The New York Times reported in January 2022 that book sales go up during the first year of the pandemic, with 13% of sales increase from January to November of 2021 compared in 2020, according to the Association of American Publishers.

Audiobooks expected to rise over 25% in 2027, as publishing industry estimates. Audiobooks have gained in popularity in the last three years since the global pandemic and lockdowns that has increased people’s eagerness for audiobooks. 

 

The Publishing Industry

Some of the world’s major publishers have invested millions of dollars to set up audiobook recording studios and signup voiceover narrators to speed up production, as reported in Publishersweekly.com. This resulted to 18% increase in the number of new audiobook titles that have released in 2019 over 2018.

Another factor that has contributed to the rise in audiobook sales is translating/dubbing an audiobook into several languages.

 

Publisher Chooses a Celebrity Narrator 

Well-known or highly skilled voice artists can drive sales, but the narration of a star-studded narrative team production costs can grow more rapidly. Consequently, publishers do not have to use big-name narrators.

 

Big Team Involved

In addition to narrators, audiobook recording requires a professional team of people and other behind-the-scenes crew members.

  1. Rights holder

The author or a publisher.

  1. Producer 

The project manager who coordinates the project from start to finish — casting narrators, scheduling the recording studio, and working with the rest of the crew.

  1. Director

Would have an artistic vision that enhances the book. He assists the narrator in choosing character voices and acting as he knows the story well, highlight all the moments, and mark words for pronunciation research.

  1. Sound engineer

Oversees the technical side -- chooses the microphone, sets the volume, runs the hardware and software controls. Creates the soundtrack by cutting and coordinating sound elements such as wild tracks, dialogue tracks, and foley sounds in analog audio or digital audio formats and present these to the re-recording mixer for final sound balance.

  1. Audio auditor

Processes all audio files in the book to harmonize sound and pleasant to hear.

  1. Proof listener

Ensure that the narration matches the text exactly.

One element that scales the production process is that audiobooks require a perfect and accurate narration—which is incredibly challenging to deliver over hundreds of pages.

 

The Cost of Audiobooks Are Related to Production Cost

With the higher cost of production, making a profit on audiobook requires a higher selling price. It is not surprising that audiobooks are more expensive than other book formats.

The production team takes to deliver the final and perfect product to hear that contributes to the higher cost of audiobooks.

 

Audiobook Is More Like a Movie Than a Print or eBooks

Like a movie to user’s ears, audiobooks start with a script and require lot of preparation before production begins. Some audiobooks take up to 30 hours of preparation time prior production, according to The Guardian.

The voices, evolving characters, and sound effects, adds to an amazing experience which people enjoy. These elements make audiobooks more engaging, but also demand more time and effort, thus contribute to a higher cost product.

 

People move towards audiobooks over printed versions despite the cost

  • Good for mental health. As reported by the Audiobook Publishers Association and Edison Research, over 73% of audiobook users say that listening to audiobooks is relaxing and about 55% listen to audiobooks when they want time for themselves. 
  • More time to read. Audiobooks help people finish a book faster and pick up another book quicker while doing other chores like walking or running
  • A great way to get the information and be entertained. Most people managing work and family find listening to audiobooks is a challenge on their busy schedules, however, audiobooks make that simple. The world’s top tech companies and large publishers are moving toward the audiobook business as the industry is growing at a fast pace and measuring in billions of dollars in downloads.

Knowing the reasons why audiobooks are more expensive, featured audiobook apps or platforms to work with authors and publishers to provide promotions or discounts.