Friday, November 03, 2006


Audiobooks - sold on CD as MP3s - are a growing part of the publishing trade. John Morrison's extensive survey of the audiobook market, and what it means for writers, first published in the Writers' Guild of Great Britain's magazine, UK Writer, is now online.
For the BBC, the biggest download hits so far have been the mainstream works of PD James and Bill Bryson. Philip Nixon of Spoken Network says that in his view over-45s are the key market. “This is why publishers are excited,” he says. “There are new sub-groups coming into the marketplace who are not traditional audiobook buyers, but now have broadband.”

So it’s not the impecunious Napster generation but the time-poor, cash-rich generation between 30 and 50 who are going to be the new customers. “Listening is fundamentally a background experience,” says Jonathan Korzen of Audible. “Your eyes are busy but your mind is free, so you can listen while you’re out walking or weeding the garden.”

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