• Amanda Clemmer

The Audiobook Boom And What It Means for You


Services like Amazon’s Audible have made audiobooks approachable and even mainstream for readers who would prefer to listen. The past decade in particular has shown a spike in the audiobook marketplace with audiobooks taking an increasing share of the sum of all book sales and audiobook listeners listening to more books more frequently.


The industry continues growing and doesn’t appear to have reached a peak yet, making it an attractive option for authors who want to place themselves ahead of the curve.


Here are some things to know about the currently booming industry. Stats have been taken and can be further reviewed at BrandonGaille.com, Statista.com, and Markinblog.com.



  • Audiobooks were invented in 1931 as a way to allow blind people to listen to books.

  • Audiobooks became a full-fledged industry over the 1950s and ‘60s when publishers made records (and later cassette tapes) of popular books anyone could enjoy.

  • Audiobook popularity continues to soar. Sales of audiobooks more than doubled between 2010 and 2016.

  • 2019 saw a whopping 18% increase in audiobook sales, meaning the audiobook craze is just getting started.



  • The United States is the largest and most active market for ebooks in the world, with 26% of American adults admitting to listening to an audiobook over the past year.

  • 57% of audiobook listeners listen at home, while another 32% listen in the car.

  • More women listen to audiobooks than men (52%), but men account for the bulk of heavy audiobook listeners (56%).

  • 56% of audiobook listeners prefer not having another task while listening.

  • The average consistent audiobook listener listens to 8.1 books per year.




  • Mystery/Thriller/Suspense marks the most popular fiction genre in the audiobook industry, selling about 1.6 million units per year.

  • 77% of audiobook sales are for fiction books, heavily outselling nonfiction titles on the market.

  • In 2019, Audiobooks made up 8.1% of the bookselling market. This is a monumental increase over 2.5% in 2011.

  • Alexa, anyone? 49% of audiobook listeners with a smart speaker use it to listen to their books.

  • Digital rules! Over 90% of audiobooks are now downloaded online instead of sold in sets of CD’s. Services like Audible make this trend easy and fun to break into.


Do you make your books available as audiobooks? Please share your experiences in the comment section below or join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction writers for additional discussion.