April 20, 2021

New Data: Audiobook Use in Canada 2020

From BookNet Canada:

Every two years, the Research team at BookNet Canada releases an insightful report on audiobook use amongst Canadians. For this year’s report, we have collected data from 500 English-speaking adult audiobook listeners.

There’s no doubt that audiobooks are becoming more popular among readers. From our Canadian Leisure & Reading Study 2020 we learned that 49% of respondents had listened to at least one audiobook during 2019. In fact, 26% of respondents said they listen to audiobooks at least once a week. And if we look at book buying behaviour, audiobooks represented 5% of all book purchases in 2019, an increase of 34% since 2018.

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Recommendations continue to be popular when it comes to finding which books to listen to (36%). These suggestions might come from friends, librarians, bookstore staff, or internet/social media. Reading or listening to other books by the same author was the second most popular way of discovering audiobooks (30%). And 17% of listeners said they listened to an audiobook because they also read either the print or ebook version of the same book.

When it comes to ease of finding specific titles, 66% of respondents said they usually find the book they want in audiobook format, only 6% of listeners said they have difficulty finding the titles they would like to listen to.

Acquiring Audiobooks

How are listeners getting their audiobooks?

  • 38% download or stream audiobooks using apps/online for free
  • 34% buy online from a store/retailer (this was slightly higher in 2018 at 49%)
  • 40% borrow audiobooks from a public library in both digital and physical formats
    • According to OverDrive, the circulation of audiobooks in Canadian libraries increased 32% between 2018 and 2019.
  • 69% of listeners aged 18 to 24 pay for their audiobooks
  • 31% acquire their audiobooks through subscription services

Direct to Complete Summary Blog Post

Direct to Full Text Report

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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