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How to Sell Audiobooks Online [Ultimate Audiobook Author Guide]

Last updated: July 17, 2023

Audiobooks have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a convenient way for people to enjoy literature while on the go. If you’re an aspiring author or an author who has already published or self-published a book, selling audiobooks online can be a lucrative venture where you can attract a whole new audience who prefers listening to audiobooks.

In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of how to create audiobooks and how to sell them online, whether on your website, through memberships, or on popular marketplaces like Amazon and Audible. We’ll also provide tips on marketing your audiobooks and answer some frequently asked questions. If you’re ready to seize this opportunity, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about making money by selling audiobooks.

Here are the quick links to the topics that we’ll cover in this article:

Why Should You Sell Audiobooks Online?

how to sell audiobooks

Audiobooks have experienced significant growth in the digital age, providing a convenient alternative to traditional reading. In 2021 alone, the audiobook industry in the United States saw impressive growth, with sales reaching a substantial 1.6 billion U.S. dollars, and this number is expected to grow over the years!

Here are a few main reasons why selling audiobooks online can be a smart business move:

  1. Growing Market Demand: Audiobooks attract a diverse audience, including busy professionals, commuters, and people with visual impairments (audience groups whom you may have underserved through traditional print book publishing alone). By selling audiobooks online, you can reach a broader demographic and cater to different reading preferences. This vastly growing audiobook consumption is also evident with the rising average number of audiobooks listened to by consumers in the US starting 2018.
  2. High Profit Margin and Scalability: As digital products, audiobooks can be easily distributed worldwide with minimal costs. There are no physical copies to produce or ship, eliminating logistical challenges and expenses. Authors can sell unlimited copies of their audiobooks without incurring extra expenses, resulting in higher profit margins as sales increase.
  3. Multiple Revenue Streams: Authors can earn royalties from sales on various platforms, such as their own website, marketplaces like Amazon and Audible, and through library lending programs. Additionally, audiobook subscriptions and membership models can provide recurring income as readers access audiobooks on a subscription basis.

How to Create Your Audiobook

There are two main approaches to creating audiobooks:

Turn Books into Audiobooks

If you already have written content, such as published books or manuscripts, converting them into audiobooks can be a great way to expand your offerings. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Recording your audiobook: Choose a professional narrator with a captivating voice to bring your book to life. Alternatively, if you have the skills and equipment, you can narrate the audiobook yourself.
  2. Editing: Set up a quiet recording environment and use high-quality recording equipment. Ensure that the audio is clear and free of background noise. Edit the recordings to remove any mistakes or distractions.
  3. Post-production: Enhance the audio quality by adding appropriate background music or sound effects. Normalize the volume levels and ensure a consistent listening experience throughout the audiobook.

Create an Audiobook from Scratch

If you don’t have existing written content, you can create an audiobook from scratch. Here’s how:

  1. Choose a Topic: Select a subject that you’re knowledgeable or passionate about. Research the market to identify popular audiobook genres and topics that resonate with your target audience.
  2. Scripting: Prepare a well-structured script that covers the key points of your topic. Consider using conversational language and engaging storytelling techniques to captivate listeners.
  3. Recording and Editing: Follow the same recording and editing process mentioned earlier to produce a professional-sounding audiobook.

How to Sell Audiobooks on Your Website

The best way to sell audiobooks online is through your own website.

One of the main reasons is that you’ll be the captain of your financial ship, pocketing a glorious 100% of your hard-earned sales. Compare that to third-party marketplaces like Audible or Amazon, where those platforms tend to snatch a hefty chunk of your well-deserved income through royalties and fees.

But that’s not all! Selling on your own website allows you to provide a personalized experience for your customers and retain more control over your sales. You call the shots on pricing, create irresistible sales funnels, and wield the design wand to mold your site and product pages just the way you like. Plus, the future holds endless possibilities for monetizing your website in innovative ways such as selling additional products like digital downloads (PDFs, printables, etc), eBooks, merch, memberships, courses, coaching, and more!

Now, don’t sweat it if you’re not a tech wizard. Building your own online store is easy and you won’t break out in sweats! We’ll show you how you can sell audiobooks on your website FOR FREE (yes, with no budget and no technical headaches!). Here’s how you can do it:

1. Sign up for a free account on Payhip


Payhip is an eCommerce platform for digital products. You can sell any digital products such as audiobooks, eBooks, courses, coaching, memberships, and even physical products as well!

