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It's the written word that counts right? Who cares about audiobooks?

Right now audiobook sales are poised to overtake paperback book sales by the year 2023. At that point, eBook sales will have dropped to number three, after paperback book sales. So, if you are not thinking about turning your book into an audiobook, you are simply leaving money on the table.


Today, portable high-quality Bluetooth speakers are abundant. Almost everyone is listening to podcasts and audiobooks. As a matter of fact, 77 million Americans listened to an audiobook. In some surveys, audiobook consumers claim to listen to 15 books a year on average! Many readers now prefer audiobooks to any other format for book consumption.

As a result, the audiobook market is growing at a rate of 30% every year, which is nearly quadruple the growth rate for eBooks. Audiobook sales from 1 to 2.5 Billion a year over the last decade. On top of that, podcasts and YouTube videos are one of the fastest-growing and most effective mediums for selling books. Current data has these methods far outstripping social media and word of mouth as sales tools.

Why are audiobook such a big deal? Because you can listen to an audiobook in places you can't read a book. In your car, while you are walking the dog, and standing in line in the grocery store. Unlike radio, television, and even sporting events which have to follow a predetermined schedule, audiobooks are completely on-demand. Listen to it anytime you want and take a break anytime you desire.

But, more importantly, there is still an untapped market out there. For example, right now, only 21% of the smartphone audience listens to podcasts. many readers listen to podcasts about their favorite books and provide even more revenue to the author beyond just selling the book. What happens when the rest of the population joins that group? Do you really want to be left out of that untapped marketplace?

95% of all libraries also now offer materials to their patrons in the form of audiobooks. Books may someday disappear from libraries and bookstore shelves if they don't have an accompanying podcast with them.

Audiobooks started as cassette tapes in the 1970s, later they changed to CDs, but the current craze is for downloadable media, which represents over 61% of all sales. The number of tiles published as audiobooks is increasing at a rate of 20,000 tiles a year. We often find ourselves in a race to catch up to standards and embrace new waves, but with audiobooks, independent authors have the chance to be there ahead of the game.

The top-selling audiobook genres are:

  • History/biography
  • Mystery/thriller
  • Science fiction/fantasy
  • Romance
  • Business

Sound familiar? You can make audiobooks with as little as:

  • Good mic. Expect to spend $50-$100
  • Pop screen. Minimizes plosives (the "p" sound in "pop" or "pickle"). Expect to spend $5
  • GarageBand or Audacity; you'll actually record in these programs and they're free (Audacity) or already installed on your computer/iPad (GarageBand)

Professionally done audiobooks will run you about $225 per 10,000 words.


Amazon is a big book publishing room. Audible is owned by Amazon, and ACX is owned by Audible. ACX is to Audible audiobooks as Kindle Direct Publishing is to Kindle eBooks.

ACX hosts the audio files, book cover, and metadata for the audiobook just like Kindle Direct Publishing does for Kindle eBooks. Interestingly, ACX also distributes to iTunes.

There are other options out there for audiobook publication, but none as huge as ACX. It's worth mentioning the other options here to make sure we cover all options for audiobook publication, but it's also worth noting that you're going to have to choose a non-exclusive publication deal with ACX to go on any of these platforms. This means you will receive significantly lower ACX royalties.

The 3 big players are:

  • Overdrive
  • Audiobooks.com
  • Downpour

Overdrive distributes to libraries, which could be a good opportunity to get your audiobook distributed even more widely. However, Overdrive is very selective in choosing which authors to accept, and typically you're going to need at least a dozen or more audiobooks recorded to even get your foot in the door.

Audiobooks.com is in second place behind ACX in terms of audiobooks sales, but ACX is way out in the lead!

Downpour is another platform that's right behind Audiobooks.com in sales. Both of these platforms, however, are going to require you to negotiate a deal to be published on them, while on ACX you can simply upload your book and start selling audiobooks.


With ACX, they choose the price for you based on the runtime of your audiobook as follows:

  • Under 1 hour: $3.95 to $7.00
  • 1-3 hours: $7 to $10
  • 3-5 hours: $10 to $20
  • 5-10 hours: $15 to $25
  • 10-20 hours: $20 to $30
  • Over 20 hours: $25 to $35

This is right off of ACX's site and this is how they set prices.

Sound hard? Well, remember… Those that will not attempt, will only find the marketplace's contempt.





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