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Self-publishing News Update: Is Spotify Driving An Overall Increase In The Audiobook Market?

Self-publishing News Update: Is Spotify Driving An Overall Increase in the Audiobook Market?

ALLi News Editor, Dan Holloway

Is Spotify Driving An Overall Increase in the Audiobook Market? That’s the intriguing question posed by new figures.

The audiobook market has, as you will all know by now, been growing steadily for a decade. Double digit growth is normal and while in the early days it was de rigueur to point out that this was starting from a very small base, that baseline is now within touching distance of ebooks.

One of the things that I find particularly interesting is whether there is a hard ceiling to the audiobook market inherent in the format and what that might mean for author income. I have talked about this a lot in relation to AI narration and the possibility that many more audiobooks being on the market might mean a finite pie getting sliced very thin.

This comes from consistent reports that consumers of audiobooks get through about one and a half a month, without those noticeable distortions of voracity we know from ebooks. Which is because there’s only so fast you can listen to an audiobook and it still make sense at all, whereas people’s reading speed can be much more varied.

Spotify's big entry into the audiobook market

Anyway, if there is a hard ceiling, it seems we are still a long way from reaching it. Spotify’s big entry into the audiobook market seems to have driven spectacular growth, in the US at least. In the last quarter of 2023 the year on year growth of the sector was an eye watering 28%. Without Spotify, whose market share has already reached 11%, the growth is still 14%.

This suggests the whole sector is growing, not just Spotify. Quite what is driving that remains to be seen, but I would love to see what happens as the number of AI-narrated books, especially back lists, proliferates. It certainly seems that people are reading widely. Spotify say that customers in one month listened to 90,000 of the 200,000 titles in its catalogue.

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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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