Digital Census shows audio charge

Digital Census shows audio charge

Audio has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the digital book market, findings from The Bookseller’s Digital Census show. The survey also found that while many respondents acknowledged the current slow-down in e-book sales growth, the majority thought sales would soon “start to grow quickly again”.

The survey reflects the changing nature of the content business and consumption patterns, a key theme of the FutureBook Conference this year (4th December), as readers adjust to accessing content across a range of devices. The audio download market has grown exponentially in recent years as listeners have moved from purchasing CDs to downloads, and the survey reinforces this: in 2014 audio was ranked as the 9th fastest growing area, this year it has moved up to second place.

In July, Pandora White, audio publisher at Orion, told The Bookseller that audio was the "fastest-growing genre in publishing”.

She said: “There has been a complete revolution when it comes to audio, with younger people listening to audiobooks for the first time, purely because of the gadgets and smartphones we all have.”

While the e-book remains well out in front in terms of sales growth, the number of respondents who record this as their fastest growing business continues to diminish, from 66% in 2013 to 60% in 2014, to 45% in 2015. The survey suggests that there has been a slight bounce-back in the sale of book apps, but enhanced e-books continue to lag, with the number of publishers regarding that product as their fastest growing segment having halved in the past year.

The Digital Census 2015, the annual tracker of the book business’ digital evolution, was launched four weeks ago and so far more than 800 respondents have completed the survey. To take part in the survey, follow this link to Survey Monkey. To encourage others to take the survey, the link is: surveymonkey.com/r/FBCensus15. The survey runs until Thurday (15th October), with the results to be published ahead of this year’s FutureBook Conference on 4th December.

Audio publishing is a developing theme at the conference this year, with Laurence Howell, director of content, at Audible UK, joining Caroline Raphael editorial director, audio, at Penguin Random House UK, on the platform. For more details visit: http://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/2015