The Future of the Book

Amazon Bets on Audio

By posted at 6:53 pm on May 26, 2007 1

Amazon made a small acquisition this week, picking up Michigan-based audio books publisher Brilliance Audio. The move shows the increasing potential for the audio format in this era of digital distribution — after all, you don’t see Amazon making an effort to buy any traditional publishing houses. And digitally distributed or not, sales of audio books are growing much faster than the industry as a whole. In 2006, sales of audio books were up 11.4%, while sales of all books were down 0.2%, according to the Association of American Publishers.

I suspect that the growing popularity of audio books has more to do with the proliferation of iPods and and two-hours-each-way commutes than any decline in appreciation for the written word. It’s also likely that in response to these trends there are more titles than ever available in the audio format. As someone who’s about to become a commuter after working from home for a while, I may soon join the growing percentage of the reading public who are audio book consumers.

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One Response to “Amazon Bets on Audio”

  1. Bryan Catherman
    at 5:42 pm on May 28, 2007

    I know audio books were a lifesaver when I was commuting. (I only wish the downloadable audio book from most public libraries could play on an iPod instead of being Windows Media Player only.)

    Sorry you have to become a commuter.

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