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Audible Has Sold a Million Harry Potter Audiobooks in the Past 4 Months

MW-CN812_harry__20140717152248_MGPottermore is beginning to reap the benefits of its decision to drop exclusive control of Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks last year.

Marketwatch reports that Audible has sold over a million audiobooks since the Amazon sub first got the audiobooks last November:

That revenue may be pocket change next to that of the some half billion print and e-book copies of the series sold world-wide. But the milestone is remarkable given that the seventh and final book in the series was released nearly a decade ago.

The figure works out to an average of roughly 8,300 customers a day downloading the audiobooks and popping in their earbuds to magically transform humdrum train commutes into rides aboard the Hogwarts Express, leisurely jogs into a frantic escapes from Dementors, and the muggle chore of sweeping the kitchen floor into the Quidditch World Cup.

“Other titles have reached a million downloads, but this was certainly the quickest ever to reach the milestone,” said Andy Gaies, Audible’s chief content officer.

It’s funny how going where the customers are can boost sales, isn’t it?

Lowering the price probably also had an impact somehow. The audiobooks are still available through Pottermore, where they cost $30 (for the first three) and $45 (the last four) and can be downloaded as un-DRMed MP3 files, but you can find the first three audiobooks in the Harry Potter series on Audible for $21 each, and the last four for $31.49 each.

You can also get the audiobooks for one credit from an Audible subscription, which explains the high sales (credits cost between $6 and $15 depending on the sale). Audible subscribers account for 90% of the Harry Potter purchases, the company said.

And they’ll probably account for an equally high share of sales of the 8th Harry Potter audiobook, should it ever be released.

While Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a stage play, the script is also going to be released as an ebook. What with Audible’s ongoing investment in original productions like Romeo and Jude, there’s no way they will pass up the opportunity to take that script and turn it into a full-blown radio play style production, and then release it as an audiobook.

The key to audiobooks outselling the related print editions is treating the audiobook as an original production, and Cursed Child could be the perfect poster child for that trend.


P.S. Speaking of Harry Potter, what do you think this site could mean?

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Mackay Bell March 31, 2016 um 3:05 pm

As to your last question, wow, it would be brilliant to have Harry have and unknown sister. Great way to milk the franchise.

Speaking of which, it seems like you’re implying that Pottermore was a mistake and it would have been better to have simply made Harry Potter available everywhere early on. That’s probably not correct. In addition to the money made by being exclusive (I understand Sony wrote her a big check), there might have been value in waiting until the markets, like the audio book market, matured. When you’re dealing with a huge, evergreen property like this, sometimes waiting to enter a market can be a good thing. Also, the timing of this, with the new ride at Universal in California, not to mention the new play, might pay off in ways beyond selling an audio book to established fans. It seems unlikely any money has been left on the table by Pottermore that can’t be picked up now.

Plus, having her own market place probably gave her a lot of interesting data about her fans. So, while I’ve heard Pottermore wasn’t so amazing, it seems like it was a smart experiment.

fjtorres March 31, 2016 um 3:48 pm

Why would the girl have to be related to Harry?
The way these things go, each generation gets their own Big Bad, so why not make her Neville’s orphan daughter? Do a different story for the newer generation. Maybe Harry and his kids have to take care of her and protect her from her own destiny.
No milking that way, just moving the timeline along…

(For that matter, what if the Girl that Lived is the cursed child?)

Nate Hoffelder March 31, 2016 um 4:12 pm

This is actually to do with a potential 1 April joke (a gender-swapped Potter series). I figured everyone would look at the source and see that I am hosting the images.

fjtorres March 31, 2016 um 9:14 pm

Thing is, sooner or later Rowling is going to do more (full) stories in the Potterverse. The pressure is too high.
And switching to a girl protagonist makes too much sense to ignore.

So it’ll be too easy to believe.

Nate Hoffelder March 31, 2016 um 9:20 pm

Plus, I really want it to come true.

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