Amazon’s Alexa powering boom in audiobooks


Amazon’s Alexa Echo devices are behind a big uptake in audiobook reading during 2018 with J K Rowling’s Harry Potter titles amassing a total of 393 million minutes listened to on Echo devices.

That’s the equivalent of ‘Alexa, read Harry Potter’ resulting in a total of over 748 years of narration in 2018 (8,760 hours in a year).

To put that into further context in terms of audiobooks, Harry Potter audiobooks range from running for around 9 hours to 12.5 hours, so we’ll take an average of 11 hours per audiobook. The total of 393,000,000 minutes is 6,550,000 hours so we divide 6,550,000 by 11 to reach 595,454. It means that the Harry Potter titles have ‘sold’ the equivalent of nearly 600,000 audiobooks over the year just through the Alexa channel.

The figures are revealed in the Amazon Charts review of This Year in Books. The review looks at sales of all formats across Amazon.com, Audible.com, Amazon Books stores and books read through Amazon digital subscription services. The data covers the period from January 1, 2018-November 26, 2018.

The Most Sold fiction book of the year is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which was actually published in 2011 but received a massive boost in 2018 from the Stephen Spielberg film of the book.

Amazon Publishing’s imprint Montlake Romance scored a notable No 1 with first place in the Top 5 Unputdownable books of the year, based on ‘the Kindle and Audible titles readers blazed through faster than similar ones in 2018’.

Self-help fans seem to prefer audiobooks over ebooks as the Top 5 All Ears, focusing on tltles where readers listened to them more on Audible than read them on the Kindle edition, is composed entirely of personal development titles.

No 1 in this section is Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop while The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins takes second place and The 48 Laws of Power is in third.

You can check out the full lists of This Year in Books at Amazon.


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