First there was hardcover, then there was paperback, and now there are eBooks. Books are always evolving for the needs and desires of the readers. Along the way, somewhere on the side, the concept of audiobooks continued to grow. First on cassette tape, then CDs, they now exist in a digital form for audio only MP3 players and computers of all shapes and sizes.
With the growing popularity of eBooks, putting the effort and expense of also creating an audiobook may seem counterintuitive, but it's actually a great way to expand your reader base. There is a finite number of people who read books on a regular basis, and even Stephen King can only entice a certain percentage of them each time. The secret is in going out of the box (book) and touching those people who aren't regular readers. Who are these people who claim they never have time to read a book, even if they would like the opportunity? Audiobooks are a prefferred medium for many readers. People that listen to the spoken word may have problems with their eyesight or as described below just don't have the time. No matter the reasons why audiobook sales are growing and in 2013 reached $1.6 billion.
It's a tough world, economically, and millions of people are in a job that includes a long commute to work every day. For 30 to 60 or more minutes in the morning, and the same amount of time in the evening, they battle traffic, listen to the news or pop music, and get more stressed out every day. These people are your ideal fan base because, once they catch on to the idea of listening to audiobooks in the car, they'll want to do it every single week. Instead of being stressed out by the traffic or international news, they'll relax and even look forward to their commute as a time when it's just them and their stories with no interruptions. Audiobooks can turn commutes from necessary evils into "me time."
It's common to see people running on the road or using a treadmill in the gym with earbuds firmly in place. Usually they're listening to the latest pumped-up song hits, designed to add energy to their workout. Rhythm only goes so far, though, and the mind only connects so much when it comes to music. For those who work out to get healthy but don't necessarily love the process, anything that passes the time more quickly is a golden find. Once you get them to try a good audiobook they'll be hooked. Listening to music is pleasant and even energizing, but you can lose yourself in a book. They'll be done with their half hour on the treadmill before they realize it, all because they were caught up in what your characters were doing.
Are we there yet? Every parent's nightmare on a long commute or trip. Whether they have to travel daily to school or day care, or if they're simply taking a family vacation, parents need distractions for their kids. Audiobooks of their favorite chapter books are the ideal way to keep them quiet and interested until they reach their destination.
Audiobooks or audio books are here to stay and are an untapped source for new readers (maybe even pets?). Audio also provides a whole new slew of ways to market your book which we will delve into in more detail in a furture post!
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with you!