Audiobook revenue up 12% in 2020, to $1.3B, part of longer term rocketing growth

In research conducted by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), Edison Research, and InterQ Research, the APA announced earlier this month that audiobook revenue rose 12% in 2020, to $1.3-billion. “Audiobook listening remained strong and stable despite the pandemic,” the organization said.

Unsurprisingly, listening shifted from car to home: 55% of respondents said the listened most opten at home, compared to 43% the previous year.

New products are voluminous; more than 71,000 new audiobooks were published in 2020, a 39% increase year-to-year. That’s the largest growth in new titles since 2015. Kids are listening more, too, according to parents — 49% of them, mup from 35%.

Other key findings from the APA:

  • The percentage of Americans 18+ who have ever listened to an audiobook is now 46%, up from 44% in 2020.
  • Membership in audiobook services increased, with 38% of listeners indicating they subscribe to at least one such service.
  • 56% of audiobook listeners are under the age of 45; this is up from 52% in 2020.
  • 70% of consumers agree audiobooks are a good choice for relaxing.

Edison Research contributed facts from itsĀ Share of Ear consumer surveys:

  • The overall share of time spent listening to audio (Share of Ear) for audiobooks has grown 60% since 2017.
  • Daily audiobook listeners spend more time listening to books than any other form of audio (radio, podcasts, etc.).
  • Daily reach of audiobook consumption has grown 71% since 2017.
  • Daily audiobook listeners spend nearly 2 hours more per day listening to audio than the general population (5:35 vs 3:46).


Brad Hill