October 29, 2018
This study found the most popular audiobook genre
by Alyssa Monera
Over the past decade, audiobooks have become an increasingly popular. But what books are audiobook listeners drawn to the most? Survey says: fantasy.
According to a recent study from BookNet Canada – which, yes, does take data primarily from Canada, but the results are very relevant. The study, “Readers Are Listening: Audiobook Use in Canada 2018,” focused specifically on Canadian adults 18 or older and contains about 40 pages of data on who the average audiobook listener is, what their listening habits are, and what they like. Their profile of the average audiobook buyer (cheekily named Libby) sums up a few key details: Most buyers are women between the ages of 25 and 34 who listen to about five fantasy audiobooks a year.
To be clear, the study lumped in a lot of different subgenres under the fantasy umbrella, including sci-fi, “legends, myths & fables,” paranormal, and supernatural – essentially, anything that doesn’t take place in a “normal” fictional setting. These are genres that people are actively seeking out, too, as 43% of readers found their audiobooks browsing by subject or genre. Is it because most audiobook listeners want to get away to another world while going about the minutiae of cleaning, cooking, commuting? Or is it because there’s something weirdly magical about being read a story about knights and wizards, like an aged up bedtime story? Whatever it is, fantasy audiobooks have definitely enchanted their audience.
Alyssa Monera is an intern at Melville House.