Audiobook Sales Are On The Rise, But eBook Sales Are Dipping

Have you heard? Audiobook sales are on the rise as eBook numbers are falling. This information probably won't affect your reading and listening habits, but, if you're a book-listener living in a rural area or book desert, it's possible that the surging popularity of audiobooks will make them more readily available in your libraries.

Ebooks have become more expensive since publishers negotiated with digital retailers, such as Amazon, for the right to set their own prices. Ebook sales fell 21.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016, but digital reading wasn't the only category to take a hit in book publishing this year. Also down were sales of adult (10.3 percent) and children's (2.1 percent) books and hardcovers (8.5 percent).

Paperback and audiobook sales are thriving, up 6.1 and 35.3 percent respectively. The New York Times attributes the rise in paperback sales, in part, to the release of Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train , which "sold two million copies in just over four months," following a January release.

If the drop in print and eBook sales has you scared, don't fret. Low first quarters are common, simply because that period is sandwiched between the holiday season and the spring publishing boom. And although book sales are down 2.7 percent overall compared to the first quarter of 2015, that's likely due to the slow death of the adult coloring book fad, not the end of books as we know them.

Image: Sai Kiran Anagani/Unsplash