The State and Future of Digital Audiobooks

Erica LazzaroErica Lazzaro is general counsel and director of publisher services for OverDrive, a global digital media distributor. She leads OverDrive’s licensing, content acquisition and business development efforts, helping booksellers and publishers worldwide find success with multichannel digital distribution. Lazzaro also works closely with OverDrive’s executive team on strategic relationships and has negotiated agreements with leading companies in the digital media industry.

Digital Book World recently released a white paper titled “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation,” which you can download here. The report offers an insider’s look at both the current state and the future of digital publishing, and is filled with interviews and articles.

Below is an excerpt from the interview we conducted with Lazzaro. To read the entire interview, please download the the white paper.

What’s the state of audiobooks and digital downloads of audiobooks?

As the leading distributor of ebooks and audiobooks to libraries and schools, we’ve seen a surge of interest and adoption of audiobooks in those channels over the past two to three years. We just delivered another record year of sales for our audiobook publisher partners and expect that trend to continue in 2016.

What kind of audiobook growth has the market seen, and what are some of the drivers for growth, now and in the future?

Usage and sales of audiobooks in our channels has outpaced ebooks. We can attribute this growth to a number of factors, including the shift to MP3, the industry standard, which increases ease of use and compatibility with nearly all devices. Another key driver is the addition of new publishers and new titles to the OverDrive catalog, broadening the availability of audiobooks across genres.

What does the industry need to consider when it comes to ensuring the successful future of audiobooks?

Libraries continue to prove their value as a key channel for discoverability and sales for publishers, and we believe that libraries position in the marketplace will only grow in importance in the coming years. It goes without saying that keeping pricing competitive and fair will also contribute to a successful future. Now that usability has largely been solved, we encourage the industry to continue to get the word out and promote the benefits and convenience of audiobooks, to expand the reach and to attract more new users.

The Digital Book World Conference + Expo is March 7th-9th in New York at the Hilton Midtown.

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