TRANSLATION AGENCY over 18 years experience
While the publishing industry in the United States generates about $26 billion in revenue each year, it is undeniable that this economic sector is experiencing significant changes, above all derived from the increase in ebooks, audiobooks and digital technology. As publishers, writers and readers orient their tastes and expectations for the years to come, what will be the most widespread trends and how will the translation market be the protagonist in this evolution?
In the last 10 years, the demand for printed books has significantly decreased, while sales of audiobooks have seen continuous growth since 2012 especially in the United States, a favorite market for Italian authors who require the translation of their works into English. In fact, overseas, the demand for ebooks and audiobooks has skyrocketed.
Also in the last 10 years, searches for the audiobook platform have increased by 35%. Although printed books are still the most popular book format, 25% of adults read an e-book in 2019, and 20% of U.S. consumers listened to at least one audiobook in the past year. The figures of this trend speak for themselves: audiobook revenues in 2021 increased by 14.3% compared to the previous year.
Audiobooks are transforming publishing... and book translation specialists like us at Lipsie, are aware of this through analyzing the variety of requests received from the publishing field. Audiobooks are one of the fastest growing sectors, but it is equally interesting to note that ebook sales are getting close to those of audiobooks, led above all by Amazon's Kindle format.
Technological development makes it possible to create and launch digital books more and more easily. Although, in 2021, Lipsie Edizione saw an increase by 60% in the number of quotations received for the translation of books, for many independent European authors, the trend of ebooks and audiobooks is an opportunity that has not yet been fully exploited.
However, the growth in searches for the keyword "independent author" has increased by 485% in the last five years and this factor is by no means negligible for those who, like us, are experts in the translation of novels of all kinds. The ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) self-publishing tool that connects storytellers, producers, and rights holders for the purpose of creating new audiobooks, essentially transforms a single book into as many formats as possible.
With Audible and Ibook, the same phenomenon that has occurred for music content (e.g. the Spotify platform), film and television products (Netflix), is also happening for audiobooks: we are moving from a model of purchasing individual editorial products to a subscription system with unlimited access and streaming. Apart from Amazon (which controls nearly 50% of the ebook market), many consumers now get their digital media from public libraries. In 2020, ebook withdrawals from libraries increased by 52% compared to the previous year. The owner of TikTok, ByteDance clearly sees what the future profit in the digital publishing industry will be, and for this reason it has launched a reading app with AI narrators. Storytel is also one of the most comprehensive audiobook platforms along with Amazon's Audible.
In the last 5 years the number of platforms and services designed to summarize the content of non-fiction books has been growing significantly. Berlin's Blinkist, with 18 million users, is one of the leaders in this growing space. Searches for "Blinkist" have increased by 164% in 5 years. Blinkist summarizes books in audio and textual summaries. MentorBox is also one of many growing book summary startups that doesn't simply summarize, but collaborates with authors to turn a book's material into a course.