Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 3, Issue 7


Audiobooks Stay White-Hot 

The Audio Publishers Association reported double-digit revenue growth for an astonishing 10th consecutive year.  2021 audiobook sales saw an increase of 25% over 2020 – a year that was itself up 12% over the prior year.  The genre leading the way: romance, with a 75% increase in revenues for 2021.  No editorialization on such a figure will be provided by Market Update at this time. 

The number of audio titles produced in 2021 was also up—6% over the title count in 2020—for a total of 74,000 titles released in audio.  

More stats (because that’s what we do here): 

  • 41% of audiobook listeners subscribe to at least one membership service (up from 38% in 2020).
  • 61% of parents say their children (17 and younger) listen to audiobooks, up from 49% a year ago.

Not sure how to feel about that last figure, as it could indicate a decrease in literacy.   Perhaps it’s time to employ a centuries-old parenting mantra: “Do as I say, and not as I do.

Bookstores Bounce Back

Continuing a welcome trend, bookstore sales continue to rise.  Q1 of 2021 saw bookstore revenues up 16% over the prior year. But that number is down 8.5% from Q1 of pre-pandemic 2019.  So, we aren’t quite there yet. But looking ahead, we already have April numbers, and our bookstore friends outperformed last April by 31%, helped by a late Easter. That big April puts bookstores 19.4% over 2021 for the first 4 months of this year.

Also important, as has been the trend for the last several quarters, the retail bookstore segment’s 16% jump continues to outpace overall retail, which saw only a 12.3% increase in Q1.

Weekly Numbers—June 2022

Here are the weekly results for June:

          Week ended June 11, 2022: Down 5.3%

          Week ended June 18, 2022: Down 4.8%

          Week ended June 25, 2022: Down 9.4%


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