Do you prefer podcasts or audio books

Audiobook usageThe book by the way

The consulting firm Deloitte predicts an overall growth of 25% for the international audio book market - in 2020 alone. In Germany, titles for children and young people in particular rose by 36% and 17% in the access rate. Audiobook expert Linda Lee also blames changes in usage habits and access options.

Why are audiobooks so popular?

With the increasing spread of mobile devices, the use of audio books has also become easier. Whereas in the past you had to be near a record player or CD player to consume an audio book, today the smartphone is enough. Audiobooks are particularly popular among commuters. But an audio book can also be played on the side for cooking, exercising or working in the garden. "Today there are countless ways to integrate audio books into everyday life," says Linda Lee.

Streaming platforms such as Audible and BookBeat have also accelerated audio book growth. Lots of titles are available here at any time. According to Linda Lee, this also increases the likelihood of discovering new authors.

Are we less attentive to audiobooks than paper books?

You can't go back in the audio book. Linda Lee suspects that this is one of the reasons why genre literature such as mystery thrillers or romance novels are particularly popular as audio book titles. You can hear them - in comparison to sophisticated literature - better on the side.

The United States' Association of Audiobook Publishers has conducted surveys to determine that the age of audiobook consumers has decreased in recent years. The majority of listeners are now between 18 and 44 years old. Audiobook series are also particularly popular among children and young adults. Linda Lee observes a veritable devouring of audio book titles, similar to the so-called "binging" of TV series on Netflix.

Do audiobook listeners also buy books?

Book listeners and book readers were once two different types of consumers. There are numerous studies showing that audiobooks have no impact on the sales of printed books, says Linda Lee. However, she notes that models that promote a switch between the two media are now becoming increasingly popular. For example, the same buyer buys a title as an audio book and on paper because she wants to use both in different situations.

The audio book pioneer Audible, founded in 1995, also offers a function in this country, with which audio books and e-books can be purchased at the same time. You listen to the audio book in the car, then go into the house and continue reading on the tablet. Both book versions are compared so that you can always continue reading or listening where you left off. [*]

What developments in the audio book market should be observed?

Linda Lee mainly follows the parallel developments in the audio book and podcast market. Will they complement each other in the long run? Are podcast fans switching to audiobooks and vice versa? After all, both prefer auditory perception. Or will podcasts and audiobooks compete for the same listeners in the future?

Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt the statements of its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.



[*] Editor's note: At this point we have removed a sentence about a technical function that is not related to buying a book.