22 Important Canadian Audiobook Sales Statistics for 2021

If you enjoy reading, you must have heard of audiobooks. Audiobooks are recordings of books that you can listen to on your phone, tablet, or PC. They’re great when you’re on the go.

Audiobooks are an excellent way to get fully immersed in a book, and they can even help with improving reading speed, pronunciation, comprehension, etc. If you’re curious to learn more, take a look at our list of Canadian audiobook sales statistics, where you can discover many exciting facts concerning the audiobook industry.

Top 10 Audiobook Sales Statistics for 2021

  • 80% of newly commissioned audiobooks of Canadian novels are being produced in Canada.
  • The audiobook market was worth around $3.28 billion in 2019.
  • Audible is one of the most prominent players in the audiobook market.
  • The average Canadian audiobook listener is 25–34 female.
  • The average audiobook length is 11 hours. 
  • Only 4% of people listen to audiobooks daily.
  • People above 65 listen to audiobooks the least.
  • Most people listened to five books or less in 2018.
  • Matthew McConaughey made it to the top of the audiobook best-sellers list in 2021.
  • Only 1% of Canadians listen to an audiobook through a subscription service.

Noteworthy Audiobook Facts

The section below offers the most fascinating facts about audiobooks and the overall audiobook market. Without further ado, dive right in!

1. Audiobook use statistics show the majority of people listen to audiobooks while on the road.

(Great Work Life)

A recently conducted survey asked 1,000 media experts, business experts, and knowledge workers about their audiobook habits. The results showed most people listen to audiobooks while driving, commuting, or when going on a road trip (31%). In 25% of the cases, people listened to audiobooks while doing DIY projects or housework. Exercising landed third on the list with 18%.

2. The audiobook market value was around US$2.67 billion ($3.31 billion) in 2019.

(GlobeNewswire)

The market has been slowly growing, and the audiobook market size is expected to expand further at a CAGR of 24.4% from 2020 to 2027. The market size value for 2020 was US$3.3 billion ($4.09 billion), and experts expect the value to reach almost US$13.45 billion ($16.67 billion) by 2027.

3. Audiobooks are 11 hours long on average.

(Author Learning Center)

The average audiobook length is around 100,000 words long. This number translates to about 11 hours of narration (55 words a minute, 9,300 words an hour). Typically, the audiobook length determines the audiobook’s price. To illustrate, a 10–20-hour-long audiobook can cost anywhere between US$20–30 ($24.79–37.18).

4. Audible is one of the most prominent players in the audiobook market.

(Grand View Research)

Besides Audible, companies like Amazon and Apple have a big chunk of the audiobook market share. They are the dominant players on the world stage of audiobooks. Companies like RBmedia, Google, Rakuten, and Playster are also among the top audiobook providers. All these companies are constantly upgrading their features to stay in the game.

Audiobook Sales Statistics for Canada

It’s high time we looked into the standing of the entire audiobook industry. Read on to learn about the most popular audiobook channels, the number of publishers in Canada, and much more.

5. The Canadians interest in Audible audiobooks from Amazon waned in recent years.

(Statista)

The available data in regards to the percent of e-book sales vs. audiobook sales on Amazon shows that Audible/Amazon was the leading channel for getting audiobooks in 2016 and 2017. Namely, at that time, 70% of readers got their audiobooks from Audible and Amazon.

However, Audible’s popularity decreased dramatically in recent years. In 2020 only 33% of Canadians used Audible/Amazon as a source of their audiobooks due to the emergence of other audiobook-offering platforms.

6. YouTube became the most popular channel for getting audiobooks in 2020.

(Statista)

A 2020 online survey examining adult respondents indicates that YouTube’s popularity concerning audiobooks is on the rise. According to audiobook sales statistics for Canada, up to 37% of Canadians get their audiobooks through this channel.

7. The Apple platform was one of the most popular audiobook retail channels in 2017. 

(Statista)

Though Apple is a leader in the tech world, it’s currently not too popular with audiobook audiences. Namely, only 13% of Canadians got their audiobooks through Apple’s iTunes and iBooks in 2020. These numbers were higher in 2016 and 2017 when 44% and 47% of audiobook users chose Apple as their audiobook provider.

8. Audiobook sales in Canada saw a slight increase in 2019.

(Booknet Canada)

Recent data suggest that more and more Canadians are turning to audiobooks. Namely, in 2018, audiobooks made up only 3.6% of all book purchases in Canada. This number rose to 5% in 2019. Consequently, this increase came with a decrease in hardback sales—hardbacks accounted for 24% of all book purchases in 2019, and 25.9% in 2018.

