Arts & Culture

The Rise of Audiobooks and eBooks4 min read

The rise in sales of audiobooks and eBooks this year has been brought about by the biggest change in our lives.

The global pandemic has had a huge impact on the way we shop, the way we interact, and the way we read. With shops being closed, it is impossible for bookshops and booksellers to update their displays. Let alone keep on top of new releases. Amazon has been the obvious choice for most people. Although they don’t share their consumer data publicly, a lot of publishers notice most book sales coming through Amazon this year. There has been a drop in sales for print books compared to last year, and this has been replaced by digital formats. Audiobooks and eBooks have taken over the markets.

It’s not just having an impact on people who read for pleasure, but for students as well. Libraries are implementing more health and safety measures. For students not living near campus, access to e-books and other digital reading resources has never been more important.

The rise of audiobooks and eBooks this year is hard to ignore

For me personally, up until the pandemic, I was a die-hard print book reader. I was either purchasing them or accessing them through my local library. It was only earlier this year during the first lockdown I noticed my local library created an app where members can download audiobooks and e-books within the same time period as borrowing print books. Since this discovery, I have been able to save money, complete twice as many books as I normally would. I could still access all the latest titles.

In a way, it makes sense that people are utilizing audiobooks and e-books more. We are spending more time at home, and more time online. Reading is a fantastic and valuable form of escapism. What is more, this has never been more of a necessity than it is now.

The benefits of eBooks

Credit: Standard eBooks

E-books can be accessed through Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Microsoft Reader, Adobe Acrobat, and various other websites. A lot of the big publishers, like Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, are also making them available on their websites too.

They are more affordable than print books, easier to carry around, and save trees.

Additionally, they are more accessible. This is because the lighting of your device can be adjusted to suit your needs. On top of that, you are able to take notes and adjust the font size.

How do audiobooks compare?

Credit: Static Voices

Audiobooks arguably go a level up from e-books because you can do other things whilst listening to them. Even though a lot of us no longer have a commute to worry about, they can be listened to whilst exercising, walking, or traveling. So, it is incredibly convenient to multitask while reading a book.

Since I started listening to audiobooks, I have been able to read 4-5 books per month as opposed to my usual 2, so this is definitely a plus for someone like me who enjoys reading.

They can be accessed by subscribing to Audible, Storytel, or Scribd. Like e-books, some of the big publishers like Harper Collins and Hachette have audiobooks available on their websites.

Another advantage to audiobooks is the use of celebrity narrators. So it is a great combination of reading and following the journey of the story to the voice of your favourite celeb!

The figures

Credit: The Guardian

A recent article on The Guardian pulled up this year’s statistics. It shows a rise in both audiobook sales and e-book sales. The pandemic has unexpectedly boosted e-book sales, which were stagnating up until this year, and increased audiobook sales much higher than initially predicted.

What’s going to happen after the pandemic?

This still feels like a faraway thought, and it is difficult to predict. Publishers and industry experts believe audiobook sales will surpass e-books in the future. This seems plausible given that Spotify has recently created an Audiobook playlist. They clearly saw a demand in the market. It looks like print books will always remain on top, so us bookstagrammers and book lovers needn’t worry.

What kind of reader are you?

Are you one of the many who have switched to digital? Is this a permanent change or will you go back to print books as soon as possible?

If you are loyal to print books, like I used to be, and want to support local businesses during this difficult time, then check out bookshop.org.

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