but spiked dramatically for March and onwards.”https://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/audiobook-trend-continues-to-grow-during-the-pandemic
Obviously, more people being at home during lockdown means that they probably had more opportunities than usual to investigate and listen to audiobooks but this growth hasn’t just been restricted to the last few months (and those who have discovered or re-discovered a love of audiobooks will most likely continue listening after developing their new habit during more restricted times).
“In the United Kingdom new Research by Harris Interactive found that in 2019 15% of Brits listened to an audiobook…In 2019 audiobook sales increased by 43% and generated £69 million…Lee Langford, Senior Research Director, technology, media, telecoms & entertainment, at Harris Interactive, said: ‘The publishing world is enthusiastic about the positive trend of audiobooks in recent years and, with further growth of 25% predicted for 2020, there are key learnings from our research that will help maximise the potential.’”https://goodereader.com/blog/audiobooks/audiobook-trends-and-statistics-for-2020
Being digital, audiobooks are not bound by geography in the same way as print books are, so when Alex Preston reports on 2nd August 2020 in The Guardian:
“Global sales have been growing at 25-30% per annum for the past three years and will hit $3.5bn in 2020…”https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/02/a-word-in-your-ear-why-the-rise-of-audiobooks-is-a-story-worth-celebrating
some of those sales and that increase will undoubtedly find their way to UK authors and publishing companies.
So it’s likely that requests for audiobook versions of your books will continue and intensify from both your authors and, perhaps more Importantly, their readers.
When a lot of your audience are teachers and educational leaders (and I know this from personal experience as I began my career as a Primary Teacher) time tends to be in rather short supply. So listening on-the-go to the latest book by Phil Beadle, Mary Myatt or David Didau (all of whom, incidentally, I know) is a sensible choice, to say the least.
As I’m sure you know, educators have traditionally been early-adopters of technology with Edutwitter, Instagram, Pinterest, podcasts and all sorts of other platforms teeming with teachers and educational leaders from their earliest moments. The vast majority of this activity is now via mobile devices, so it hardly seems a leap to expect the audiobook boom to be similarly embraced by [redacted’s] key audiences – after all, access to your audiobooks could soon be in everyone’s pocket all the time.
Let me know if you’d like to discuss this opportunity some more. I’m always happy to help.”
I’m still awaiting a reply.
So what do you think? Is there any future for audiobooks or am I wasting my time?