Here’s a sneak peek at the amazing features you’ll enjoy with Payhip:

  • Generous forever-free plan: You’ll get unlimited access to the entire platform’s features for free! There’s a 5% fee for every order (up to a maximum of $99/month)
  • Powerful and beginner-friendly website builder and free themes
  • Free fully hosted website/storefront
  • Automatic delivery of your audiobooks (or any other digital products) to your customers for instant download
  • Instant and secure payout via Paypal and Stripe
  • Maximize your revenue with free marketing tools such as discount code, affiliate marketing, referral system, cross-sell, upsell, and more

Sign up for a free Payhip account to explore the platform yourself. No payment information required. Explore the platform at your own pace and decide if it’s the perfect fit for your needs.


Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip

2. Upload your audiobook

In your Payhip account, go to the Products tab then click the ‘Add new product’ button. Next, select the Digital Product category, and you’ll be taken to the screen where you can add your product details.

add new product payhip

Uploading your audiobook on Payhip is very intuitive, but if you need a little extra help, there’s a free comprehensive guide on how to upload your product listings here.

You’ll also be able to organize your audiobooks into various product collections by genre, author, or any other relevant categories.

3. Set up your payout information

To begin receiving payments from your customers, you’ll need to set up your payment details. Payhip provides a secure and seamless integration with Stripe and Paypal, enabling you to connect with either or both platforms. If you haven’t created a Stripe or Paypal account yet, don’t worry, you can sign up for a free account directly through Payhip’s dashboard settings.


4. Customize your storefront

With Payhip, you have the freedom to fully customize the appearance of your website or online store to match your unique style. By accessing the Store Builder feature, you can create a professional and visually stunning website using a user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder. You don’t need any technical coding skills to make it happen! For a more comprehensive guide, check out this video tutorial on how to build a website for free from scratch.

(If you already have an existing website and are just looking to embed your audiobook into your site, please refer to the following section.)

In terms of domain names, you’ll get a free domain name from Payhip with the following format[yourcustomname]. This should be sufficient for most authors, but you can also connect a custom domain name if you’d like. Simply purchase a custom domain name from any domain provider (e.g. GoDaddy) and connect it to your Payhip account from your Payhip dashboard. Choose a domain name that’s memorable and relevant for audiobook authors (e.g. your author name or book title).

I already have my own website – How do I embed and sell my audiobook on my existing site?

If you already have your own website, you can easily embed any or all of your products that you’ve uploaded on Payhip on your existing website so that your customers won’t have to leave your website in order to make purchases. You’ll still be able to enjoy all of the amazing features from Payhip for free (e.g. instant delivery, payment gateways, etc).

To do this, simply upload your audiobook and set up your payment information (follow steps 1, 2, and 3 above). Once you’re done, you’ll see that every single product you’ve uploaded has an embed option. Simply click on it and paste the embed code into your existing website. This will effectively enable a shopping cart on your existing website, allowing your website visitors to make purchases directly from your existing site.

How to Sell Audiobooks through Memberships

Other than setting up an online store like what you’ve read in the section above, you can also create a membership website. A membership site is an online platform where you can offer exclusive content, such as your audiobooks, to members who have subscribed or paid for access. It provides a controlled environment for you to distribute and monetize your content to a specific audience.

Members typically pay a recurring fee to access your audiobook content. You can also offer other exclusive content such as behind the scenes, polls or surveys to interact with your members, and so much more.

Membership sites are great at offering a reliable and consistent source of revenue due to the recurring fees charged to members, such as monthly or annual subscriptions. This predictable stream of income provides stability and financial security for you as an author to continue producing high quality content for your loyal members.

Payhip provides powerful features for you to be able to set up your membership site without any technical skills. The best part? You guessed it, it’s also FREE! If this sounds unfamiliar or overwhelming to you, don’t worry, we recommend checking out this step-by-step guide on how to set up your membership site for free.

