Publishing houses see room in development for audiobooks

In Estonia, which holds the flag of the e-state high, domestic readers still prefer paperwork over e-books. Sales of e-books in Estonia have remained stable at less than ten percent, and publishers will see the most room for development for audiobooks.

Although it only takes a few minutes to purchase an e-book and it can be easily carried on a smart device, readers mostly prefer paper covers. Quick access to e-books is not a sufficient reason for readers to switch to a paper screen.

Tauno Vahter, editor-in-chief of the publishing house Tänapäev said that sales of e-books increased slightly last year, when bookstores were closed due to the coronavirus restrictions. The temporary success may have been due to state support, which allowed libraries to expand the range of e-books.

Vahter said that e-books are usually sold in less than a hundred copies. The popularity of the e-book will not see a significant increase in the future either. "Both in Estonia and in other countries of the same size, the e-book is not that successful and I do not see that it will change significantly in the coming years."

Vahter said that the favorite genres of the consumer community of e-books have been formed clearly.

"The most popular books are the newest books, secondly, women's fiction books, travel books, crime books."

Tiit Treimuth, CEO of Eesti Raamat Publishing House, said that e-books are not competing against regular books, but offering an alternative to consuming literature.

"As a reading experience, nothing is likely to replace the paper book. Still, the traditional way of reading doesn't go away. The paper book will always remain, the e-book will provide a new opportunity and the audiobook will expand it even further," Treimuth explained.

Treimuth said that the number of e-book readers has increased in recent years. The most room for improvement is seen in the audiobook in the future.

"If we compare these three formats - e-book, paper book and audiobook - then e-book and paper book are quite similar in terms of their reading experience, in both cases, it is necessary to read and hold the book," Treimuth explained.

"An audiobook, on the other hand, offers a whole new experience, an opportunity to read a book where you can't read a paper book, such as playing sports and driving a car."

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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