The Podcast | Let Us Tell You A Story

Along with having over 60,000 audiobooks to choose from at, we now bring you a weekly show to give you the stories behind the books. Your hosts, The Real Brian and Addy, interview your favorite authors, narrators, audiobook lovers and keep you in the loop of what’s hot. Never miss an episode by subscribing to the show and download the free app at today!
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The Podcast | Let Us Tell You A Story

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Oct 6, 2015

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It’s officially Autumn! Grab a pumpkin spice latte, queue up an audiobook, and breathe in the sweet scents of the season. But before all that, we have a great installment of the Podcast to share with you. This week we had the opportunity to speak with Michele Cobb, the executive director of Audio Publishers Association (APA) and owner of MLC Consulting, a PR, sales, marketing and business development service for the publishing industry.

With an extensive background in directing and entertainment, Michele brings a unique perspective and knowledge set to the podcast, sharing insight into the demographics of audiobook listeners today as well as why audiobooks have seen an increase in popularity over the past decade. Once again, we get to hear about the power of audiobooks to entertain and educate and how they are becoming a vital tool in our society.

Listener Demographics

As the realm of audiobooks expands, it’s interesting to see how the core demographic of audiobook listeners also fluctuates. Michele presents us with some observations from a recent consumer survey that captures a snapshot of the current listener base and in addition to seeing that audiobook listening is on the rise, also sees that listenership is increasing amongst younger audiences. While the typical expectation is that the dominant listener base is in the 45 and up range, they are seeing significant growth among listeners in the 25 to 45 range.

Based on other statistics and observations Michele provides, it’s becoming easier to see why there is increasing growth in this area. Not only are audiobooks becoming more widespread, not only are they better produced and better funded, but they’re also becoming more accessible. In the last five years we’ve seen the creation of smartphone apps and the availability of borrowing digital audiobooks from a library, both which cater to that younger audience.

Building the Industry

If you’re reading the show notes for this podcast, we assume, at a minimum, that you are aware of the existence of audiobooks. But possibly a more accurate assumption is that you are more invested than most in the lifecycle, health, and growth of audiobooks. For as much as we love audiobooks here on the podcast, it’s amazing to think that many people don’t know about their availability and ease of access. But that is still the case in many cities around the United States!

Last summer, APA kicked off its largest consumer awareness campaign in the form of an AudiobookMobile designed to draw attention to the audio format of books and introduce listeners to the medium. Michele said that this campaign was both fun and informative, as it provided a unique opportunity to engage with people in local libraries about the benefits of audiobooks and their place in education, not just for entertainment purposes.

In addition to raising awareness, APA is also concerned with the internal health of narrators, publishers and authors. For the last several years, APA has sponsored a conference, the Audiobook Publishers Association Conference, which is dedicated to networking and education its members. The conference is their opportunity to have the face to face interaction with one another to discuss best practices, to hear insights from other people in the industry, and come into a common mind about the direction of the industry.

In Queue

Michele shares a couple audiobook suggestions with us before signing off! Her favorite audiobook, she says, is Blindness by Jose Saramago. This book is narrated by Jonathan Davis and runs 12 hours and 30 minutes. The uniqueness of this book, Michele says, is that it has very little punctuation and can be very difficult to read. But Davis, the narrator, does a very good job at bringing it to life.

Recently in her queue is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, a work of historical fiction and romance originally published in 1938. This book is narrated by Anna Massey and runs 14 hours and 15 minutes.

What’s in your queue?

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Books & Resources Mentioned

Blindness by Jose Saramago

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Audio Publishers Association

Sound Learning from APA

Connect with Michele Cobb

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