Audiobooks look to gain ground in potentially large LatAm market

EFE

Relatively new to the market, audiobooks are trying to wiggle into the Latin American publishing scene, where there are vast numbers of potential readers but also obstacles to overcome like the high costs of developing such products.

Publishing houses expect the incursion of audiobooks to have "a completely positive impact" because it translates into "getting more readers," Sergio Vilela, director of digital content in Latin America for Grupo Planeta, told EFE.

The region looks to the United States, where in 2017 the sector grew by 22.7 percent in sales over the previous year and brought in an estimated $2.5 billion, according to figures from the Audio Publishers Association Conference (APAC).

And while there are already successful cases of companies that offer these services, such as Ubook with more than 4.5 million registered users and strong sales in Brazil, there is still much more to be done.

Sector professionals point out that one of the factors that can favor the development of these companies is the growing habit in Latin America of paying for subscription services like Spotify and Netflix.

As with these platforms, it is possible that Mexico, "due to the volume of people and the market, will end up with greater weight than Spain in the medium term" in the field of audiobooks, Vilela said.

The latest company to land in the region has been Sweden's Storytel, which already has a presence in 15 countries and has chosen Mexico as its first target in Latin America for its catalog of 2,500 titles in Spanish, as well as 30,000 in English.

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