Sunday, September 13, 2015

Are People Enamored with Audiobooks?

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The global audiobook industry is currently worth 2.6 billion dollars and part of the reason why we have seen a dramatic increase in profitability is due to digital. This is a large amount of money but is the average person really enamored with the audio format? The overwhelming majority say no.

We poised the question a few weeks ago, do you listen to audiobooks? 537 people responded and 38%, which represented 205 votes said no. 20% said they listen to them regularly and 18% said casually.

I find it distributing that audiobooks are so accessible now, either via dedicated services such as Audible or your local library. Almost every single novel from a major publisher has an audio edition that is released at the same time as print, often voiced by well known celebrities. The fact that people have still not embraced the medium is quite telling. It seems people still prefer reading print and e-books, but not audiobooks.

Canadian Print Newspapers to Disappear by 2025


Daily paid circulation as a percentage of Canadian households, has fallen from just under 50% in 1995 to 20% in 2014. If these trends continue by 2025 print newspapers will only be in 5% of homes, leading many papers to go out of business.

The largest newspaper conglomerate in Canada is the Postmedia Group. They pretty well have monopolies in every major Canadian city except Toronto and  is controlled by hedge fund operators, such as New York-based Golden Tree Asset Management who have a 35% stake. In a bid to make the papers profitable they have been down sizing staff from a few hundred to a few dozen.

Newspapers have been notoriously resistant to change and are paying the price. For example Kijiji, which is larger than Craig’s List in Canada, came along and newspapers did not want work with them, now classified revenue is gone.

When newspapers disappear who will pick up the slack? Will we see an influx of citizen journalism on Facebook or Twitter? Pew has just released a a new report that states 63% of US Facebook and Twitter users rely on the social networks as news sources, which is a  11% increase from two years ago.