Books Are Becoming More Popular While Reading is Fading Away as Audible and Headway See Incredible Growth

Writing and reading have been a part of human civilization for at least 6,000 years. In fact, some would say that civilization truly began with the written word.

In modern times, however, it appears that many are willing to replace a written word with a spoken one. In other words, reading books is starting to fade away, while listening to books is becoming much more popular.

Audible and Headway See Incredible Growth

Experts and data analysts drew this conclusion, but anyone can easily make it if they take a deeper look into the earnings of apps like Amazon’s audiobook arm, Audible.

According to App Store data, Audible earned $33 million of net revenue from the App Store in May 2023 alone, which represents a 1,500% increase since 2020.

Another report from June of this year pointed out that globally, audiobook revenue is projected to be worth over $5.38 billion as of 2022. Future projections appear to be even more optimistic for the audiobook industry, as revenue is expected to go up 26.4% every year between 2022 and 2030.


If the projections end up being correct, the audiobook sector’s revenue will reach $355.05 billion in 2030.

It would also mean that audiobooks are the fastest-growing book format in the world by a wide margin. In the US alone, audiobook revenue climbed to $1.81 billion in 2021, which represented a 3.43% increase compared to 2020.


This was the country’s slowest audiobook sales revenue growth since 2015. However, given the events and circumstances of 2020 including high inflation, it is likely that the uncertainty caused book enthusiasts to save their money or use it for purchasing supplies rather than audiobooks.

Even so, given that US audiobook revenue in 2015 was only $0.57 billion, and it increased to $1.81 billion by 2022, it is clear that this format is rapidly progressing.

Apart from Amazon’s Audible, Headway is also seeing increased use. Headway is an app that offers book summaries, and it reached a new peak of downloads in June of this year.

App Intelligence suggests that Headway downloads have seen a consistent rise over the years. As of January 2020, the app saw 150,000 downloads, but by June 2023, that number has grown to 1.4 million.

The data also suggest that the distribution of downloads is even between App Store and Google Play, meaning that iOS and Android users are downloading the app in equal measure. The rise of Headway and Audible signals that people still want the insights from books, they just don’t want to read them in full.

Is the Audiobook Sector About to Become More Competitive?

For the moment, the sector is not seeing a lot of competition. However, the recent increase in revenue and audiobook sales, paired with the new projections, could bring new providers into the space and offer competitors to Audible and Headway.

After all, Headway earned $44 million of net revenue on the App Store alone, and that is what the app gets to keep after Apple takes its share of the profits.

The writers and audiobook producers have noticed the increase, which led to a surge of audiobook titles published in 2021.

The year saw nearly 74,000 new titles, which is a 6% increase compared to the 2020 output. The most popular genres seem to be science fiction and fantasy, followed by mysteries, thrillers, and suspense as the close second. The romance category also saw the largest sales boost in 2021, with a revenue jump of 75%.

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