With an emphasis on digital-format audiobooks read by professional narrators, audio publishing continues to be a growing part of the book market. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) reported $940 million in publisher receipts in its survey of 2018 publisher sales data, representing a 24.5% rise in revenue and a 27.3% rise in units sold over the prior year. That marked the seventh year of double digital sales growth in both dollars and units in the U.S. market.

APA members are continuing to stay strong during the current global crisis, and the association is hard at work compiling data about the state of the industry, which will be released in June. This will include consumer data from a January 2020 survey conducted by Edison Research and publisher sales data from 2019 in a survey conducted by InterQ.

At BookExpo Online, Chris Lynch from Simon & Schuster, Cathy Forrest from HarperCollins, and Michael Anderle from LMBPN will join the APA's executive director, Michele Cobb, to discuss how growing sales, increased consumption, younger listenership, and mix of listening locations—yes, listening in the car AND listening at home—are impacting publishers’ strategies.

The group will also examine the impact of the events of the last few months. For instance, APA retail member Chirp reported an initial dip in listening during commuting hours at the start of the lockdown, but it rebounded quickly as people discovered their new routines at home, and listenership has in fact increased to above the pre-shutdown level. With consistent production growth and the increase in listening on ubiquitous devices such as the smartphone, the audiobooks segment seems poised for more growth.

The APA’s June Is Audiobook Month campaign starts June 1 and will highlight a key statistic from the 2020 consumer survey: the average number of books listened to per year by audiobook buyers has gone up to 8.1 from 6.8 in 2019. Everyone is invited to participate in the APA Instagram Challenge throughout June, with daily giveaways all month and a chance to win a grand prize. Follow the APA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and use hashtags #audiobookschallenge, #loveaudiobooks and #MyStudioSelfie.

For more information on BookExpo Online, visit the BookExpo Facebook page.