Aboard the AudiobookMobile: Audio Publishers Push Reading With Your Ears

The Audio Publishers Association kicked off its largest consumer awareness campaign over Labor Day weekend, aiming to build some buzz around a booming audiobook industry.

Among the box trucks converted into mobile restaurants on hand at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, last weekend, one truck dished out something a little different, though just right for the occasion: books. Its product, however, was not of the hardback or paperback variety.

For someone like me who was always a big reader who just ran out of time in life to sit down with a book, audiobooks are the perfect solution.

The AudiobookMobile (pictured above), which made its public debut over the weekend, is the centerpiece of a brand new consumer awareness campaign [PDF] launched by the Audio Publishers Association (APA) to get people accustomed to a different kind of reading format.

Audiobooks—available on CDs or via digital download—have seen tremendous growth over the past few years. Production has risen from about 4,600 titles in 2009 to over 13,000 in 2012, and sales have increased from $480 million in 1997 to $1.2 billion, according to APA’s most recent industry survey.

“The goal of this campaign is really to introduce people to audiobooks,” said APA President Michele Cobb. “For someone like me who was always a big reader who just ran out of time in life to sit down with a book, audiobooks are the perfect solution. It just takes getting someone to try one audiobook, and then they might realize that they can expand their reading background.”

The AudiobookMobile will be on tour through the end of September, making stops in cities throughout the Northeast at local libraries, book festivals, and the Baltimore Comic Con.

“For some of the stops, we’ll have the Golden Voice Theater with us, and they’ll be narrating different books and doing performances, and we’ll be giving away prizes and some free audiobooks,” Cobb said. “It’s just a great way for people who have questions about how an audiobook is produced to get their answers, and it’s fun for the narrators who normally record in a booth to interact with people.”

Work on the campaign has been ongoing for a number of years, but Cobb said the group is excited to finally hit the road, literally.

“It’s a huge commitment on the part of the Audio Publishers Association, and we’ve kind of been building up to this idea for some time now,” she said. “Our PR team has helped get the word out about the campaign through social media and with a press release, and our members have certainly helped with that as well. There’s just a lot of moving pieces with something like this, and luckily we have fantastic members who are very organized, and they really dedicated a lot of time to making sure that this gets pulled off to perfection.”

(photo by Susie Sharp via Audiobook Community Facebook page)

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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