How to Sell Audiobooks on Marketplaces (ACX, Amazon and Audible)

While selling on your website provides the highest profit margin, some authors may also want to leverage established marketplaces like Amazon, iTunes Connect (Apple books) and Audible which can give your audiobooks greater visibility and access to a vast customer base. You may also want to consider platforms like ACX which helps you to distribute your audiobooks to several online marketplaces at the same time.

To get started, you’ll need to sign up for platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange). Follow their guidelines for formatting and publishing your audiobooks.

These online marketplaces will pay you royalties based on your monthly sales. However, they will also take a significant portion of your sales revenue as compensation.

The royalties that authors receive through ACX depend on whether you grant exclusive or non-exclusive distribution rights.

Granting ACX exclusive distribution rights earns you a 40% royalty rate for sales on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. However, it restricts you from selling your audiobook elsewhere, including your own website.

Granting ACX non-exclusive distribution rights earns you a lower royalty rate of 25% for sales on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. However, you retain the freedom to distribute your audiobook elsewhere.

We recommend opting for non-exclusive distribution. This allows you to sell your audiobook through your own website and keep 100% of the profits earned through that channel. Simultaneously, you can still reach customers through popular marketplaces, giving you the best of both worlds.

Remember that you can sell your audiobooks on your website AND on online marketplaces like Amazon and Audible all at the same time as long as you are not under any exclusivity contracts. So spread your wings far and wide to increase your audiobook sales!

Marketing Your Audiobooks

To maximize the visibility and sales of your audiobooks, invest time and effort in marketing. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Author Website and Blog: Maintain an engaging website and regularly publish blog posts related to your audiobooks, writing process, and industry insights. Optimize your website for search engines to improve organic traffic.
  • Obtain Reviews: Audiobook reviews act as social proof, providing potential buyers with authentic feedback from other readers. Positive reviews create trust and credibility, increasing the likelihood that new customers will take a chance on your audiobook.
  • Social Media Presence: Leverage platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn to connect with readers, share updates, and build a community around your audiobooks. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list of interested readers and send regular newsletters with updates, exclusive offers, and recommendations. Personalize the content to establish a stronger connection with your subscribers.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Partner with influencers, bloggers, or podcasters in your niche to promote your audiobooks to their audience. Offer free copies or affiliate partnerships to incentivize their support.


Top Selling Audiobook Genres

Literature & Fiction emerged as the reigning champions in the audiobook realm, with a staggering 4.93 million copies sold in the US. Here are the top selling audiobook genres sorted from highest to lowest number of sales in the US:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Mystery, thriller, and suspense
  • Romance
  • Fiction

How to Price Your Audiobook

When determining the price of your audiobook, consider factors such as its length, production costs, market demand, and competitive analysis. Look at the pricing of similar audiobooks in your genre to get an idea of the average price range. It’s generally advisable to set a competitive price that reflects the value of your audiobook while enticing potential buyers. Here’s a useful pricing guideline:

  1. Short Audiobooks (Up to 3 hours): These are typically priced around $3 to $10, considering their shorter duration.
  2. Medium-length Audiobooks (3 to 10 hours): The average price range for audiobooks in this duration is between $10 and $20.
  3. Longer Audiobooks (10 to 20 hours): For audiobooks falling within this category, prices usually range from $20 to $30.
  4. Epic-length Audiobooks (20+ hours): Audiobooks with extensive narration often have higher price points, ranging from $30 to $50 or more.

Audiobooks are digital gems that keep on giving. Once you’ve finished the book writing process and priced your masterpiece, there’s no limit to how many times it can be sold. That means one thing: a steady stream of passive income flowing effortlessly into your pockets. Wake up to the sweet sound of money, earned even while you sleep.

Final Thoughts – Selling Audiobooks Online

Selling audiobooks online provides a tremendous opportunity to share your stories, knowledge, or expertise with a vast audience while generating income. Whether you choose to sell through your website, memberships, or marketplaces like Amazon and Audible, remember to focus on creating high-quality content, implementing effective marketing strategies, and staying informed about industry trends.

Selecting the right platform to build your audiobook store is important and can make or break your business. Platforms like Payhip are equipped with everything you need to start your audiobook business (for free!) and grow with unlimited potential. Sign up for a free account on Payhip to start your dream online business within less than 5 minutes.

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