The audiobooks industry in the United States - additional information
Some of the first spoken word recordings were made available for the blind and the visually impaired in 1931. Excerpts from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and Helen Keller’s “Midstream” were among the first recorded tests performed. In the past audiobooks gained popularity in cassette tape and CD formats but more recently a shift into the digital media territory has been detected.
Downloadable audiobooks can be beneficial for both producers and users as they do not require large production costs, storage inventory, physical packaging, or transportation. The primary market for audiobooks is found in well-educated adults who have a preference for books over television. Among those surveyed in the United States in January 2014, 21 percent of college graduates claimed to have listened to an audiobook in the past 12 months, as opposed to only 10 percent who have a high school education or less.
As of 2013 however the audiobook was by no means dominating the book industry in the United States. In 2013, only 14 percent of respondents surveyed stated listening to an audiobook at least once in the past 12 months, whereas 69 percent claimed to have read at least one print book.
The convenience of audiobooks allows its users to multi-task, ideal for an ever increasingly on-the-go lifestyle. In 2012, the political commentator Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln” which are books known for their riveting narratives of historical assassinations proved most popular with audiobook consumers as they topped the audiobook charts, selling 58,101 units and 52,696 units respectively.