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UK audiobook sales double over past five years; men drive growth

Audiobook sales in the UK have doubled over the last five years, reports the Bookseller.

While book purchases across all formats in the UK last year fell by three percent compared to 2016, audiobook sales rose by 12% in volume and 15% in value, with audiobook purchases nearly doubling since 2012.

The data is drawn from Nielsen UK’s Books and Consumers survey, released at the London Book Fair (LBF) this week. The survey also revealed that men aged 25 to 44 and commuters are driving the growth in audiobooks.

Managing director of Nielsen Book Research International Andre Breedt cited podcasts acting as a ‘bridge’ to audiobooks for young men, who listen to audio content on their phones. He told the Times: ‘Listening to audiobooks seems to appeal to young men more than reading a book. It fits much better with their lifestyle.’

Audiobooks currently account for five percent of consumer spending on books in the UK, and seven percent of fiction sales by value. A Nielsen spokesperson said said of audio titles are outperforming sales for genres like science-fiction and fantasy, classic fiction and self-help.

Director of the LBF Jacks Thomas said the data ‘appears to show what we have long suspected, that audiobooks are not eating into print or ebook share but bringing new consumers into the consumer book market’. ‘The rise in podcasts and the ease of listening on digital devices may have turned on a new generation to the joys of having a book on the go,’ she added.

This news story first appeared in Books+Publishing on 10 April 2018. Books+Publishing is Australia’s leading source of print and digital news about the book industry, keeping subscribers up to date with the latest industry news, announcements, job advertisements, events, trends and more.


Category: International news Newsletter