The Association of American Publishers released their estimated sales data for the month of March 2009 which includes audio books. It was not surprising that they reported a decrease in sales from last March to this March. The recession is affecting everyone and audio books and even books in general can be considered a luxury that some of us can not afford right now.
The APA stated that:
Audio Book sales posted a decrease of 43.3 percent in March with sales totaling $7.6million; sales for the whole year were down 47.1 percent.
The numbers are only for the US but these are significant numbers and I am looking forward to getting more detailed and specific data from the Audio Publishers Association which generates more detailed data. The only issue there is that there is a time lag since they will be reporting data for the year 2008.
The APA does mention in their last annual estimate report that sales for audio books have a healthy CAGR(Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 3.1% since they started tracking it back in 2002.
I would not take this as a negative trend for audio books because sales for all books was down. Something interesting to note is that the estimate for ebook growth bucked the negative trend jumping 110.4 percent for the month. This is interesting because we can see that people are moving away from traditional ways of “reading”.
As the economy continues to struggle there are options for enjoying audio books. Libraries nowadays have a good selection of audio books both in the libraries and through their online services. Also note that audio book downloads are cheaper than buying CDs.:)