Listen Up: Audiobook Sales Increase
Audiobook sales were an estimated $923 million in 2006, a 6 percent increase over the previous year, according to the 2007 APA Sales Survey. The survey was released by Princeton Junction, N.J.-based Audio Publishers Association, a not-for-profit trade association, and analyzed 2006 sales data from a range of sales channels.
Survey results also indicated that CD sales made up 77 percent of total audiobook sales, up from 74 percent the previous year. Cassette sales continued a steady decline, representing only 7 percent of sales compared to 16 percent in 2005, 30 percent in 2004 and 45 percent in 2003. Conversely, download sales continued to increase as more and more consumers adopt new technologies, such as MP3 players. Downloads represented 14 percent of total audiobook sales in 2006, up from 9 percent in 2005 and 6 percent in 2004.
The majority of audiobooks continue to be targeted to adults, with the adult market accounting for 87 percent of last year’s sales. The children/teen audiobook market accounted for the remaining 13 percent in 2006, a figure that was down slightly from 2005. Last year also was a year without “Harry Potter.” Earlier this summer, Random House Audio Publishing Group reported that J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” sold more than 225,000 copies in its compact disc and cassette formats in North America in its first two days of release. That number set the record for the fastest and largest two-day sale in the history of the audiobook medium, breaking the previous record set by “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in 2005.