PW and Shelf Awareness report that Audio Publisher Association sales figures show a 22.7% increase in audio sales in 2017.  The article also lists a number of observations from Edison research that I think are noteworthy.  Here’s a subset of these:

  • More than half (54%) of audiobook listeners are under the age of 45.

  • More and more audiobook listeners use smartphones: the percentage of listeners most often using smartphones to listen to audiobooks is 47% in 2018 vs. 29% in 2017 and 22% in 2015.

  • Smart speakers are becoming more popular: 24% of listeners said they have listened to audiobooks on a smart speaker and 5% said they listen most often on a smart speaker.

  • The most popular genres in audiobooks were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction and romance.

When I first read “Smart speakers are becoming more popular” for a few seconds I thought they meant listeners are particularly attracted to sophisticated, eloquent narrators.  What a fuddy duddy.  But in fact the tech trend toward wireless speakers is another factor nudging us to eAudio from discs, along with changes in new cars.  The last point, about fiction genres being especially popular, is something to note as we transition, too. In physical audio I have not been emphasizing these genres, mainly because of the difficulty of keeping series together and because standalone bestsellers circulate even better.  That might be worth a re-think in eAudio, especially when you can buy one copy of something that won’t automatically go away.  Almost no audio files are metered.

Despite how it’s stuffing our shelves, the audiobook collection continues to have a respectable turnover, still higher than many print collections, but circulation shows an undeniable “soft landing.” Here are numbers from our Operational Report.

(Adult) Audiobook First Checkouts Jan – May 2017 61807
Audiobook First Checkouts Jan – May 2018 54651
eAudio Circulation Jan – May 2017 196300
eAudio Circulation Jan – May 2018 250934





The lists and links for Day of Dialog are conveniently compiled by Library Journal at the bottom.  This year DOD featured two sessions dedicated to non-fiction, on Great Reportage and The Art of Memoir, as well as being in the usual mix of editors’ picks .  A mystery session of editor’s picks is also worth a glance. In another BEA session, NPD BookScan Client Development Exec Director David Walter confirmed the strength of non-fiction in print, with unit sales rising from 240 million to 280 million in last few years.  Meanwhile, adult fiction has been relatively stable if not in slight decline in print.  That NPD figure specifically excludes the library market because it’s concentrated exclusively on individual retail consumers of traditionally published books.  So focused, NPD figures it captures about 85% of all such sales. In fact, they actively weed out titles they suspect have been inflated by mass purchasing schemes (or more innocently, mass purchases for large reading campaigns, etc.) from their bestseller lists they distribute to booksellers. I did NOT know that.





Caveat–Please continue to verify requests using Amazon.   The post below describes how to determine if a DVD listing may be a bootleg copy, so that you can assist patrons who come asking why their request was rejected.    Amazon is a very reliable source for verifying title and author information so Collection Development can pursue purchasing.  Bootleg listings are rare exceptions.  If you have questions about listings like these I am happy to come speak with staff about them.   Call me if you want to set something up.   Jim.

We’ve been receiving customer requests for the Netflix series, Longmire and The Crown for weeks now.   Netflix released the entire season of both shows late last year, and not long after that DVD and Blu-ray copies started appearing on Amazon.   After searching Midwest Tapes and not finding them listed, we wrote to them to see what’s what.  They told us, that these were not available to them, and to check back later.

The Crown Season 2 (DVD 2018) NEW Fans of The Crown…

So what’s going on?  Why doesn’t Sno-Isle have these shows as soon consumers can purchase them?

Let’s look for season 2 of The Crown  and see if we can find an explanation.

I searched  for “the crown season 2” in Amazon without specifying a department and voila!   There are a few things that look a little odd about the listings.

  1. The first clue is that Amazon has them when we can’t get ’em.
  2. The seller name is not a major distributor.   One of the listings I found was  from The BestForYou.
  3. The listing may be a “Sponsored Link” that takes you out of Amazon to a different website.
  4. The listing is there one day, and gone later.  This actually happened to me with The Crown while I was writing this post.
  5. Lastly, the listing may appear in an odd department like Toys and Games, rather than Movies & TV.

Past release dates are generally a good guide to when the next season will be released.   Distributors are pretty consistent from year to year, so season 2 should be coming next November.

I intentionally haven’t said anything about Longmire.   I’ll leave it to you to investigate and leave a comment about why those listings are fishy.

Thanks to Mary and Jane at OAK for pointing this article from Quartz online magazine, called A Love Rekindled: Are EBook Dying or Thriving? The Answer is Yes.  In spite of that title, the real answer is who knows?

But ebook sales are anybody’s guess. Amazon doesn’t report its ebook sales to any of the major industry data sources, and it doesn’t give authors more than their own personal slice of data. A spokesperson from Amazon writes by email that “hundreds of thousands of authors self-publish their books today with Kindle Direct Publishing,” but declined to provide a number, or any sales data.

However, a new indirect technique, which I found fascinating, is trying to get at these data answers, with this (possible) result showing in another way a cryptic “underground” ebook market that isn’t going away but is different from the traditional output.

Again from the article:

Combine last year’s NPD BookScan numbers (that is, 85% of US trade print sales) and what Bookstat strings together of self-published book sales, and you have a very rough picture of the difference between what is generally reported in sales figures and what’s missing (not including a grab-bag of uncategorizable sales or books from Amazon’s own imprints):



This sounds like a disturbing nothing-makes-sense thriller or something that would appeal to readers of Gone Girl, Woman in Cabin 10, etc.  Comment to claim.

Our House by Louise Candlish

Shelf Awareness announced this morning that Sherman Alexie will not accept the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, which was to be awarded in a ceremony at the ALA conference in New Orleans in June.  Recent allegations of sexual harassment by ten women have tarnished Alexie’s reputation and created a dilemma for ALA; the organization “believes that every person has the right to a safe environment free from sexual harassment.”

For more detail, follow this link:

The Pew Research Center issued a report today stating that almost 1 in 5 Americans have taken up the audiobook habit.  The study goes on to say that we are spreading our wings in terms of formats but print books remain the most popular format.  Reassuringly for us, the percent of Americans who have read a book – in any format – in the past 12 months remains at 74%, holding steady since the last report in 2012.

Follow the link to read more about this study:  Pew Research Center study on reading habits.