Are audiobooks the next generation of books? Audiobook sales increased by 43 percent in 2018, while print book sales fell (by 5 percent) for the first time in five years. Can’t people read for themselves any longer? If eBooks don’t take off like they’re expected to, might this be the beginning of the end for print? And, if that is the case, what does it mean for literary culture?
Oral literary culture predates the book by a significant margin and numerous explanations for its recent surge in popularity. Nowadays, people use audiobooks to help them sleep after a long day at work; others listen to audiobooks while walking, caring for a newborn, or as a substitute for television. Parents report that audiobooks are excellent for keeping youngsters entertained in the car, while commuters report using them on their commutes.
Audiobooks have grown in popularity over the previous three years, and it appears that the pandemic-induced lockdown has indeed enhanced people’s desire for them. It enabled users to receive a customized audio experience at any time and in any location. According to IBISWorld’s study, the audiobooks publishing sector in the United States will be valued at $1.3 billion in 2021. Currently, the United States and China are the two largest markets for audiobooks, accounting for roughly one-third of the market. Other countries account for roughly two-thirds of the audiobook market and are rapidly catching up. By comparison, the global market for printed books is estimated to be roughly $145 billion.
The Publishing Sector
According to Publishersweekly.com, several of the world’s largest publishers have committed millions of dollars to establish audiobook recording facilities and hire voiceover narrators to accelerate production. It resulted in an 18% increase in the number of newly released audiobook titles. In 2019, roughly 60,303 new titles were released, a significant increase over the 44,685 titles released in the previous year.
Why Do Individuals Prefer Audiobooks?
As a result of the pandemic, many countries shuttered their bookstores for more than four months, and individuals turned to audiobooks to maintain their interest in reading. Although many bookstores reopened subsequently, many remained closed worldwide. Major merchants and publishers give away free content to convert even more people to digital audiobooks to keep consumers engaged in reading. One significant element contributing to the increase in audiobook sales is the growing availability of localization options, which allow for the translation/dubbing of an audiobook into multiple languages.
The following are a few reasons why individuals prefer audiobooks to eBooks and printed versions:
- Beneficial to Mental Health
According to research by the Audiobook Publishers Association, more than 73% of audiobook consumers believe listening to audiobooks is calming. Around 55% say they listen to audiobooks when they need some alone time. Both of these figures are pretty large.
- Increase Your Reading Time
While there is little difference between reading a book and listening to one, audiobooks enable consumers to incorporate more readings into their daily life. Consider listening to a book on a smartphone while performing other tasks, such as taking a short stroll, running errands, or even picking up groceries. Additionally, it enables an individual to complete a book lot more quickly and take up another book for reading much more quickly.
- The Storytelling Aids In Comprehending The Characters
Each book contains a unique story, which each reader explores uniquely through their portrayal and visualization of its scenes and characters. With audiobooks, you don’t have to perform any visualizing work because the narration accomplishes most of it for you.
- Millennials Live And Work In A Fast-Paced Environment
We live in an era of rapid outcomes, and these millennials grew up within this time. Audiobooks enable you to listen at a faster rate. Audiobooks have become a preferred place for many millennials, and traditional books and ebooks cannot deliver on that speed element and that more immediate result.
- People Can Multitask While Listening to Audiobooks
You cannot read a paper book or an eBook while driving to work-at least not without jeopardizing your life. However, with audiobooks, one can listen to them while doing almost anything: running, cleaning the home, or cooking dinner. Most people spend at least an hour listening to an audiobook on any given day, which they can accomplish because their hands are free. Additionally, listening to audiobooks make doing chores easier because the mind is occupied!
Is The Material Of My Book Suitable For An Audiobook?
However, before you make that decision, examine whether your eBook would make an excellent audiobook. If the answer is yes, consider the advantages of creating an audiobook and the time commitment required to get started. Then you’ll know when the proper time has come to convert your book to an audiobook.
Is your book structured linearly? Converting a linear story or narrative book to an audiobook is straightforward. If your book’s plot or message is dependent on diagrams, charts, and graphs, it will be more challenging to convey to listeners than to readers. However, suppose you’ve produced a cookbook, manual, reference book, or any other type of book that requires readers to hop back and forth. In that case, your work is unsuitable for conversion to an audiobook.
What Are The Advantages Of Self-Publishing Audiobooks?
