The audiobook business is booming in Sweden although physical book stores are fighting for survival due to social distancing rules, according to statistics released on Thursday.
While total revenues of audiobooks were up by 8.7 percent in 2020, the sales of physical books took a hit with a 19.1 percent decline, showed the annual report by the Swedish Book Dealers' Association and the Swedish Publishers' Association.
They conclude that the pandemic has been a boon for the audiobook business, as the sales increased more than ever before, including 2020 when the VAT on books was reduced.
This shows that there is a great desire to read throughout the country, the report's author Erik Wikberg told news agency TT.
The dry explanation is that we have had a lot of free time and not so much competition from anything else. It could also be that we have needed literature on existential issues and escapism.
While reading in the time of COVID-19 might have relieved what some may perceive as one hundred years of solitude, audiobooks too have gained popularity.
Wikberg also had a theory regarding this: When it comes to audiobooks, we also know that the social factor itself -- hearing a different voice -- may be important for so many who are alone during the pandemic.