Progress and innovation are probably the most popular words of the 21st century. They determine our life bringing in the possibilities we have never had before and speed up our lives tremendously.

The need to evolve urges us to absorb new information and books are its ultimate source. However reading is a time-consuming process which requires full attention and dedication. And, yep, you guessed it, nobody has time for that. That being said, the app for audiobooks comes in really handy as it allows to read on the go whether you are heading to work, working out or waiting in a line.

In order to listen to an audiobook, one needs to look out for book recommendations, then search for download sites, download it and enjoy. Or just get an application. With an audiobook app, you will be able to do it all on the go at one place. Besides, you will be able to have a virtual bookshelf and track your reading list progress. Personalized recommendations is another great feature which can take a lot of stress off one’s shoulders.

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Audible is one of the biggest apps on the market and it has over 50 million downloads on the Google Play Store Last year their worldwide audience has downloaded more than 1.6 billion hours of audio and the numbers are still going up.

Did you ever wonder how to make an audiobook app? What challenges does this process bring? Let’s take a look at the example of Audible as well as other popular apps and find the answers.


Why would anyone want to develop an app for audiobooks?

According to recent studies, the estimated value of the audiobook industry is around $2.8 billion and the number of audiobooks released is constantly growing. In fact,  nowadays audiobook production segment has the biggest growth potential on the publishing market. Within the last few years, the number of audiobooks released has increased up to 50,000 per year approximately. Moreover, the number of audiobook downloads has outgrown the number of e-book downloads back in 2015 and this trend is still going strong.

What makes audiobook app like Audible popular ?

The applications appear out of demand and they become popular when the expectations of the users are exceeded. Amazon’s Audible is a perfect illustration of that principle. They provide high-quality user experience along with useful features and that puts them on top of the game in their business segment.

Prior to Audible, a user had to listen to audiobooks on a CD or get them from a website and transfer to a player or phone. And that made such a simple thing as using the audiobook on a device a big deal. Audible has made it so much easier, that it actually made more people interested in books.

The Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) is another product of Amazon, which made it to the top in the publishing industry. ACX is a marketplace which links authors, publishers, narrators and rights holders together with the purpose of audiobooks creation and exchange.

Currently, the audiobook application area carries a lot of potential, so no wonder that many investors and development companies are looking into the opportunities to join in and benefit from the growth of the market.


How does it work?

The impact Audible has on the audiobook app market is hard to overestimate. And that is only emphasized by the fact that the business model chosen by Audible is widely used by other brands as well. Every other Audible alternative, such as, iTunes, and Downpour works pretty much the same way.

Basically, it is a subscription type of service with the monthly or annual fee with standard 30 days free trial available. Once you are subscribed, you get the access to over 200,000 items in their catalog. With your subscription, you can download 1 free book per month and get a 30% discount for additional downloads. According to statistics, a regular listener downloads around 17 books per year which makes the plan very affordable.

Some alternative services start off with the unlimited subscription to attract customers. Later they also transfer to 1 free book per month subscription model as it has proven to be more profitable.

Companies like Spotify and Playster provide free unlimited access to audiobooks they have with their premium subscription. And that is a serious competition to the Audible’s business model. According to the information shared by the Audible’s general manager, they are currently in search of an improvement for the existing model. They are hoping that the new one will allow them to expand their audience and reach the agreement with the content rights owners.

Dealing with right holders

As for the revenue of the rights owners, Audible suggests 40% for the content available exclusively on Audible and 25% for the content which is created via ACX and presented on Audible. Their main competitors provide the same rates for their service.

Although most audio book apps provide flat 35% revenue, Audible is still highly appreciated by the publishers due to its sharing feature. It allows users to share downloaded books and pays the distribution fees to the rights owners. So each time somebody receives the book through sharing and listens to it, the owners earn money. This allows publishers to spread their content easier and get more profit.

As always when it comes to the creative content, the services selling it have a number of requirements which the content has to fit into in order to be released. For example, there may be size/format limitations, background noise restrictions or requirements to the size of the chapter division for larger books. In case you are wondering where all that content is coming from, check out below.


Where to get the the content from?

This question may seem confusing at the first sight, however, we have some good tips for you:

Actual books

First of all, you can wipe the dust off your microphone and create your own audiobooks. Or, perhaps, hire a few people who will work as voice artists for your own audiobook library. That sounds really interesting. Although it will most probably require a lot of time, money and dedication to even get to the point where you will have a rich enough library to interest your potential audience.

• Marketplace

In case you are less artistic and more practical, you might prefer using ACX, the marketplace we have mentioned earlier. It is a great platform which links all the people involved in the audiobook creation and release process together. Another cool feature of ACX is the possibility to distribute the end product directly to the desired destination, such as Audible, iTunes and so on.


API is another great option for selling the audiobooks. Instead of selling the content directly, some companies prefer to share it via an API link which provides a different level of control over the product. A bright example of implementation of this concept is Findaway, with the base of over 100,000 items and a large number of followers.

Additional content

A successful business strategy always satisfies the demand and goes an extra mile. So even if the primary goal of the app is to sell subscriptions for audiobooks, supplementary functions should be on point as well. They should predict the needs of the clients before the clients even realize they have them. In attempt to achieve this effect, bookshelves were introduced, then personalized recommendations altogether with sharing options, offline download, customer reviews, podcast, channels, etc.

How much does it cost to create an app for audiobooks?

In case you are tempted by the idea of audiobook app development, you are most probably wondering how much does it cost to create an app for audiobooks. The answer to this question is individual and is highly influenced by the complexity of the project, time frame, development services choice, etc. If you are determined to start your own audiobook app, it is better to analyze the market and have interviews with several development companies which will estimate your requirements and will give you an idea of the price range you are going for.

Also, you will need to keep in mind hosting services, the size of the library of want to start with, the cost of the usage of the audiobooks in your app.

Audiobook application market has a lot of potential for both investment and innovation. It is currently at its prime and can be very profitable financially with the right execution of the idea. This article gives all the information needed to shape this idea of the desired app and its content. The only thing left is to bring it to life. And since there is no better time to do something than now, just contact a professional development team and get one step closer to becoming a part of audiobook future!

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