Sound Investment: Tap Into The $2 Billion Audiobook Market

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Cyan Zhong
Cyan Zhong



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Have you listened to an audiobook lately?

If so, join the club — you're part of the 38% of Americans who listened to an audiobook in the last year.

The market is turning up the volume as demand heats up:

  • Sector revenue grew to $2B in 2023
  • Over half of US adults (149m people) have tried an audiobook once
  • r/Audiobooks have 243k subscribers and growing

Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 7.54.10 PM

Source: Subreddit Stats

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The momentum behind the medium makes it prime time for entrepreneurs to get in on the action. Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. Focus on Discoverability

With so much new audio content flooding the market, discoverability is a huge challenge.

Some of the top questions in r/Audiobooks are recommendations, both for book titles and narrators.

There’s an opportunity to build a social app dedicated to audiobook aficionados. Let them help each other find new titles, share recommendations with friends, rate books and narrators, or become “influencers” by publishing their own playlists.

You can also make curated audiobook collections, like a monthly “mystery box” based on user preference and listening history. A subscription service would do well — 63% of audiobook listeners last year subscribe to at least one such service.

Alternatively, design an app that does audiobook synopsis and summaries for on-the-go learning, like Blinkist.

Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 7.55.09 PM

Search volume for “Microlearning”. Source: Google Trends

The microlearning angle will play especially well if you niche down to specific genres:

  • History/Biography/Memoir (+22% YoY)
  • Health & Fitness (+20% YoY)
  • Kid-friendly books (77% of parents say audiobooks give their children a break from screens)

2. Audiobook Recording Studio

There’s no denying that AI is crashing the audiobook narration party in a big way.

But before the machines fully take over, there are still authors and narrators lending their real voices to stories.

Why not create a cozy audiobook recording studio for rent?

Deck it out with a basic recording setup, a soundproof booth, and quality audio gear, then charge by the hour. Depending on location, you can charge $60 - $180 per hour.

Market your services to local voice artists, self publishers, and anyone looking to narrate or produce an audiobook affordably.

As part of your studio package, offer a vocal coaching service for an additional fee. Voice actor videos on TikTok racks up millions of views, indicating a high level of interest in learning the craft.

3. Audiobook-adjacent Experiences

Book clubs are as old as time. But modern audiobook clubs can go beyond a couch and a glass of wine.

You could start one with unique, member-exclusive events, such as:

  • A silent listening night that brings chilling horror novels or true crime stories to life
  • A prix fixe dinner inspired by the settings and cuisines of classic books
  • A “make your own audiobook in 48 hours” challenge where people form teams and compete, then organize a “screening” of the final products

Finally, what's an immersive audiobook experience without top-notch gear? You could make journals, worksheets, or snazzy headphones, and sell them to other audiobook club organizers to elevate their events.

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