Helped by big gains in downloadable audio sales, overall sales of audiobooks posted eight consecutive years of double-digit increases through 2019, according to the Audio Publishers Association’s annual sales survey (conducted by independent research firm InterQ). And 2020 looks like it will have a similarly sunny result. In its monthly StatShot report, the Association of American Publishers said sales of downloadable audio from trade publishers were up 15.2% through the first 11 months of the year over the same period in 2019, offsetting declines in the much smaller physical audio market. Downloadable audio found more of a home at independent bookstores last year, with Libro.fm reporting that the number of units sold through indies in 2020 jumped by 200% over 2019.
OverDrive, the leading platform for public and school libraries, reported 138 million digital audiobook lends in 2020, up 20% over 2019. But it also noted that with fewer people commuting during the pandemic, the rate of growth of digital audio lends has slowed.
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS
Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality (fourth ed.) by Laura A. Jana and Jennifer Shu, read by Tegan Ashton Cohan (Feb., $16.95, ISBN 978-1-61002-543-0). Pediatrician moms provide a guide to babies’ first days, weeks, and months at home.
Olive by Emma Gannon, read by Sian Clifford (Mar., $25.99, ISBN 978-1-5248-6556-6). Gannon’s debut explores the life-changing choices women make about careers, love, friendship, and motherhood. Fleabag actor Clifford narrates.
Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardacker (Apr., $26.99, ISBN 978-0-85766-934-6). As engaged couple Norah and Arthur establish a home in a disease-riddled near future, their health-care company gives them a strange creature to take in and nurture.
False Witness by Karin Slaughter (July, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-5047-8023-0). Attorney Leigh’s highest-profile case ever requires her to defend a man who knows about the difficult, violent childhood Leigh has been running from for 20 years.
Hummingbird Salamader by Jeff VanderMeer (Apr., $19.95, ISBN 978-1-982501-02-0). A woman mysteriously receives a key to a storage unit that holds a rare taxidermied hummingbird. When she takes the specimen, it sets off a perilous chain of events.
The Third Grave by Lisa Jackson (June, $36.99 CD, ISBN 978-1-7997-1745-4). Crime writer Nikki Gillette and her detective husband, Pierce Reed, get entangled in a cold case when a hurricane sweeps through Georgia exposing three graves in a local mansion’s cellar.
Win by Harlan Coben (Mar., $38.99 CD, ISBN 978-1-5436-6131-6). A wealthy vigilante antihero investigates a murder that has ties to an FBI cold case from years ago involving his family.
Peak 40 by Marc Bubbs, read by the author (May, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-64502-075-2), aims to help listeners optimize physical health and mental and physical performance as they enter mid-life.
That Sounds Fun by Annie F. Downs, read by the author (Feb., $15.99, ISBN 978-1-5459-1626-1), extols the benefits of opening up, letting go, and adding more fun to one’s days.
Troy: The Greek Myths Reimagined by Stephen Fry, read by the author (June, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-79721-302-6), concludes the comedian and actor’s Mythos trilogy.
Affirming: A Memoir of Faith, Sexuality, and Staying in the Church by Sally Gary, read by the author (Feb., $19.95, ISBN 978-0-8028-7917-2). Gary describes her journey to an affirming position on same-sex marriage through the lens of her own experience as a gay Christian woman.
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
Beauty in the Browns: Walking with Christ in the Darkness of Depression by Paul Asay, read by the author (Feb., $19.99, ISBN 978-1-68428-357-6). Asay understands what it means to be a Christian living with depression, and strives to offer hope and help to listeners suffering from mental illness, and to those who are trying to assist them.
Brat: An ’80s Story by Andrew McCarthy, read by the author (May, $25.98, ISBN 978-1-5491-8917-3). Actor McCarthy’s memoir contains revelations of innocence lost to the heady days in Hollywood with director John Hughes.
Every Day Is a Gift by Tammy Duckworth, read by the author (Mar., $25.98, ISBN 978-1-5491-8554-0). The Iraq War veteran and U.S. senator recounts how the adversity she faced as a child helped her to develop resilience—a quality that has allowed her to achieve at the highest levels after losing her legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in combat.
Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews, read by Therese Plummer (Mar., $25.98, ISBN 978-1-5491-6114-8). Small-town aspiring writer Florence becomes entangled in a perilous mystery when she accepts the job of assistant to celebrated-but-anonymous novelist “Maud Dixon.”
The Light of Days by Judy Batallon, read by Mozhan Marno (Apr., $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-301562-3), spotlights the extraordinary accomplishments of brave Jewish women who fought in the Polish resistance during WWII. Steven Spielberg has optioned feature film rights for the title.
