Industry News Highlights

Check out the latest and greatest industry news – including audiobook, library, publishing, technology and digital highlights.


Audiobook News

The Publishers Association shows that sales of audiobooks have doubled in the past five years and British readers spent £10 million on audiobooks last year, a 25% rise from 2013.

Macmillan is piloting audiobook distribution to public library patrons via hoopla digital platform. Macmillan is the first Big Five publisher to get on Midwest Tape’s hoopla platform.

Podcasts have become increasingly popular (due to podcasts like Serial) and are a great starting point for those that are first-time audio listeners. We’re also starting to see more cross-over between traditional audiobooks and “audio entertainment.” Read on to see why audio stories are so captivating.

USA Today interviews award-winning audiobook narrators Katherine Kellgren and Eileen Stevens. They talk about their favorite character to narrate, current projects and more.


Library News

Detailed report on the 2015 state of America’s libraries, including, school, academic & public that highlights local issues & trends as well as national issues & trends.

Interesting stats on the largest public libraries in the US, both in size and collection expenditures, by holdings, by circulation and by visits.

President Obama is kicking off a new initiative called the ConnectED Library Challenge. He will start by going to a public library in one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods to talk about a plan to give low-income children access to 10,000 e-books.

We know that convenience is more important than ever – in an effort to support on-the-go digital reading, the Free Library of Philadelphia recently partnered with Drexel University to provide an iPad vending machine for students and local residents.

With the help of Smashwords for ebooks, Audible’s ACX as well as other self-publishing platforms, indie, self-published authors are able to create content faster. LA Public Library is now also offering a self-publishing service. Authors can submit unpublished books to the LA Public Library for possible inclusion. Library Journal sorts through the submissions and picks the ones that are approved for ebook creation.

Libraries are an integral part of communities. An example of how libraries bring people together was illustrated with Ferguson, Missouri. “When local schools were closed, the library became an “ad hoc school on the fly” where students were taught by “working and retired teachers” and other volunteers. Additionally, the library staff supported the children of Ferguson by circulating “healing kits,” which included books, stuffed animals and activities to help them cope with the unrest in their community.” More recently, Enoch Pratt Free Library committed to keeping their doors open during that city’s recent unrest, giving children a safe place to go while schools were shut down.

With the decline in brick and mortar retail stores, libraries are becoming more important and publishers should continue to embrace libraries. Librarians are trusted as book experts and merchandising in libraries is just as effective (if not more) than in retail stores.

In the Vancouver, Wash., school district, efforts to re-establish an identity in the digital space are being guided by Mark Ray, a librarian who has worked to transform the school library program from feeling outdated into one of the most exemplary programs in the US.

We love this blog post from our friends at PRH that highlights library listens and includes audio clips and a studio video with Jesse Bernstein, the narrator of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.


Publishing News

As if it weren’t exciting enough that Harper Lee is releasing a new book, it was recently announced that Reese Witherspoon will be narrating Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman!

Here’s a great look at the impact children’s sales have had on publishing. Last year, children’s sales grew in the US by 13%, in the UK, by 8%. In China, by 10%.

The cover for The Girl in the Spider’s Web was revealed a few weeks ago. (This is the unfinished manuscript left after Larsson’s death that was completed by Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz.)

Check out the 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalists!


Technology / Digital News

Good overview on a recent survey conducted by Nielson, including sales by format, sales by channel and device ownership of ebook buyers. You can see that hardcover and paperback sales are decreasing and ebook & eaudio sales are growing (no surprise there). It’s also interesting to see the significant increase in sales by device (Android purchasers went from 9% in 2013 to 33% in 2014).

This one has TONS of amazing data on reading habits of audio, ebook & print readers. Loved seeing the strong representation of audio in this survey, since it’s often an after-thought in surveys like this. This is part one of the Reading Habits Survey, more to come.

We are thrilled that Findaway has added 9,000 audiobook titles, via AudioEngine, from Penguin Random House Audio to its rapidly growing catalog of unlimited audiobooks. Penguin Random House Audio titles are now available via Findaway’s inaugural unlimited partner, Scribd.