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2017.01.19 Audiobook popularity sees rapid rise in two years
The market of the ‘audiobook’ – books which can be enjoyed through listening – is growing rapidly. In the past, audiobooks had been available in Japan, but didn’t become popular because they were more expensive than paper books. However, as the use of smartphone devices become the norm, people can now “listen to audiobooks anytime and anywhere", leading to audiobooks gaining more popularity than ever in Japan.

Beth Anderson, executive vice president of Audible, Inc., the largest audiobook service company in the world and a subsidiary of, commented that the number of Audible users has been rising by nearly 40% every year, and overall Audible usage has doubled this year compared to two years ago.

When entered the audiobook market, it served as a tailwind for opening up the Japanese audiobook market. Japanese audiobook delivery service “FeBe (pronounced ‘feebee’)”, headed by Wataru Ueda, founder of OTOBANK, Inc., expects to see its number of users double from 100,000 to 200,000 in the two years from 2014 to 2016.

Outside of Japan, the audiobook market is estimated to hold a share of 5-10% of the paper book market. Based on this, Ueda stated that the current 5 billion yen Japanese audiobook market has the potential to expand into a 90 billion yen market in the future.

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