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Audiobook services and physical booksellers challenge

The year 2021 was a record year for the printed book in both physical and e-commerce. However, 2022 has not looked as positive for the industry.

The audiobook format continues to grow in popularity, the number of Swedish households with an audiobook subscription has now passed one million. For those who don't listen to audiobooks, physical bookstores have instead grown in popularity over online ones, which is also taking away from the industry's e-commerce sales. According to the Swedish Publishers Association, physical sales rose by 10.6 percent during the third quarter of 2022, although the comparative figures are low due to the fact that sales fell sharply during the pandemic. The online booksellers have thus had to fight on two fronts: firstly against the streaming audiobook services, partly against the physical bookstores. All in all, 2022's online sales of books will be minus 10 percent.


Despite the online booksellers' setback, Adlibris is the Swedes' fifth most popular e-commerce company. The year has also offered various book-related trends that have diluted the sales of certain books. One example is "BookTok": a virtual forum on TikTok where the app's users share their book tips. The Swedish online booksellers have caught on to the trend. Among others, Adlibris, Akademibokhandeln and Bokus have special segments on their websites where they recommend books based on what is popular on "BookTok".


Source: The E-barometern 2022

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