Australian uptake of audiobooks outstrips even the UK's

TIME poor Australians' hunger for on-demand entertainment is on the rise.

Forget streaming videos or podcasts, 5.6 million Aussies (30%) are embracing a new literary era and are listening to audiobooks, according to new research from Audible.com.au.

The research reveals Aussies are perfecting the art of multi-tasking during 'dead time', with audiobook users listening while commuting (49%), on a road trip (44%), doing the housework (38%), exercising (30%) and even on the toilet (17%).

Aussies admit to wasting one entire working day (8.2 hours) each week on unproductive tasks, such as trying to fall asleep, commuting and mindless social media scrolling; the equivalent of around four audiobooks per month.

With the majority of Australians admitting to procrastinating (85%), Aussies are now embracing Temptation Bundling. A term coined by U.S researcher Katy Milkman, this is the act of bundling something you don't like with something you do like, such as listening to an audiobook whilst working out.

Four in five audiobook users (79%) say they are more likely to start a task they would otherwise procrastinate over, if they could do it while listening to an audiobook.

Other key finds from the Audible.com.au research reveal:

  • Let the mind run free - Audiobooks also offer creative benefits, with 91% of audiobook users claiming listening helps bring the story to life in their mind more effectively, and 33% claiming listening makes them feel calmer and less stressed.
  • Australia's untapped story potential - Almost three quarters of Aussies admit to having at least one unread book on their wish list (70%), over a quarter wish they'd read a Game of Thrones title, and a cheeky 17% of Aussies confess they wish they'd read 50 Shades of Grey.
  • The celebrity factor - more than half of Aussies would be more inclined to listen to an audiobook if a celebrity narrated it. Stephen Fry tops the list, with Scarlett Johansson pipping Magda Szubanski to the post as most enticing female voice.

Commenting on the findings, author, humourist, social commentator and mum, Gretel Killeen said audiobooks can excite, inform, comfort or seduce. 

"They're the most perfect partner I've ever had. People have so little time nowadays that it's great to be able to do two things at once; like listen to my favourite author … and completely ignore the world outside."

"With access to many of the greatest literary works every written and some of the greatest voices of our time, audiobooks use technology to bring old-fashioned storytelling to our everyday lives."

Audible Ltd spokesperson, Tracey Markham is upbeat about Australia's reaction to audiobooks.

"We're delighted by the runaway success we've seen as Australians embrace audiobooks even more rapidly than in the UK, with Audible.com.au growing at triple-digit rates year on year."

"With Aussies busier than ever before, it's no surprise we're reaching for audiobooks as a way to make the mundane all the sweeter. Whether it's listening to highly acclaimed thriller The Widow while on the edge of your train seat, or having Stephen Fry entertain the family with Harry Potter on a road-trip, the trend of multi-tasking with audiobooks will only continue to climb."

In 2015, Audible.com.au customers listened to an average of 17 audiobooks, while globally more than 1.6 billion hours of audiobooks were downloaded from Audible.



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