Audio books are the fastest growing segment of book publishing these days, averaging a growth rate over the past three years of more than 30 percent each year. Audio books remain a very small part of the overall book market, but as an independently published author, you should consider whether it makes sense to move into that format. With ebook sales stalling, experts believe offering an audio version of your book would position you for greater sales.
That said, audio books are not inexpensive to produce, and are expensive to purchase relative to ebooks. We’re exploring producing audio books for several of our clients right now. Surveys show the genres that sell best as audio books include mysteries, thrillers, romance, and fantasy/science fiction. These are also the best-selling genres among ebooks. Retailers and publishers say listeners love to follow a central character through varying narratives. Think Kinsey Milhone of Sue Grafton’s best-selling alphabet detective series, or Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
Here’s a good blog post on audio book production written by Karen Commins, a voice artist. The most popular audio book production company is Audiobook Creation Exchange, or ACX. You can read more about the process and potential costs on its website.