But I Am A Business Person…
I know, I know, all authors get all excited about audio books, and can quote the statistics about how it is the largest and fastest growing segment in the publishing world. And they would be right about the statistics. But as anyone who has ever taken a statistics class, those numbers can be used in all sorts of ways.
So let me give you some numbers, even real numbers in publishing seem elusive and difficult to get. Many reasons for this, not the least of which is that Amazon, the largest bookseller on the planet, does not release numbers. And traditional publishing often counts books shipped as a print run, not sold. Or even worse, books printed as sold.
So AAP estimates the following for 2019…
5.7. billion Paper sold worldwide
1.016 billion Electronic licensed
469 million audio books sold or licensed.
Notice the difference between the 6.7 BILLION and the 469 MILLION.
In the states, in 2018 there was an estimated 45,000 audio books produced.
In the states, in 2018, there was an estimated 675 million regular books produced.
Forbes estimates that in 2019 in the States alone there was an estimated one BILLION books sold.
And IBIS says that audio is about 5.8% of all books sold now.
WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN?
Basically it means that one out of every 18 readers will buy an audio book. More than likely the number is tipped to audio book consumers who buy a ton of audio books and most readers who seldom listen to even one.
Now I have nothing against audio books at all. If you can figure out a way to add audio books to your cash streams, cheaply, more power to you.
But for audio books, there is now a famous test put forth by professional writer Scott William Carter called the WIBBOW test.
Would I Be Better Off Writing?
When looking at the time and cost for the return on audio books, for me, the WIBBOW test always wins.
For indie writers, the cost is just crazy high for the small amount of income you will get in. Back to the numbers above as to why. Just not that many people buy audio in comparison to book sales in general.
And even if you can figure out how to record it yourself and produce it yourself, the time spent is massive.
So for that reason I shrug at audio books. If you want to waste your time doing them, and have enough time and money to do them right, more power to you. A nice small cash stream.
SO WHY THIS BLOG???
Because I have noticed a nasty trend. Younger career indie writers are able to figure out the general costs of audio books and doing them right, so they think “Why Not Do A Kickstarter” to raise the money to do an audio book?
For younger writers, just getting a $500 to $1,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund is difficult and requires some skill and luck. You need every backer you can get. Every one. And it needs to be focused on the book(s).
But you go plaster AUDIO BOOK in the title and make a big deal out of getting money for an audio book and you cut your backers more than in half.
And then you go and actually ask for the cost of the audio book instead of what your reality might generate and the campaign is doomed to failure every time.
I spend a vast amount of time on Kickstarter in the fiction section, just studying campaigns, and a large percentage of the ones who fall flat, don’t fund, or get cancelled in the fiction category are audio book focused.
It just seemed like a good idea at the time to the writer.
But no, audio books have very, very little interest to your normal readers. Back to the statistics at the top. Billions sold vs thousands.
So now I am climbing off my soapbox and let you go back to your weekend. And if I have saved one writer the work and time on trying an audio book kickstarter, the rant would have been worth it.