A recent article in Poets & Writers points out that since 2012 sales of audiobooks have posted double-digit gains every years, including a whopping 34 percent boost in 2016. That year publishers sold nearly ninety million audiobooks, more than double the number they sold five years earlier.
Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and the ease of downloading titles online, revenue from the audiobooks at Simon & Schuster, for example, jumped nearly 40 percent last year. According to Audio Publishers Association, an industry trade group, publishers have sold nearly ninety million audiobooks, more than double the number they sold five years earlier.
However, audiobooks sales account for less than 4 percent of the roughly 2.7 billion books sold in all formats each year, but with overall books sales essentially flat and the once booming e-book sector declining, writers have new reason to pay close attention to the increasingly valuable audio rights to their books.
Most smaller publishers do not have the resources to create an audiobooks. So if you write a book, and your publisher isn’t going to do anything with the rights to an audiobook of your story, hold onto them. There is a new company, Amazon’s Audible.com (of course), which distributes audiobooks through an online subscription service. Audible has created the Audiobook Creation Exchange, or ACX, a self-publishing platform that matches writers with professional narrators and audiobooks studios.
In return for using the free platform, writers agree to sell their books on Audible, either exclusively or as part of a broader distribution plan. So far, writers have published nearly a hundred thousand audiobooks using the exchange since it launched in 2011.
To get a better sense of what your book might sound like, check out:PW.ORG/MULTIMEDIA
On this site you can listen to original recordings of poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers read from their work.