9. The number of audiobook purchases may be underreported.

(Booknet Canada)

Some audiobook listeners acquire their audiobooks through subscriptions rather than directly purchasing them. Audiobook sales statistics indicate that 26% of all audiobooks in 2019 were acquired through subscription services. Readers often don’t report these books as purchases due to the way they are obtained.

10. A growing number of publishers are making audiobooks in Canada.

(Booknet Canada) (Statista)

A 2017 survey reported that 61% of Canadian book publishers recorded audiobooks that year. This number represents a significant rise in comparison to 2015 when only 16% undertook that task. Additionally, Canadians enjoy listening to their audiobooks from the largest audiobook publishers like Audible, iTunes and iBooks, Scribd, Audiobooks.com, etc.

Statistics on Audiobook Demographics 

Do age and gender define one’s likes and dislikes when it comes to audiobooks? Read on to learn about the demographics of Canadian audiobook listeners.

11. The average audiobook listener in Canada is a woman between the ages of 25 and 34. 

(Booknet Canada)

The household income of the average listener is between $50,000 and $75,000. She finds her audiobooks on Amazon or YouTube and gets audiobooks for around $5 after listening to a sample. Fantasy novels and memoirs are among her preferred genres. The average reader’s profile was generated using the results of a 2018 survey examining over 400 Canadian audiobook listeners.

12. People above 65 listen to audiobooks the least.

(Booknet Canada)

Audiobook demographics show that only 5% of people from the 65+ age group listened to audiobooks in 2018. This number amounted to 4% in 2016 and only 2% in 2014. The 55–64 age group came close to these numbers, with only 11% of respondents listening to audiobooks in 2018. The numbers were lower for 2016 (8%) and 2014 (10%).

13. Only 1% of adult Canadians listened to audiobooks through a subscription service.

(Booknet Canada)

Audiobook purchase statistics show that 31% of the 1% got their audiobooks through Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited. Audible was the second most popular choice, with 27% of listeners getting their audiobooks there, while Audiobooks.com landed in the third spot with 19% of users choosing them as their favourite audiobook provider.

Statistics on the Audiobooks’ Largest Service—Audible

Statistics point to a drastic decrease in the platform’s revenue in the first two quarters of 2021. In the section below, you will get to learn the ins and outs of the current financial standing of Audible and what the future seems to have in store for the platform.

14. Audible revenue dropped in the first two quarters of 2021.

(ZoomInfo)

The company generated revenue of over US$822.3 million (around $1 billion) in the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2020, making 2020 a good year for Audible. Their revenue for the first two quarters of 2021 is approximately US$637.7 million ($786.82 million).

15. Matthew McConaughey’s “Greenlights” got to the audiobook best-sellers list in 2021.

(Audible)

This Hollywood actor’s seven-hour-long memoir was the best-selling audiobook at one moment. The novels “My name is Anton” by Catherine Ryan Hyde and “A Gambling Man” by David Baldacci were also wildly popular among audiobook audiences. Interestingly, all three audiobooks cost less than US$40 ($49.24).

16. Audible offers many deals with different promo codes.
Audiobooks are a frugal readers best friend.

(SFGATE) (Telegraph)

If you’re an avid audiobook listener on a budget, keep your eyes open for upcoming Audible sales and various deals since they can save you a pretty penny. Promo codes and memberships are also a great way to save money. For example, becoming a Premium Plus member allows you a 30% discount on books.

Additional Statistics on Audiobooks

Canadian users do have their preferences when it comes to audiobooks. Read on to learn what tickles their fancy.

17. E-audiobook borrowing went up in Toronto in 2020. 

(CBC)

CBC News reports that alongside Toronto, Kitchener and Ottawa also saw a 30% rise in e-book and e-audiobook borrowing in 2020. An audiobook sales report suggests that the reason for the Canadians’ sudden rise in interest in this type of books may be coronavirus-related.

18. 80% of newly commissioned audiobooks of Canadian novels are being produced in Canada.

(CBC)

The boom in the Canadian audiobook market is doing wonders for Canadian actors. What’s more, the Amazon-owned giant, Audible, pledged $12 million for new content in 2017. Audible plans to borrow the voices of famous actors for the classics of contemporary literature. Through this, they hope to increase audiobook popularity among university-educated women.

