Fifth of book buyers consume audiobooks, PA survey reveals

Fifth of book buyers consume audiobooks, PA survey reveals

Graham Norton, Stephen Fry and Elizabeth Day are among the authors taking part in this year’s Love Audio Week, as a survey shows more than a fifth of book buyers now consume audiobooks.

An initiative of the Publishers Association’s Audio Publishers Group, the campaign runs from 10th to 16th June, aiming to engage book consumers and the publishing industry through social media clips, blogs and behind-the-scenes videos. A campaign website is up and running while much of the activity it takign place on Twitter, collated with the hashtag #LoveAudio.

To coincide with the campaign, the Publishers Association released the results of a survey, commissioned by Kantar, into the reading habits of 2,001 UK adults.

It found the main barrier to reading is a lack of time, with audiobooks cited as a popular solution to the problem.

According to the results, 72% of those surveyed said they had bought a book in any format over the last year, with 21% of book buyers using an audiobook.

It found 54% of audiobook buyers listen to them for their convenience, while 41% said they choose the format because it allows them to consume books when reading print isn’t possible. In all, 27% of audiobook consumers listen to them at least once a week while 22% said they were able to retain information better.

Stephen Lotinga, c.e.o. of the Publishers Association, said: “The audiobook sector continues to go from strength to strength as consumers look for new and exciting ways to incorporate books and stories into their everyday lives. 

“Audiobooks are an essential companion for the everyday reader who is busy and on-the-go, like many of us so often are. They are a vital part of the publishing eco-system and allow consumers to tailor reading to suit their busy lives.

“This is why it is imperative that the Government removes VAT on digital reading products like audiobooks and e-books. The publishing industry is committed to pursuing accessibility through digital innovation and this tax serves as a critical obstacle to this goal.”

Dominic Gribben, chair of the Publishers Association’s Audio Publishers Group and audio editorial director at Hodder Book Group, said Hachette would be offering a range of activities throughout the week.

Staff at the firm are being challenged to narrate a verse of Lewis Carrol’s Jabberwocky, with the best ones edited together and published on Friday on the HUK Soundcloud pages and podcast feeds.

Hachette and its Wellbeing Network have also teamed up with Audrey, an app allowing people to read aloud to one another online, with three of its phone devices at Carmelite House.

The publisher will also be sharing audio highlights, clips and messages from authors, producers and narrators across genres talking about why they love audiobooks.

At Pan Macmillian, the publisher has already shared an interview with David Nott, with round-ups of SFF, C&T, general fiction and children’s audiobooks to come. Staff will also be snapped for social media holding up cards about their audiobook favourites.

HarperCollins is showcasing its audio content across the firm’s social media channels and is encouraging all its employees to become “audio champions”. New audio extracts and never-before-seen videos and pictures will be shared from inside the studio while authors will explain what they love about listening and recording audiobooks.

A PRH spokesman said: "We have a huge variety of social media activity coming from all major Penguin channels including Penguin, Vintage, Puffin, Ladybird, Dead Good, The Happy Foodie and Page Turners, reaching well over 2 million dedicated book and audiobook lovers. Content includes audiobook recommendation lists from Penguin, Puffin and Ladybird, videos of authors talking about their audiobooks from Dead Good, and posts promoting our new audiobook edition of The Handmaid’s Tale, narrated by Elisabeth Moss, and Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat on Vintage, Page Turners and The Happy Foodie."