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Women’s Media Group Focuses on Trends in Audiobooks: Audiobooks Are The Top Publishing Format of the Year; Smart Speakers Are The Next Space to Watch

September 12, 2018 4:21 PM | Shanta Speller

NEW YORK, NY (September 12, 2018) -  The Women’s Media Group hosted a panel,  ‘Leveraging Trends in Audiobook Publishing’ featuring audiobook leaders and pioneers including: Beth Anderson, Audible EVP and Publisher; Nita Basu, Senior Marketing and Publicity Coordinator, Hachette Audio; Amanda D’Acierno, President and Publisher, Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group; and Mary Beth Roche, President and Publisher, Macmillan Audio; moderated by Robin Whitten of AudioFile magazine.

Panelists: From l. to r.: Amanda D’Acierno, Nita Basu, Mary Beth Roche and Beth Anderson

“Audiobooks are here. I no longer have to explain what audiobooks are,” said Robin Whitten, who founded AudioFile magazine 25 years ago, as she introduced the panel. ”Audiobooks are the top publishing format of the year” she said, and cited an increase in both the number of audiobooks published, from 12,000 audiobooks published in 2012 to over 46,000 audio books published in 2017, and a 22% growth in sales dollars in 2017.

Panel Moderator: Robin Whitten, Audiofile magazine

“2 billion hours of audio were downloaded on Audible last year,” said Audible EVP and Publisher Beth Anderson. She added that “audiobook listeners are readers, they listen everywhere, and book consumption goes up after they join Audible.”

Asked where the next areas of growth and opportunity for audiobooks might be, Anderson said that smart speakers, meaning devices such as Alexa and Google Home, are an “exciting space to watch” and that she foresees growth in children’s books and in the international and global markets as well.

Mary Beth Roche, President and Publisher of Macmillan Audio, focused on the audiobook connection to podcasting. She said that listeners were “reintroduced to the spoken word by podcasting,” and that “podcasting can support authors and help to broaden an author’s platform.”

“When is it a podcast, when is it an audiobook? They're complementary - some audiobooks are now launched as podcasts” she said.

Panelists were asked about exciting new and forthcoming audiobooks. Books mentioned included memoirs from Michelle Obama, the Beastie Boys, Sally Field, Roger Daltrey, and a performance by Patti Smith.  

Mary Beth Roche was excited about the novels Baby Teeth by Zoje Sage, and The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, and gave away free audiobook download cards of the books to attendees of the luncheon.

Robin Whitten of AudioFile magazine is enthusiastic about her new podcast called ‘Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.’ The podcast is a different format for her for covering the world of audiobooks.  

Also mentioned was a Stormy Daniels memoir coming out next month, news of which had been announced on ABC’s The View earlier in the day.  The book, Full Disclosure, will be published by St. Martin’s Press.

Another audiobooks news item mentioned by the panel was that new Apple Watch will be audiobook compatible.  That news served to underscore an underlying theme of the luncheon, that the audiobooks boom is and will be taking place in all sorts of spaces - from phones to watches, to smart speakers to cars.


Wakelet Tweet Thread Created by Women’s Media Group Board Member Kathy Sandler of Penguin Random House - Contains More Photos and Quotes:


Additional Reading and Resources on Audiobooks:

Behind the Mic Podcast with AudioFile Magazine

AudioFile Magazine

The Audio Publishers Association







Susannah Greenberg
Susannah Greenberg Public Relations
646.801.7477 / publicity@bookbuzz.com

The Women’s Media Group, founded in 1973, is a New York-based nonprofit association of women who have achieved prominence in many fields of media. Its 250-plus members, drawn from book, magazine, and newspaper publishing; film, television, online and other digital media, meet, collaborate, inform and support one another as well as mentor young women interested in publishing careers. It seeks to advance the position of all women through the power of communication and media.

It provides a forum for networking, career development and advocacy. Activities include monthly meetings, seminars, cultural events. The group also runs a college fellowship for minority women.

WMG is proud of the accomplishments and diversity of its members and seeks to advance the position of all women through the power of communication and media.


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