Listeners In Mexico, Spain Lead Surge In Spanish-Language Audiobook Subscriptions

Audiobooks in Spanish are projected to reach more than 26 million listeners by 2026, with the industry forecast to generate some $632 million, with Mexico and Spain the main markets

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January 19, 2023 | 11:30 AM

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Bloomberg Línea — The audiobook industry is growing in the Spanish language, to the extent that, in the last year, the number of paid subscribers to this format in Spanish was around 500,000 in Spain, Latin America and the Hispanic market in the US, according to consulting firm Dosdoce , which surveys the publishing business.

This impact is a consequence of the growth of subscription channels for these formats, which only five years ago numbered 15 and today total more than 60, which also speaks clearly of a growth in revenues, which is paradoxical if we take into account that in Latin America there has been a slow adoption of paid subscription services.

With 454.6 million people speaking Spanish, the prospects are auspicious however, and a PwC survey shows that the audiobook industry will reach 26.6 million listeners in 2026, and which will generate some $632 million in revenues.

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Dosdoce’s founder and director Javier Celaya attributes the growth of this segment to several factors. On the one hand, there is the investment of publishers, which is increasing in order to distribute more and more titles. This is accompanied by the arrival of well-known platforms such as Audible, Storytel, Scribd, Nextory, Podimo, Bookbeat, Sonora and Convoy, among many others, in Spanish-speaking countries. As a result, interest is generating new subscriptions.

Subscriptions range from $4.28 to $10.71 per month and the Spanish-language audiobook catalog spans some 20,000 titles, while platforms have also started to add their own productions, which adds about 8,000 titles to the offer. According to Celaya, 60% of those titles are fiction.

How is the audiobook industry forecast to grow?

The study Spanish Markets Audio Growth Report 2017-2022 reveals that there are currently more than 20,000 audiobooks and 100,000 podcasts in Spanish, and it is expected that by the end of 2023, Hispanic markets will see a total of 25,000 audiobooks in Spanish.

The research indicates that around 60% of Spanish-language audiobooks belong to the fiction genre, versus 40% in nonfiction.

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“The main paid audio platforms have jointly invested in the last five years more than 50 million euros to create the Spanish audiobook category,” the report says.

What will follow will be the dispute for listeners. As with other subscription services, price will be a competitive differential.

“In 2023 we will see the entry of more unlimited subscription models but with differences that will allow the audio streaming industry to continue to grow, as each of these new models will serve the needs of different audience segments,” says Celaya.

But, on the other hand, there is also the feeling of belonging to a community, says the report. This has to do with the type of accent, which can be in Castilian Spanish or Latin American Spanish, and which provides a distinctive experience.

Despite the value of the experience, the trend in this market is the advance of artificial voices that are getting better every day and will allow publishers to publish their audiobooks at more competitive costs.