19. You can listen to Trudeau narrate on Audible.

(Audible)

Audible market share comes as no surprise with big names making a cameo on the platform. Notably, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, narrated the foreword of his own 2014 memoir “Common Ground.” The rest of the prime minister’s book was narrated by the American-born Canadian actor, Colm Feore.

20. A Harry Potter audiobook can keep you alert while driving, interesting audiobook facts reveal.

(Global News)

Lana Trick, a  psychology professor from the University of Guelph, set out to discover the factors contributing to drivers’ performance. She focused on finding “good distractions” that would enhance one’s driving and found audiobooks could be beneficial. She used Harry Potter books as the background noise, since they are exciting, but don’t require too much attention to listen to.

When comparing the performance of drivers who drove in silence with the performance of the ones who listened to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, she concluded that some drivers from the latter group benefited from the background noise, since it kept them alert. 

21. Only 4% of people listen to audiobooks daily.

(Booknet Canada)

The survey respondents pointed out that most of them go through phases in which they listen to lots of books, followed by the phase in which they abstain from audiobooks. Furthermore, audiobook sales statistics for Canada reveal that 7% of people listen to audiobooks weekly or several times a week. About 9% do it 1–3 times in a month, while 15% reach for an audiobook less than once a month or less. Around 64% of respondents stated that they never listen to audiobooks or do so rarely.

22. Most people listened to five books or less in 2018.

(Booknet Canada)

In 2018, 55% of survey respondents stated they read only five books (or less). This number is higher in comparison to 2014 (38%) and 2016 (46%). Around 24% of respondents said they listen to between 6 and 10 audiobooks per year, while only 11% listen to approximately 11–15 audiobooks.

Conclusion

The benefits of audiobooks are undeniable and far-reaching. Audiobook sales statistics show an increase in readers’ interest in audiobooks, therefore, it is reasonable to assume that audiobooks will become even more popular in the years to come.

If you enjoyed our audiobook stats, you might also enjoy reading these comic book industry statistics.

FAQs

Are audiobooks as good as reading?

Though some people perceive listening to books as cheating (because you’re not actually reading words off a page), science disagrees. A 2016 study proved that listening to audiobooks is no different than reading physical books.

The benefits of audiobooks are plenty. You may enjoy and learn more about the book through the speaker’s intonation.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide if you prefer a traditional book over an audiobook.

(Time)

How many books are on Audible?

As of 2021, Audible has over 200,000 audiobooks. They are arranged into various categories and subcategories, such as Arts and Entertainment, Biographies and Memoirs, Business and Careers, etc. Additionally, they offer a great selection of children’s audiobooks.

(Become A Writer Today) (Audible)

How long is the average audiobook?

On average, audiobooks can provide about 11 hours of solid entertainment. However, it takes much more time and effort to produce a complete audiobook. The recording may last anywhere between 44 and 66 hours.

(Author Learning Center)

What are audiobooks?

An audiobook is an audio recording of a book. A narrator records the book reading aloud, which eventually becomes an audiobook that you can enjoy through your preferred device.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

How much data does listening to an audiobook use?

The amount of data you will spend on an audiobook depends primarily on the book’s size and sound quality. A standard-quality audiobook will use 14–15MB per hour, while a high-quality version will use double the amount—30MB per hour.

(decoline-shipping)

How long is a 300-page audiobook?

The average book page is about 250–300 words long, and the average audiobook narrator produces about 9,300 words an hour. In other words, it would take around eight hours to go through a 300-page long (75,000 words) audiobook.

(ACX) (Meg Cabot)

What percentage of book sales are audiobooks?

Audiobooks made up 3.6% of all book sales in Canada in 2018. There was a slight increase in 2019 when they reached 5%. These numbers are still relatively low, but experts predict that the numbers will continue to rise in the future.

For the sake of comparison, hardcovers accounted for 24% of all book sales in 2019.

(Booknet Canada)

How many audiobooks are there?

While the total number of audiobooks worldwide remains unknown, the number of books released by the most popular publishers is not a mystery. Audible offers 200,000 titles, Downpour provides 80,000, while Librivox has over 50,000 audiobooks available.

According to audiobook sales statistics, audiobooks are increasingly gaining popularity, which means that more and more books will be available every passing day.

(Downpour) (AppleApps) (Become A Writer Today)

Sources:

Ema is an ESL teacher (who is highly curious about technology in education) and a content writer. She enjoys writing on all sorts of subjects and she loves a good challenge. When she’s not working, you can find her reading a mystery thriller or watching “Shutter Island” for the umpteenth time.

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