Sonic Boom: Spanish-Language Audiobooks Are Soaring

This content has been archived. It may no longer be accurate or relevant.

From Publishing Perspectives:

Javier Celaya‘s Bilbao-based consultancy Dosdoce is reporting striking gains in the Spanish-language markets’ audiobook consumer base, reaching levels of more than 500,000 paying subscribers by year’s end 2022.

In 2017, he tells Publishing Perspectives, there were fewer than 15 audio channels in the Spanish-language markets, which include Spain, Latin American nations, and the Hispanic population of the United States. In under five years, Celaya says, that number of channels has ballooned to more than 60, as the world’s most aggressive and well-heeled audio subscription services have opened services to lure customers in these markets.

Citing a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, Celaya says the industry is anticipated “to reach 26.6 million listeners in 2026, generating an income of €590 million (US$632 million) in the Spanish markets through advertising, branded content, income derived from subscriptions, and more.

Not the least of the attractions for subscriber-hungry audio vendors, of course, is the geographical reach of the Spanish markets: Europe as well as the Americas.

“In my view,” Celaya says, “the fast-forward audio growth that we’ve experienced in the Spanish markets is a consequence of three main factors.” He sees these factors as competition in these markets among major audio subscription players; investments by key publishers in Spanish-language content; and a “subscription culture” driven by streaming services both in television and in music.

Celaya cites the arrivals in the Spanish-language markets of “the main international platforms” as the first factor, nourished by offers of unlimited-listening subscription services highly competitive pricing from €3.99 to €9.99 per month (US$4.28 to $10.71). It’s a listener’s market.

One result of the clamorous competition has been—and has driven—a burgeoning catalogue of Spanish-language audiobook content.

“The Spanish audiobook catalogue of more than 20,000 titles that we now enjoy is a result of two intense parallel production processes,” Celaya says. “During the last five years, leading publishers have heavily invested in the production of new Spanish audiobook titles:

  • “Penguin Random House has produced more than 4,000 titles
  • “Planeta has produced another 2,500 titles
  • “Saga Egmont has produced another 2,000 or more titles

“Parallel to this publishing audio sprint,” he says, “the leading platforms—Audible, Storytel, Podimo, and so on—have also produced their own exclusive audiobook and podcast catalogs reaching another 8,000 and more exclusive titles.” In fact, Celaya says, around one-third of the total offering is exclusive content. Podcasts in the Spanish language, he says, now number more than 100,000.

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives