Lots of book news this week because of BookExpo America in New York this week. Audiobooks, in particular, are getting plenty of coverage because sales are down 20 percent and revenue is down about 5 percent. It’s not difficult to see why. It costs a lot of money to produce a mass market audiobook – one estimate puts the cost at $50,000. That translates into a retail price that can be higher than regular books and e-books.
I spend a lot of time in the car and used to listen to audiobooks quite a bit. That’s not the case anymore. A new audiobook would set me back over $20. That’s not serious competition to free podcasts and XM radio. The question: how much longer before audibooks as we know them will become a thing of the past?