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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Audiobooks on CD Represent Majority of the Market, MP3 Audiobooks’ Share Miniscule

In a 2009 sales survey, Audio Publishers Association (APA) measured the growth and divisions of the one billion dollar audiobook industry. (Check out the survey results here.)

APA found that audiobooks on CD account for 72% of the audio market. And while the market share for downloadable content has increased at a noteworthy rate, audiobooks on MP3 discs have maintained a steady market share over the past few years at an unimpressive 1%.¹

On his blog, RickLibrarian cites an online AudioFile survey that found that the largest percent of audiobook listeners prefer audiobooks on CD.² And in a 2008 article entitled “A Rapidly Growing Electronic Publishing Trend,” Jan. J. Engelen cites the “the universal usability” of CDs as one of the major reasons audiobooks on CDs remain the popular choice for audiences. Additionally, Digital Rights Management (DRM) issues have made audiences, especially libraries, weary of the MP3 format: “In practice, however, DRM lead to quite a lot of customer frustration as it hindered copying in general or made it sometimes impossible to play the legally acquired files on a whole series of devices.”³

Because of its lack of market share and universal usability, CVS Midwest Tape doesn’t currently carry audiobooks on MP3. The demand does not yet exist, and with its sluggish growth, we’re not sure when it will. We’re always keeping our eye on the industry, though.

What’s your take on the MP3-disc format? What patron feedback have you received on the many audiobook formats?

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