Back in May I wrote about the report by the Association of American Publishers which painted a pretty dire picture of audio book sales particularly for March of this year. I am happy to report that the more detailed report published by the Audio Publishers Association for 2008 only estimates a drop of 6.7% in Gross and Net Sales from 2007. I say only because the economy is not helping the publishing industry so a drop in sales is expected.
I was not surprised to see an actual increase in the download format from 30% to 36% for units and 17% to 21% for dollars. The biggest drop is in the CD format. As the recession continues consumers including audio book buyers are going to choose the cheaper options and right now that seems to be downloadable audiobooks. That does create a problem for publishing companies of course as they are not generating the same returns to be able to invest back into the production of audio books.
For now the consumer is the beneficiary. The other trend that benefits the consumer is a significant increase in the production of titles published, increasing from 3073 to 4685 for the companies that participated in the survey. They are also producing the titles in various formats with #ISBNs(formats) almost doubling from 12,442 to 22,355.
Keep in mind the audio book industry is estimated at around $1Billion dollars. As with all industries it should continue to reinvent itself so that it will survive and thrive. This is not only because of the economy but also because of shifts happening in the way consumers are consuming media.
Join the APA at www.audiopub.org to get the full detailed report.