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Self-Publishing News: US Audiobook Revenue Climbs Again, But Fewer Creators Use Chatbots

Self-Publishing News: US Audiobook Revenue Climbs Again, But Fewer Creators Use Chatbots

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

How long has it been since I reported on another year of double-digit growth for audiobooks? Well, I can guarantee you that it’s as long as I have been writing this column because double-digit sales growth for audiobooks in the United States is as old as ALLi! But whereas ALLi is going strong, the rate of expansion of the audio market has finally, it would seem, succumbed to the inevitable. The Audio Publishers Association, in its sales survey, claims audiobook revenue climbed to an eye-watering $2 billion in 2023, which is a rise of 9 percent.

This comes at the same time as its annual consumer survey, which looks at who and how people are accessing audiobooks. The landscape looks fairly similar to last year, with a rise in those who have listened to at least one audiobook from 35 percent to 38 percent. But two figures did stand out. First, of audiobook readers, the number of titles read rose from 4 percent to 4.8 percent. That’s a big rise in avidness. But while fantasy and romance are in the top three most listened-to genres (general fiction is first), only romance features in the four fastest-growing genres, coming in fourth with an 11 percent increase.

And a fascinating story while we’re on the subject of declining trends hints that all may not be rosy in the AI world. Epidemic Sound has released the results of a fascinating study into social media influencers, ambitiously entitled “The Future of the Creative Economy.”

There are some really important insights into how influencers make their money. YouTube is now the top source of revenue for most (28 percent), taking that spot back from TikTok (18 percent). While video is the most popular format, used by 71 percent of the 1,500 creators surveyed, writing makes a strong showing, adopted as a medium by nearly half.

But the real interest for me is the use of AI. AI as a whole remains well-used, but some of the tools we are most familiar with and worried about have seen a dip. Chatbot usage is down from 56 percent to 32 percent, for example. I quote (not plagiarize!) the following finding in full:

“Quality of AI-generated content is a concern for 48.9 percent, lack of originality worries 38.5 percent, and plagiarism apprehensions affect 33 percent of creators.

Furthermore, 28.7 percent express reservations about the ethical implications of AI usage in content creation, emphasizing the importance of balancing human creativity and AI capabilities to maintain authenticity and originality.”

That’s a fascinating insight into the limits of AI in the creative economy, and a reminder of its potential as a collaborator and tool but not a replacement for creativity.

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Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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