Changing World: Audiobooks

November 21, 2021

I love books. Growing up in rural Portugal, books were hard to come by. We didn’t have expansive libraries and purchasing books was costly. I would save and save in order to buy a single title. Fast forward to today, I am fortunate enough to be able to indulge in this passion and end up getting at least a dozen or so books every month. Other than space constraints, the big problem I have is being able to read the contents of my own library. Reading takes time, and requires a peaceful atmosphere. I usually have one or the other, but rarely both. As such, I have increasingly been growing my library of audiobooks. Audiobooks allow me to listen to a book while doing something else, like walking or driving. And they allow me to “read” at a faster speed so I can finish a book much faster than if I was actually reading it.

I’m not alone in my love of audiobooks. The global market is already large and expected to grow steadily for the next several years (see chart below).

Sources: Omdia; Somar Analysis

Benefits of audiobooks include:

  • Portability: No need to carry around heavy and cumbersome books
  • Convenience: Audiobooks in the cloud allow you to pick up where you left off, even on a different device
  • Selection: As the interest in audiobooks increases, the amount available also increases
  • Time Management: Audiobooks allow you to enjoy a book while doing another task
  • Speed: Most people get through an audiobook faster than they would by reading traditionally, especially if they increase the speed
  • Entertainment: Some audiobooks are read by celebrated actors which can make a story even more entertaining

“Big Tech” have a firm hold on the audiobook market right now, most notably, Amazon with Audible. Apple and Alphabet also sell audiobooks through their app stores and make them easy to access on Apple and Android devices. But audiobooks also provide new revenue streams to publishers. Somar will continue to monitor the audiobook market as it continues to grow.

– Pedro Ramos

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