The future of the audiobook market is wide open because it is device independent.
The Case for Going Wide with Audiobooks (and not exclusive with Audible)
Let me jump right to a real-world example:
- I buy ebooks on Amazon because I have a Kindle.
- I borrow audiobooks through the library (using Hoopla or Libby or Overdrive) if they’re available.
- I buy audiobooks through Amazon if they have Whispersync for Voice because I can flip back and forth between the ebook and the audiobook.
- I buy individual audiobooks on Audible (and don’t pay the monthly subscription) when it’s not available on Whispersync for Voice.
- I would buy audiobooks through à la carte pricing on a store such as Google Play if it cost less than Audible.
In many countries (but mainly the US, UK, Australia, etc.), Amazon has almost a monopoly on the ebook market. In those same countries, Audible (a company of Amazon) also has a huge market share of the audiobook industry.
Amazon has millions of books and that’s attractive to readers. Readers are also used to the Amazon marketplace and how it all works (One-Click Purchase) etc.
But the audiobook market is different. This is why I see the audiobook market as more “open” than the ebook market:
I don’t need a special reader to listen to my audiobook.
I just need my phone. Sure, I need to download an app, but then I’ll have the audiobook and, ideally, I just paid a one-time price for it. I could also do a subscription (with Audible, Playster, Storytel, etc.). Yep, I’ll need to hand over my credit card.
Maybe after a while, I have audiobooks in different apps. Is that a pain? Well, I suppose I’d like them all in one place. Oh, I know: how about I just group my apps together on my phone:
- Kindle (Whispersync for Voice)
- Google Play
Get the idea?
With ebooks, I’m limited to my Kindle. Sure, I could buy a Kobo reader (OK, fine, I actually have a Kobo reader, too … but that was to get my son books in Dutch which weren’t available on the Kindle), but I’m probably not going to shell out another $100 for another ereader.
But if it’s just a question of an app download?
If that’s the path of a potential audiobook listener, as an author, are your books available where the listeners might find them?