Since the launch of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) service in 2011– an Amazon service to easily record and publish audiobooks – Many blogs have been encouraging indie writers to get into the audiobook business. The main argument being that it’s an free source of additional income and new readership, since ACX takes care of all the audio hassle against a commission percentage.
ACX is only available for residents of the US, UK and Canada but other platforms like Find Away Voices offer similar services.
Publish an audiobook and make it to the audiobooks bestseller list with zero effort…literally!
The arguments for recording and publishing audiobooks on Amazon or other platforms are overwhelming, so imagine my surprise when I checked Kindle Ranker for Audiobooks categories and came up with the following results:
I assure you that my program is working fine. It’s just that there are 14 empty audiobook categories. Yes that’s right, not a single book in 10% of the total audiobook categories :
Most of these 14 categories are within the “Teens” subcategory, so if you have a book that fits any of these Audiobook categories, there is your chance to hit home run! Publish an audiobook and hit the bestseller status with no competition whatsoever. Isn’t that the dream of every writer?
Audiobooks present much higher income potential on Amazon
Besides the lack of competition in some sub categories, which should already convince you enough, the second point I want to make is about sales volume.
Check out the monthly estimated revenue of the Romance audiobook sub categories:
While Audiobooks in Romance reach a median sales volume of $178 000, books in the equivalent printed category only reach $54 000. That’s three times more revenue!
This is explained in part by the huge difference in price: $2.99 in average for a regular book in Romance against $23.95 for an audiobook. Before you drift away in a waking dream about all the cash you stand to make, keep in mind that royalties are calculated differently for audiobooks.
You can choose to pay the recording process upfront, record your own audio files to save money or delegate everything to ACX in exchange for a share of your royalties.
Therefore a higher sales volume does not necessarily mean a higher income. It all depends on how you published your audiobook.
Easily make it to the Kindle bestseller list when there is competition
Another interesting aspect of audiobooks is the lower sales threshold. Take the Contemporary romance from the earlier figure for instance. You need to sell 76 audiobooks a day to make it to the front page of the bestseller. In the printed category, you would need 7 times that number of sales, all for a lesser payout. What is there to think about?
So to recap this very brief and concise article, the three reasons to jump into the audiobook publishing business are:
- Absence of competition in 10% of the categories (14 to be exact).
- Bigger sales volume, 2 to 3 times equal to the regular Amazon book categories.
- Lower threshold to make it to the Kindle bestseller list and thus lower marketing expenses.
Keep in mind that the audiobook movement is slowly gaining popularity. 35 bestseller lists are almost entirely composed of audiobooks released during the last 3 months. As a consequence the category’s volatility is a bit higher than usual. 4 to 5 new books enter/exit the bestseller list every 6 hours compared to 1 to 2 book in the printed equivalent categories. So hurry up and take your chance while you still can.
Again, all this data is available on the Kindle Ranker search page. They keyword to use is simply “Audible”.
Alex from KR