Audiobook Statistics to Know about in 2024

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If you have questions about audiobook statistics, you’ve come to the right post!

The audiobook industry is growing but doesn’t get as much press as the physical or e-book industry.

That said, there are a lot of interesting dynamics going on in the world of audiobooks that I’ll unpack in the sections below.

Audiobooks’ Share of US Sales Revenue

book sales revenue by format audiobook chart

If you’re wondering how audiobooks stack up compared to hardback, softback, and e-book sales, The Association of American Publishers has published some data on this.

As you can see from the chart above:

  • the US book industry is healthy and growing
  • Although audiobooks make up a smaller share of the book market, their share is growing.
  • hardback and softback book sales still dominate the US book market.

In short, this is a helpful overview contextualize where the sale of audiobooks falls in relation to other formats.

But we can also drill down further into audiobook sales format growth in recent years as I’ll do in the next section.

Audiobook Sales Growth from 2020 to 2021


As you can see in the above graphic from Statista, audiobooks as a percentage of total book sales in the US grew by 2.4% from 2020 to 2021.

In fact, audiobooks were one of the largest positive growers as a percentage of total book sales!

In the next section, we’ll look at another way to think of the growth of audiobook consumption in the US.

Percentage of US Adults Who Say They’ve Read a Book in the Past 12 Months by Format

% of US Adults Reporting Reading a Book in the past 12 months by format

So how is audiobook consumption growing in relation to other formats?

Pew Research has done some annual polling of US adults asking them to report on whether they consumed any books in the past 12 months.

As you can see in the graph above, overall book consumption may have declined slightly since 2011.

Coupling this with what we know about growing book sales from above, this may mean that fewer adults are reading books, but perhaps those who are reading are reading (or at least purchasing) more books.

Regardless, as you can see in the graph of the pew research data, audiobook consumption is growing and approaching e-book consumption levels.

In other words, more and more US adults are reporting having consumed an audiobook in the past 12 months.

And as of 2021, about 23% of US adults report having consumed an audiobook in the past year.

So what are the demographics of these audiobook consumers?

I’ll explore that in the next section.

Audibook Consumer Demographics

In that same Pew Research study, they gathered data related to age groups and the percentage of various age groups who had consumed an audiobook in the year leading up to February, 2021.

I’ve put this data in the graph above.

In short, you can see that approximately 30% of those ages 18-29 had listened to an audiobook in the year leading up to February 2021.

And, that percentage drops off for older age groups.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this format of book consumption is most popular with younger generations.

Where do people listen to audiobooks?

where people listen to audiobooks

Audio is unique in that it’s particularly conducive to multitasking.

So unlike reading a book, you can listen to an audiobook and do plenty of other things.

According to data from Edison research presented by Statista above, the split of those listening to an audiobook at home versus in their car was about the same in 2020.

But because of Covid reducing commutes and overall time in the car, listeners at home shot up in 2021.

Audiobook Statistics Summary

To summarize some of the audiobook data shared in this post:

  • Audiobook consumption is a growing portion of a growing book industry in the US.
  • That said, listening to audiobooks is most popular among the younger generation ages 18 – 29.
  • And because audiobooks can be listened to on the go, a significant portion of audiobook listeners consume these books in the car.

As an audiobook listener myself, I’d also say that the voice acting that goes into audiobooks is very important.

I don’t have any concrete data to back this up, but I know that a bad voice actor can ruin the audiobook experience.

And on the other hand, great voice actors can make an audiobook almost as engaging as a movie or other media experience.

If I were in the audiobook industry, I’d look into creating immersive audio experiences with great voice actors and high-quality sound effects.

Audiobook Statistics: Conclusion

I hope I have shared some useful data in this article.

And if you want to read more about book-related data on this blog, check out:

Or, if you have more questions about audiobook data, let me know in the comments!

I don’t know if I’ll be able to help.

But I’d love to try!

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