Should Authors Publish Audio Books?

Many authors don’t see the value in audiobooks, especially self-published or independently published authors. They have already invested so much time and money into their book that they don’t want to invest anymore, especially for very little return.

But the truth is that audio books are on the rise. Audio books are now a billion dollar industry. With companies like Audible offering subscriptions, like Netflix does for movies and TV, and the access that people have to audio book devices, smartphones, the market has grown exponentially in the last few years.

The problem may lie with how we have viewed audio versions of books over the last several decades. When books on tape became popular you had to have a tape deck in your car or one at home to even be able to listen to a book. Then there was the price. Books on tape could be as high a $100. So most people rented them from libraries or subscription companies that would send the tapes by mail.

This is why books on tape dwindled off. They were too expensive for the average consumer and they were hard to come by and listen to, there would be multiple tapes that you had to carry around and switch out. But, audio books have evolved in huge ways since their inception.

Now all you need to listen to an audio book is a smartphone, and just about everyone has one of those. Purchasing an audio book is as easy as the tap of a button. You can plug your phone into your car’s stereo, your home stereo, or you can just listen with headphones while walking, or working, or working out. The price is a lot lower too. Most audio books are available for around $20 or you can pay a subscription with a company like Audible for as little as $14.99/month.

The cost to produce audio books has gone down as well. Equipment and software needed to record a good version of an audio book are much cheaper now than they were 10 years ago. This has resulted in professionals charging a lot less to record and produce an audio book.

The big thing to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to invest in an audio version of your book is your audience. Is your book targeted to moms? Whether they stay at home or work they are busy. They rarely have two hands available at a time. These women would benefit from having an audio version of your book that they could listen to while doing chores or cooking dinner. Is your target audience young professionals? Most of them commute and work 40 hours or more a week. They may not have time to sit down and read your book, but they have time to listen to it on their way to work or while running errands.

Your main goal is that your target audience receives your message in whatever medium works best for them. After listening to audio books, many people buy a physical copy because they liked what they heard and they want to be able to easily find the information again. Some people may even buy a bundle with the audio version and the ebook version together. This way they can listen to your book during the day and then pick up on their e-reader where the narrator left off before bed.

The figures don’t lie. People are buying and renting audio books. There is a huge market out there and with the right professionals and placement the audio version of your book will sell. You will see a return on your investment. You just have to find the right team and the right platform for you.

What has been your favorite audio version of a book? Share it with us in the comments section below.