It's been pretty clear for a while now that Amazon is interested in building up the audiobook market, and today I learned that Amazon has taken another step towards that goal.
The German ebook blog e-Book-News.de reported earlier today that Amazon has a new best seller list on Amazon.de. Gone are the lists for Audible audiobooks and books on CD; both lists have been combined into a single list that includes all types of audiobooks.
This new list shows the standard 100 titles, and it can't be broken down into format. That effectively means the previous lists are simply gone, but that's okay. This new list answers some questions I have had about the audiobook market.
I don't know of any readily accessible data that compares the sales of the 2 types of audiobooks, but according to this list downloadable audiobooks are absolutely trouncing books on CD - in the German book market, at least. Of the top 20 best-selling audiobooks, 3 are sold in a physical format and the other 17 are sold as downloadable mp3s.
That is a useful data point on consumer demand that I did not have before. I had been told that sales of downloadable audiobooks were outselling books on CDs due to everyone having a mobile gadget or mp3 player,but this is the first time that I had clear data to support that claim.
Amazon appears to also be about to launch similar lists on their other websites, though it took a little bit of work to confirm that. The new combined audiobook best seller list on Amazon.co.uk was not mentioned with the rest of the best seller lists, and I found it only accidentally. That list shows that downloadable audiobooks are much more popular than books on CDs Amazon's UK website, with only 2 of the top 20 slots occupied by a book on CD.
And from what I can tell Amazon.fr only has a best seller list for books on CDs, even though the site does sell downloadable audiobooks.
Amazon.com is showing 2 separate lists, curiously enough. I know that Amazon has been pushing ebook in the Kindle Store, and it's clear that Amazon is selling both types of audiobooks from a single dept, but Amazon has not launched a combined bestseller list for audiobooks.
I can't see a reason why Amazon hasn't launched that combined list, but I expect them to launch it soon.
According to the AAP, the US downloadable audiobook market was worth $87 million in 2012, up about 19% from 2011. Past press releases show that sales of downloadable audiobooks have been growing by 20% and 30% for the past several years. Audible is believed to have a dominant share of that market, though there is no market data to back that up.