1. Increase your profits
Audiobooks are a lucrative business. According to a recent Pew Research poll, nearly 20% of Americans love listening to audiobooks. Due to the low cost of converting a book to an audiobook, audiobooks have a higher profit margin.
2. Appeal to a diverse audience
You can reach and connect with a new and diverse audience through audiobooks, as not all book enthusiasts enjoy reading. Many people who are dumb, blind, or simply too busy to read are increasingly purchasing audiobooks. Additionally, you can increase print and eBook sales by including audio versions as you expand your audience.
3. Never be concerned with stock
You never have to worry about having enough copies of your book on hand because a digital file is always available. One publisher recently published a title ahead of schedule due to the amount of media attention it received. The publisher didn’t print sufficient copies in the initial run to meet demand, and by the time the media frenzy died down, no one cared about the book anymore. Fortunately for the author, the book was also accessible in audio format via instant download, and, well, let’s say he made lots of money from his audio edition.
4. Make yourself easily discoverable
Audiobooks establish a digital footprint for you, making it easier to discover your content. It’s easier for book fans to discover your book among Audible.com’s 100,000 other titles than it is to locate you among the millions of print writers online. You can distinguish yourself by being one of the few authors that produce an audiobook version of their work.
Today, self-publishing audiobooks are generally inexpensive and straightforward. It has given self-publishing authors more possibilities. Several audiobook self-publishing services are available for hire in the market. Most of these services allow you to make an audiobook for free as long as you share earnings with the narrator. You can also record and produce your audiobook if you have the equipment.
The Future of self-publishing Audiobooks
The growth in interest in digital storytelling demonstrates that the time has come for audiobooks, and as their popularity grows, they are also getting more technologically advanced. These are the reasons how audiobooks will evolve in the future:
1. Non-Narrated Audiobooks
We’ve all heard about self-driving vehicles, but how about books without a narrator? While experienced artists and authors continue to read the books, the day is not far away when machine learning (AI) will take over and read the whole book. Companies will mass-produce audiobooks as AI technology advances, resulting in a shorter time to market and lower audiobook prices. Today, we can distinguish between a real and a computerized voice, but future audiobooks will be as accurate and authentic as the human voice as technology advances.
2. Increased Competition
Audiobooks do not compete with printed or electronic books; instead, they compete with music streaming apps, television stations, YouTube, and podcasts. Listening is increasing in popularity due to the convenience provided by Bluetooth hands-free devices, which means audiobooks may have to fight with channels and applications for the market.
3. Engaging Content
Constantly listening to the same thing might get tedious and repetitive. Publishers may get inventive and provide fascinating content to ensure listeners are not bored or find an excuse to abandon their audiobooks. With artificial intelligence, you may also obtain the voice emulation of a favorite character or even your parents, who will narrate the book for you.
4. Translation of Languages
A large portion of the world does not speak English. Similarly, most people are only bi-lingual, so they will not access an audiobook produced in English or other bestselling languages. Future technologies will make it simple to translate audiobooks into different languages. The audiobook will be available in the original language, English, and the customer’s chosen language.
What Steps Can I Take To Begin Self-Publishing Audiobooks?
Preparing your material for recording should come first. Create a script that the narrator can read effortlessly. Eliminate elements like captions, hyperlinks, and all visual elements that may confuse the narrator or cause him to stumble.
Once your content is complete, choose your recording options while keeping your available resources and budget in mind.
- Select a narrator. If you’re debating whether to record yourself or hire a narrator, consider the story’s nature. Your voice may be the correct one – or it may not be.
- Get the right equipment. A good microphone, a recording platform, and a sound-proof room are required.
- Decide on a location. You may be able to record at home if you have access to the necessary equipment and intend to narrate the book yourself. However, acquiring time at a recording studio may be more cost-effective if you require equipment or wish to hire a narrator.
- Consider the timing. A typical-length book takes approximately 16 hours to record and at least two weeks to edit.
If you want to publish books, it’s wise to provide them in as many formats as possible: electronic, print, and audio. It’s simple and profitable to convert books to audiobooks. Not only can audio assist you in reaching new readers, but it also increases overall sales and can be an integral element of your sales and marketing plan.
Most people who combine work and family find it difficult to squeeze reading into their busy schedules; however, audiobooks make this possible. The world’s largest technology giants, including Google, Amazon, and huge publishers, are investing in the audiobook market, which is booming and generating billions of dollars in revenue. Therefore, please take a look at your material and consider expanding it by publishing an audio version of your eBook.