CONUNDRUM: Are you listening?

Those who listen to audiobooks are not necessarily the same people who read books. In other words, the reading audience is not necessarily the listening audience. To successfully position my audiobooks I must ponder this contrariety. I turned to the writers and authors I work with for advice. But they struggle with this same issue. ‘Are my readers going to be my listeners?’ And if not,‘how do I get listeners to find my audiobooks?’ As I search for answers I find a lot of information about how to make a great audiobook but very little about how to sell one.

Because I am ‘in business’ with so many of my authors through the Audiobook Creation Exchange (, understanding and successfully navigating this issue is imperative. The first step – identify my audience. Yet when I look around, it seems I hardly know anyone who listens to audiobooks. At least that I am aware of.

Which is interesting. CBS news, in August of 2013 reported audio books to be a $1.2 billion industry. So if that’s the case – where are all the listeners?

Are people in the closet about listening to audiobooks?Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.35.27 AM

Of course, anyone with ear buds could be listening to audiobooks… it doesn’t have to be Rhianna, aTEDTalk, or the latest from NTC.

The gym, grocery shopping, typing, driving, cleaning, surfing the net, gardening, biking, getting ready to fall asleep at night, filing, cooking, doing the laundry, washing the car, taking a nap, sun bathing, playing video games, having adult encounters,….

Wait a minute. Is everyone listening?

So, I decided to ask. And not only did I discover that a lot of people ARE listening to audiobooks, doing all kinds of things, just for the fun and relaxation of it, they are listening because it’s easier and requires smaller/less equipment AND because it’s fresh, new and different.

Also, and interestingly, the people I asked who didn’t currently listen, often asked me how to get started.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 2.05.51 PMSo I thought it would be fun to create a *questionnaire and orchestrate a survey. and try to formulate or quantify what’s really going on. Chalk that up to working with the eggheads at Caltech. It should be interesting information especially for those who create audiobooks or are considering creating one. We will keep you ‘posted.’

If you’d like to participate in the *survey, click here and send it back to (that’s Us!) and *we’ll give you a free audiobook! What’d ya think about that?


Our first survey is filled out by a female mid manager in finance. StorytellerProductions thanks her for her time and contribution. “You know who you are, ‘Missy’ !”Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 3.46.27 PM

(This initial form is a bit clunky – but we gotta start somewhere right?  Input welcome!)

How long have you been listening to audio books? Why do you listen to audio books? What started you listening? 

I’ve been listening since mid 2008. I started because I lost my vision in my right eye.

Do you also read? Which do you prefer?

I only read magazines once in a while. I now prefer listening.

How do you choose an audio book? What attracts you to an audio book?

Specific authors, sometimes narrators. I most often make choices of authors that I already know and like. Once I find an author I like, I try to listen to all of the author’s books. I sometimes choose from the recommendations makes.

Do you know others that listen to audio books? Do you talk about audio books with others?


Are reviews important?

Yes. I do read the review and will follow them depending on what they write.

What do you like about the idea of audio books?

The ease of listening while doing other tasks. The narrators can sometimes make the book more interesting.

Do you listen to the samples?

I don’t often listen to the samples.

Is audio book cover art significant in your choice or attraction to a book?


What is your impression of audio book narrators in general?

Very good.

Do you prefer male or female narrators? High voices or low voices? Straight narrations or character voices?

I don’t have a preference. I do like character voices.

What role does the narrator play for you? Are they important to your experience or just a messenger/a vehicle?

The narrator is very important. They compel me to listen.

How do you listen to your audio books? (Car, in bed, iPhone, tablet…)

iPod. In bed, doing tasks etc.

How often do you listen?


What kinds of audio books do you listen to – just one genre or do you experiment?

 I like fiction and historical fiction. Some non-fiction.

Where do you buy your audio books?

How and where does the concept of audio books fit into your world of entertainment?

Audio books play an important role in my entertainment.

Is there anything you’d like to see change about audio books?

Less expensive.

*Please only one survey per person. Audiobook supplies may be limited. Your identity will not be revealed without your consent.


One thought on “CONUNDRUM: Are you listening?

  1. It will be interesting to see how the survey ends up quantifying people and/or giving Storyteller and its authors ideas for telling more people about the books. In books and authors news, I’ve seen a lot of press lately about old and new books by big name authors coming out in audio. I didn’t see stories like that a few years ago and was mainly aware that audio books existed because of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain’s racks of books you could pick up in one location and turn in at another location. . .sort of like the Red Box videos dispensers. More people must be listening in their cars, etc than I ever would have expected.


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