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Consumers embrace audio for reading on the go

Consumers embrace audio for reading on the go

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Published Monday, 10th June 2019.

Convenience is key for audiobook listeners as the format becomes a ready alternative to print, according to Kantar. 

The survey by Kantar, commissioned by the PA, has investigated the reading habits of UK book buyers.

These findings have been released for Love Audio Week, the third annual celebration of audiobooks, which takes place from 10th to 16th June 2019.

According to the survey, the main barrier to reading is lack of time. Audiobooks offer a solution for these consumers by allowing them to combine reading with other activities.

The majority (54%) of audiobook buyers listen to them for their convenience, while 41% said they choose the format because it allows them to consume books when reading print isn’t possible.

27% of audiobook consumers listen to audiobooks at least once a week while 22% said they were able to retain information better if they listened to an audiobook.

72% of those surveyed said they had bought a book (in any format) in the last year, confirming that the UK is a nation of book buyers. The prevalence of audio, however, proves that consumers are increasingly exploring different formats for reading to suit their lifestyle.

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, said: “The audiobook sector continues to go from strength to strength as consumers look for new and exciting ways to incorporate books and stories into their everyday lives. 

“Audiobooks are an essential companion for the everyday reader who is busy and on-the-go, like many of us so often are. They are a vital part of the publishing eco-system and allow consumers to tailor reading to suit their busy lives.

“This is why it is imperative that the Government removes VAT on digital reading products like audiobooks and ebooks. The publishing industry is committed to pursuing accessibility through digital innovation and this tax serves as a critical obstacle to this goal.”

Dominic Gribben, Chair of the Publishers Association’s Audio Publishers Group and audio editorial director at Hodder Book Group, said: “It is an exciting time for our sector and audio publishers across the country are more than up for the challenge, matching record-breaking growth with hard work and innovation.”

Notes to editors

For interviews and any related or supplementary material, please contact:

Eliza Kavanagh
Communications Manager
The Publishers Association
020 7089 5819
07799 383307 

  1. Love Audio Week will run from Monday 10th June to Sunday 16th June
    1. Through featured content on the website (including blogs, interviews and behind the scenes videos with authors and narrators) and branded collateral across social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), the campaign aims to engage book consumers and the publishing industry, including traditional book buyers, podcast listeners and publishing professionals who are interested in the sector. High profile authors and narrators who will be involved in the activity around the campaign include Graham Norton, Stephen Fry, Michael Palin, Elizabeth Day, Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse, Jon Culshaw, Juliet Stevenson, Richard Armitage, Art Malik, Martin Rees, and Louise Candlish.
    2. The campaign is an initiative of the Publishers Association’s Audio Publishers Group, chaired by Dominic Gribben (Hodder Books), which consists of 20+ audio publishers: Bolinda, Bonnier, Cambridge University Press, Canongate, Creative Content Digital, Faber & Faber, Hachette UK (Headline Publishing Group, Hodder & Stoughton, John Murray Press, Little, Brown, Orion and Quercus), HarperCollins UK, Kogan Page,  Spokenworld Audio, Listening Books, Michael O’Mara Books, Pan Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Princeton University Press, RNIB, Simon & Schuster UK, Strathmore Publishing, Talking Books, and W. F. Howes Ltd.
  2. This survey was conducted by Kantar in March 2019 and was commissioned by the Publishers Association. 
About the Publishers Association

The Publishers Association represents book and journal publishers in the UK, spanning fiction and non-fiction, academic and education publishing in print and digital. UK publishing has a turnover of £5.7bn, with export income accounting for 60% of revenues. Our membership includes global companies such as Elsevier, Wiley, Pearson, Penguin Random House and Hachette, as well as many independent publishing houses and university presses. Our objective as an association is to provide our members with the influence, insight and support necessary to compete and prosper.| @PublishersAssoc


Kantar is the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company. We understand more about how people think, feel, shop, share, vote and view than anyone else. Combining our expertise in human understanding with advanced technologies, Kantar’s 30,000 people help the world’s leading organisations succeed and grow.