Mixed Plate by Jo Koy (Mar., $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-296999-6). The Filipino American comic recounts his often-bumpy climb to success.
We Are Each Other’s Harvest by Natalie Baszile, read by Tina Lifford (Apr., $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-303328-3), is an anthology of essays, stories, conversations, and more that explores and celebrates Black farming in America from emancipation to today.
Willie Nelson’s Letters to America by Willie Nelson with Turk Pipkin, read by Nelson (June, $18.99, ISBN 978-0-7852-4156-0). This series of heartfelt letters, about Nelson’s loving family life and his status in the music world, draws upon his 70-year career and includes lyrics to some of his biggest hits.
Milk Blood Heat: Stories by Dantiel W. Moniz, read by Machelle Williams (Feb., $15.99, ISBN 978-1-69660-333-1), follows the lives of Floridians in intergenerational tales that explore human connection, race, womanhood, and the elemental darkness in everyone.
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal by Mark Bittman, read by the author (Feb., $22.95, ISBN 978-0-358-39242-2), offers an expansive look at how history has been shaped by humans’ appetite for food, farmland, and the money behind it all.
Lessons from the Edge: A Memoir by Marie Yovanovitch (May, $26, ISBN 978-0-358-53340-5). The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine recounts how she was smeared and recalled from her post by the Trump administration and later testified against those in power at Trump’s first impeachment hearings.
HOUSE OF ANANSI
All I Ask by Eva Crocker, read by Sarah Gibbons (Apr., $29.99, ISBN 978-1-4870-0878-9). After the police search her home and seize her computer and phone in search of “illegal digital material,” Stacey is left to unravel what’s happened and take back her privacy and freedom.
L.A. THEATRE WORKS
Extinction by Hannie Rayson, performed by Seamus Dever, Sarah Drew, and Joanne Whalley (Mar., $6.95, ISBN 978-1-68266-134-5). A zoologist in Australia receives funding to save an endangered species, from the very company that threatens its existence.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, read by Julia Whelan (Feb., $32.99, ISBN 978-1-250-31724-7). Against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in 1934 Texas, Elsa must decide whether to stay on a failing farm or take her kids and head west.
Legacy by Nora Roberts, read by January LaVoy (May, $32.99, ISBN 978-1-250-80237-8). Adrian’s traumatic past is stirred up as she continues to receive strange death threats in the mail and reconnects with her childhood crush.
The Reckoning by Mary Trump (July, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-250-82431-8) examines the nation’s trauma, rooted in its history and exacerbated by current events and the policies and procedures of the Trump administration.
Unhindered Abundance by Ken Baugh, read by the author (Feb., $24.99, ISBN 978-1-64158-423-4) is aimed at helping listeners identify the spiritual growth barriers that keep them from living a life that’s full of joy, peace, and hope.
Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, read by Barry McGovern and Marcella Riordan (June, $58, ISBN 978-1-78198-366-9), is the first commercially available unabridged recording of Joyce’s complex experimental novel, his famous final work.
Checking In by Michelle Williams, read by the author (May, $20.99, ISBN 978-1-4002-2335-0). Williams shares how she has battled depression in the midst of her successful career as a Grammy-winning musical artist and actor, and gone on to become an advocate for mental health.
Embodied Healing, edited by Jenn Turner, read by Turner (Mar., $29.95, ISBN 978-1-62317-648-8). This collection of essays explores the applications of TCTSY (trauma center trauma sensitive yoga) as a powerful evidence-based modality to help clients heal in the aftermath of trauma.
The Real Hergé: The Inspiration Behind Tintin by Sian Lye, read by Simon Vance (Feb., $29.99 CD, ISBN 978-1-64091-611-1), takes an in-depth look at the cartoonist who created the cultural phenomenon The Adventures of Tintin, as well as the history that shaped the books and the controversy that swirled around them.
Women, Men, and the Whole Damn Thing by David Leser, read by the author (Apr., $18.99, ISBN 978-1-66226-017-9), explores the history of misogyny and how it has led to the #MeToo movement, and muses about a path toward healing and change.
Eternal by Lisa Scottoline, read by Cassandra Campbell, Edoardo Ballerini, and Scottoline (Mar., $28, ISBN 978-1-984883-35-3). In 1937 Rome, a friendship blossoms into a love triangle. When WWII erupts, the intertwined lives of Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro are altered.
Professional Troublemaker by Luvvie Ajayi Jones, read by the author (Mar., $17.50, ISBN 978-0-593-39506-6), offers advice to listeners on how to overcome fear in order to do the things that will meaningfully change our lives.
