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Audiobooks and podcasts push reading on paper…

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Audiobooks and podcasts push reading on paper…

We periodically ask ourselves what the state of health of the book is, or rather that of the readers.

Surveys and reports help us in this sense, above all by moving away from the cliché that we read less and less. If anything, we can say that, with the boom in audiobooks and podcasts, we are increasingly approaching reading in a different way.

This is what emerges from the Audible-Compass survey referring to 2023. Let’s discover the main data of the research.

L’indagine Audible-Compass

The international survey was carried out by Kantar on behalf of Audible, an Amazon company that produces audiobooks and podcasts.

The research was presented on Thursday 7 December at the small and medium-sized publishing fair in Rome, Più libri Più liberi.


E the main fact that emerges corresponds to a denial: that of the idea that approaching audio distances one from reading. If anything, as we will see, the opposite is true.

Audio on the rise

On a sample of one thousand Italians interviewed during 2023 as many as 70% have listened to a book or podcast, with a growth of 5% compared to 2022. 44% of the sample did so with good frequency, with a jump of +10% compared to last year.

And here is the data that closely links audiobooks and podcasts to the paper book: 84% of users of audio narrations then purchased a paper volume or an ebook.

How to choose audio content

The main factors why Italians choose to listen to a certain audiobook or podcast are the genre (84% of the sample) but also the narrative voice (77%).

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And among the genres, the favorites are literature and fiction (51%), mysteries and thrillers (49%) and history (43%). As for podcasts, they especially like news (40%) and, tied with 38%, history and science.

Why we listen to audiobooks and podcasts

Audiobooks and podcasts are first and foremost considered a way to entertain oneself (74%) and to deepen one’s knowledge (71%)especially about your own country.

An important percentage, 57%, also listens to them to “discover new points of view and increase their sensitivity on issues dear to communities still poorly represented and recognized such as BIPOC and LGBTQIA+”.

However, for 65% of those interviewed they also offer help to relax and escape from everyday life. Listening to stories takes away worries (69%): 45% of the sample laughs while listening and 20% feel curiosity and suspense.

The places and ways of listening

Where do people most enjoy listening to audiobooks and podcasts?

Especially within the home (69% of the sample)to relax (45%) or during household chores (21%).

25% of those interviewed listen to them in the car, and 20% on public transport.

We are not too inclined towards foreign languages: 96% of the sample listens to content in Italian25% in English and 7% in Spanish.

The most listened to audiobooks

Here is the top ten most listened to audiobooks in 2023 on Audible.

Harry Potter: The Complete Saga by JK Rowling, read by Francesco Pannofino

The postman by Francesca Giannone, read by Sonia Barbadoro

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, read by Moro Silo

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The intimate life of Niccolò Ammanitiread by Lorenza Indovina

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, read by Riccardo Mei

Murder out of season by Arwin J. Seaman, read by Gabriele Donolato

Maker of tears by Erin Doom, read by Federica Simonelli

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, read by Paola Cortellesi

Something wonderful always happens by Gianluca Gotto, read by Gianluca Gotto

The eight mountains by Paolo Cognetti, read by Jacopo Venturiero.

Most listened to podcasts

And these are the ten most listened to podcasts on Audible in 2023.

Maxi by Roberto Saviano

Black as blood by Carlo Lucarelli and Massimo Picozzi

The great battles of history by Alessandro Barbero

Crack! The history of the Parmalat case by Pablo Trincia

Dark by Pablo Trincia

Bad stories about science by Barbascura

Who will I call to defend me by Roberto Saviano

The Sandman: Atto III di Neil Gaiman e Dirk Maggs

Too many truths by Fiorenza Sarzanini

Marvel’s Wastelanders: Star–Lord with the voice of Neri Marcorè and Corrado Guzzanti.

The comment

Juan Baixeras, Country Manager Spain and Italy at Audible, comments on the survey.

Baixeras said: “The path we have undertaken has allowed us to significantly increase the local catalogue, going from 2 thousand initial contents to over 16 thousand in Italian today with an investment of 4 million euros and 6,900 hours of content produced this alone. ‘year.

Our goal is to continue to meet the tastes and expectations of Italians who love stories through headphones, involving extraordinary voices capable of exciting our audience.”

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And on the relationship between audio content and paper books he added: “Audiobooks and podcasts are not cannibalizing reading. On the contrary, thanks to this new form of audio entertainment, Italians read more, opening up new cultural horizons. In a different way, undoubtedly.

An immersive experience that knows no equal, because even knowing how to listen, in silence, means knowing how to be with yourself. And perhaps today, in such a chaotic era, we need it.”

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