It’s easy to say the music industry underwent a revolution, but a revolution involves blood and the music industry certainly bled: losses from what has been referred to as “casual piracy” (i.e., individuals burning a compact disc, giving the disc to a friend, and repeating the process) has taken a toll in the billions of dollars, and the mechanism of music discovery has changed with the losses of music stores.
With print books, the transition to digital has been comparatively slow next to that of music. The reasons for the slow shift to digital vary, but content rendered visually is rather different from that of content that always passes through wires to get to the consumer’s ears. Not only that, but the relationship consumers have with $0.99 songs is rather different from that of the relationship a consumer has with an audio title which costs far more than that amount.
Only when one has had a chance to peruse independent data on the audio book market can one properly appreciate the distance this market has traveled and what kinds of opportunities and challenges are on the road ahead.