Survive the Night by Riley Sager (June, $20, ISBN 978-0-593-40924-4). In 1991, after securing a ride home via the campus ride board, college student Charlie finds herself in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.
Ever Winter by Peter Hackshaw, read by Dan Stevens (Feb., $39.99, ISBN 978-1-77424-924-6). Henry and his family may be the only survivors on an Earth that has become a desolate ice-world.
Vicarious by Rhett Bruno, read by Wil Wheaton and Katherine McNamara (Mar., $39.99, ISBN 978-1-77424-942-0). Asher must decide whether he will put the beloved star of his reality show—set on an interstellar ark whose inhabitants believe they’re the last of humanity—in danger to boost sagging ratings.
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (Apr., $25, ISBN 978-0-593-16239-2) offers a portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, founders and owners of pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, who are under scrutiny for their role in the country’s opioid crisis.
How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue, read by Prentice Onayemi et al. (Mar., $35, ISBN 978-0-593-20994-3), tells of the people of the fictional African village of Kosawa, who are living in fear amid environmental degradation caused by an American oil company.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, read by Julia Whelan (May, $28, ISBN 978-1-984845-34-4). The lives of four famous siblings change forever in the wake of their annual epic end-of-the-summer bash in 1983.
A Man at Arms by Steven Pressfield, read by George Guidall (Mar., $29.99, ISBN 978-1-70502-008-1). Pressfield returns to the ancient world for a historical saga about a reluctant hero, the Roman Empire, and the rise of a new faith.
No Way Out by Fern Michaels, read by Susan Bennett (Mar., $29.99, ISBN 978-1-70502-665-6). After Ellie awakes from a coma and realizes her boyfriend is missing, she attempts to piece her life back together by starting over in a small town in rural Missouri.
SIMON & SCHUSTER
The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson, read by Kathe Mazur (Mar., $29.99, ISBN 978-1-79711-705-8), offers an account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues invented CRISPR, the revolutionary tool that can edit DNA.
Freedom by Sebastian Junger, read by the author (May, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-79712-226-7). Junger ruminates on the concept of freedom and examines the tension that lies between valuing individuality and being dependent on community.
Later by Stephen King, read by Seth Numrich (Mar., $23.99, ISBN 978-1-79712-175-8). A boy born with an unnatural ability is recruited to help his mother’s detective boyfriend pursue a killer.
Don’t Call It a Cult: The Shocking Story of Keith Raniere and the Women of Nxivm by Sarah Berman (Apr., $18, ISBN 978-1-58642-308-7). Investigative reporter Berman uncovers how Raniere and his enablers blackmailed, branded, nearly starved, and enslaved dozens of young women seeking creative coaching and networking opportunities.
42 Today: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy by Michael G. Long, read by Mirron Willis (Feb., $19.99, ISBN 978-1-70527-550-4), features essays from distinguished sports writers, scholars, and cultural critics that explore Robinson’s perspectives and legacies on civil rights, sports, faith, youth, and more.
The Curator’s Daughter by Melanie Dobson, read by Nancy Peterson (Mar., $24.99, ISBN 978-1-66207-065-5). A girl kidnapped on the eve of WWII changes the lives of an archaeologist forced to work for the Nazi party and, 80 years later, a Holocaust researcher trying to overcome her own trauma.
Orchard House by Heidi Chiavaroli, read by Brittany Goodwin (Feb., $25.99, ISBN 978-1-4964-5607-6). Two women, one living in present-day Massachusetts and another in Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House soon after the Civil War, overcome their own personal demons and search for a place to belong.
Beginnings, Endings, and Salt by Edwidge Dandicat, read by Katheleen Gonzales (Apr., $19.95, ISBN 978-1-62461-743-0). These linked essays chronicle the author’s literary life from her childhood in Haiti without her parents, who were away working, to her mentorship relationships with various renowned authors.
Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih, read by Michael Crouch and Will Damron (Feb., $24.95, ISBN 978-1-64904-027-5). Two gay childhood friends reconnect in their 30s as they each struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing world, contemplating what it means to be a gay man today.
A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson, read by the author (May, $23.95, ISBN 978-1-64904-049-7) follows the adventures and romances of a bohemian group of artists, poets, and writers on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960. Original music by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.
Enough about Me by Richard Lui, with Nancy French, read by Lui (Mar., $20.99, ISBN 978-0-310-36247-0). Journalist Lui tells of how he left his news anchor job to care for his ailing father, and seeks to help equip listeners with the practical tools to make similar selfless decisions.
