Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

9,000 New Audiobooks in 2006

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

9,000 New Audiobooks in 2006

Article excerpt

Bowker today released the first comprehensive statistical portrait of U.S. audiobook publishing, which found that even as spoken word audio becomes increasingly available in 21st century formats like downloadable digital files, publishers and customers alike continue to favor 19th and 20th century guilty pleasures like mystery and detective novels.

According to Bowker, 8,970 new spoken word audio titles were published in 2006, down from the most recent five-year average of 10,900. Since the introduction of the spoken word audio format, a grand total of 202,111 audiobook titles have been released and 40 percent of those titles (79,038) have been published since 2000. There are over 3,000 audiobook publishers in the U.S., with Brilliance, Random House, Blackstone, Recorded Books, BBC America, and Simon and Schuster accounting for most of the new releases.

Adult fiction titles classified as mystery and suspense were the most popular spoken word audio category, with almost five times the number of releases as romances, science-fiction, fantasy and Westerns. Overall, adult fiction was the No. 1 category in spoken word audio, accounting for 53 percent of all classified new releases in 2006.

Juvenile literature, a bellwether category in both print and spoken word audio, was the second most popular category, accounting for 14 percent of new titles. Following juvenile literature was religious and inspirational with 12 percent, and then business and economics, biography, health and fitness, psychology, political science, and new age, all with less than 10 percent.

Based on a review of industry data from 2004-2006, Bowker also reported:

* Downloadable digital audio is the fastest-growing spoken word audio format, but CDs are still king, accounting for 49 percent of all new audio releases. …

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