Call Me Athena by Colby C. Smith (July, $8.99, ISBN 978-1-5248-6731-7) captures one young woman’s struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants in tumultuous 1930s Detroit.
The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff (Apr., $27.99, ISBN 978-1-7135-8777-4). During one family’s idyllic summer at their vacation beach house, two charming brothers appear, and everything changes.
Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good by Nancy Werlin (Apr., $27.99, ISBN 978-1-7135-8783-5). Overachieving nerd Zoe tries to keep her fandom and a trip to Dragon Con a secret from her boyfriend, who would not approve.
The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim (May, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-368-07535-0). An adopted Korean American girl discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.
The Mouse Watch by J.J. Gilbert (May, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-368-07512-1) follows the daring escapades of the youngest and newest recruits to the covert Mouse Watch, which trains exceptional mice around the globe to solve problems and save the world.
Best Nerds Forever by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (May, $24.98, ISBN 978-1-5491-3547-7). When middle schooler Finn dies and comes back as a ghost, he and his new ghost friend Isabella must discover and resolve their unfinished business to move on to the afterlife.
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp, read by Andy Aragon and Arami Malaisé (Apr., $25.98, ISBN 978-1-5491-0245-5). Penelope must choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path in this #OwnVoices debut featuring #OwnVoices narrator casting.
Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard (May, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-308766-8). When a mysterious immortal assassin appears on Corayne’s doorstep telling her she is the last member of a dying bloodline, and the only one who can save the world, Corayne seizes the chance to have her own adventure.
A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia (May, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-309049-1) tells the stories of one white family and the enslaved people who work for them in 1860 Louisiana.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as Told to His Brother) by David Levithan, read by Everette Plen (Feb., $20, ISBN 978-1-984885-51-7). Lucas wants to believe the story his younger brother tells about what happened to him when he disappeared for six days then reappeared, but it seems totally implausible.
The Willoughbys Return by Lois Lowry, read by Jorjeana Marie (Feb., $14, ISBN 978-0-593-41047-9). After 30 years, the awful Willoughby parents,
previously presumed dead and frozen on a mountaintop, thaw out and head home. Lowry’s sequel is soon to be a Netflix animated film starring Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, and Martin Short.
Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield, read by the author (May, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-80316-0). Actor Bromfield’s debut takes listeners to the heart of Jamaica, where a girl comes to terms with her family, and herself, against the backdrop of a hurricane.
Dearest Josephine by Caroline George, read by Nathalie Powell (Feb., $26.99, ISBN 978-0-7852-3620-7). Contemporary teen Josie falls for a guy who lived 200 years ago after reading the newly discovered love letters he wrote to her ancestor and namesake.
The Wild Book by Juan Villoro, read by Mark Sanderlin (Feb., $12.99, ISBN 978-1-66225-748-3). Award-winning Mexican author Villoro’s debut middle grade adventure follows a boy who lives with his uncle in a library where books have supernatural powers.
Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve, read by M.W. Cartozian Wilson (Apr., $24.99, ISBN 978-1-70502-837-7). Dean knows he’s a trans guy but struggles with coming out as everyone thinks he’s a lesbian, including his girlfriend and the school theater director who has cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo.
Ground Zero by Alan Gratz, read by Bernardo de Paula and Ariana Delawari (Feb., $24.99, ISBN 978-1-338-73911-4). Gratz introduces the stories of Brandon and Reshmina as they experience 9/11 in 2001 and 2020, respectively.
Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen, read by Karissa Vacker (Mar., $24.99, ISBN 978-1-338-73922-0). In this WWII story of espionage and intrigue, Meg races to save her soldier father and aid the French Resistance.
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare, read by Finty Williams (Mar., $29.99, ISBN 978-1-4423-8644-0). The Shadow-
hunters must catch a killer in Edwardian London in this second volume of the Last Hours series
Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor, read by Ben Onwukwe (Feb., $29, ISBN 978-1-70528-032-4). Twelve-year-old Nnamdi vows to avenge the murder of his father with the help of superpowers he can access via a magical object, the Ikenga.
Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke, read by Kelsey Navarro et al. (Feb., $19.95, ISBN 978-1-62461-688-4). In a kingdom where magic has been outlawed, Ren is blackmailed by a wealthy leader who discovers she has powers into joining a rebel effort to overthrow the king.
Big, Bold, and Beautiful by Kierra Sheard (Apr., $20.99, ISBN 978-0-310-77082-4). Gospel singer Sheard shares her hard-won advice on body positivity, spiritual self-care, goal setting, finding your joy, and living boldly in faith.