How to Sell Audiobooks Online (3 Simple & Easy Ways)

As a webmaster with over 15 years of experience, I‘ve seen the audiobook industry explode in popularity over the recent years. In fact, audiobook sales have grown by double digits year-over-year with no signs of slowing down.

In 2021 alone, audiobook sales generated $1.4 billion in revenue, up 30% from 2020 according to findings from the Audio Publishers Association. It‘s clear that audiobooks represent an enormous income opportunity.

If you‘ve ever considered turning your blog posts, books, or content into audiobooks, you’re not alone. Many expert authors and bloggers are now tapping into the surging audiobook market to grow their audience and earn more income streams.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share the 3 proven methods I’ve used with clients to sell audiobooks online successfully:

1. Sell Audiobooks on Audible

Audible dominates the audiobook space. Owned by Amazon, Audible reaches millions of loyal subscribers around the world.

In fact, Audible has an estimated 80–90% market share of the audiobook industry based on available sales data. As you can expect, Audible provides by far the widest reach and biggest platform to sell your audiobooks.

Here are my tips to publish and sell your audiobook through Audible:

Sign up for ACX

ACX is Audible‘s platform that connects authors like yourself with producers and narrators to turn your book into an audiobook. You can narrate your own book or have it done professionally.

For non-fiction books, I usually recommend authors narrate their own audiobooks as it adds more personality and authority. You can have samples of your audiobook reviewed by ACX to ensure quality standards before publishing the full version.

Add proper metadata

You need to submit important information along with your audiobook files to Audible such as title, author name, cover art, detailed description, keywords, categories, etc.

Providing good metadata improves the chances of your audiobook appearing in relevant searches and being discovered by readers. So be thorough and follow Audible’s content guidelines closely.

Pick a pricing model

Audible offers two pricing models:

  1. Exclusive: You get 40% royalties but your audiobook is only available on Audible and nowhere else.

  2. Non-Exclusive: You get 25% royalties but can also sell your audiobook elsewhere. This is more flexible but exclusivity helps with promotions on Audible.

For most authors, I recommend starting with exclusive distribution, especially when you‘re just getting started. You can switch to non-exclusive later. The extra promotion and royalties help offset Audible‘s exclusivity requirements.

Quality check

It‘s critical that your finished audiobook meets Audible‘s production quality standards before you publish. Listen closely for any issues and be prepared to re-record sections if needed.

Poor audio quality is one of the main reasons audiobooks get rejected by Audible, so don’t rush this step. Doing multiple rounds of edits will ensure a smooth approval process.

Publish your audiobook

With your audiobook files and metadata ready, you can submit it for review. Audible will examine factors like audio quality, formatting, metadata, ownership rights, etc.

As long as you checked all the boxes above, your audiobook should get approved after following Audible’s review process.

Once published, your audiobook will now be available for sale on Audible as well as Amazon and Apple iTunes in most countries. Congrats on joining the ranks of Audible authors!

Market your audiobook

While Audible will randomly recommend and showcase select new titles, you can’t rely on that alone. The onus is still on you to actively promote your new audiobook.

Some effective marketing tactics include:

  • Emailing your current readers list
  • Promoting on social media
  • Running ads on Audible and podcasts
  • Offering free review copies to influencers
  • Pitching your audiobook to the media
  • Cross-promoting it on your website and blog

The major benefit of Audible is you instantly gain access to their vast customer base. But you still need to put in the work to stand out and get your audiobook discovered.

Track sales and royalties

Within your ACX dashboard, you’ll get access to detailed sales reports on number of titles sold, returns, promotions, royalties earned, geographic breakdowns, and more.

Review these periodically to get insights on how your audiobook is performing and which marketing initiatives are working. ACX will handle paying your royalties automatically each month.

2. Sell Audiobook Memberships

In addition to selling individual audiobooks, you can also offer audiobook subscriptions. Thisrecurring revenue modelprovides stable, long-term income.

Here are some tips on how to create and sell audiobook memberships successfully:

Create exclusive content

The biggest draw of any membership program is exclusive content. Record audiobooks that are only available to paying members.

This gives existing members a reason to renew their subscriptions and convinces new customers to sign up. You can even produce exclusive audiobooks on a consistent basis to encourage retention.

Offer multiple tiers

Don’t limit yourself to just one membership level. Provide options like a monthly plan, annual plan, etc. with different audiobook allowances to cater to diverse budgets.

For example, the monthly plan could include 1 audiobook per month while the annual plan allows unlimited access to your full audiobook catalog. Different tiers increase the chances of converting sales.

Promote on your website

Don’t hide your audiobook membership program. Prominently showcase it on your website with banners, testimonials, benefit-driven copy, etc. so visitors can easily learn about it.

Place links and preview content throughout your site funneling people towards signing up for a plan that suits them. This helps convert your existing site traffic into paying members.

Automate signup

Manually adding new members and keeping track of cancellations is extremely cumbersome. Using a plugin like MemberPress allows you to easily create and manage memberships including automating signup.

When everything is automated, it makes joining your audiobook membership seamless. Removing any friction in the signup process leads to higher conversion rates.

Send promotional emails

Don’t go silent once users become members. Send them promotional emails with insider updates like new audiobook releases, special deals, contests, etc.

Email is crucial for generating audiobook membership renewals. Promotional messaging reminds members to stay engaged and keep their membership active.

Build a community

Let your members interact with each other via online forums. Building a community improves customer loyalty and retention as members feel more connected.

You can also crowdsource audiobook ideas and topics to cover from engaged community members. This helps ensure you produce audiobooks subscribers actually want to hear.

Offer bundles

Package or “bundle” your audiobook membership with other products/services to improve perceived value. This creates an irresistible deal with big savings that appeal to buyers.

Some options include bundling with physical books, video courses, custom coaching, in-person events, etc. Bundles attract new members and reduce churn of existing ones.

Make leaving difficult

Institute tactics to prevent membership cancellations including requiring a mandatory notice period for ending subscriptions or limiting access to Audiobooks once they end membership.

The goal is to get members so reliant on your exclusive audiobook access that quitting becomes unthinkable. These retention techniques keep income stable.

Selling audiobook memberships takes more work but provides predictable recurring revenue when done right. Keep providing value through new audiobooks and perks so members never have a reason to leave.

3. Sell Audiobooks Directly From Your Website

While Audible may seem tempting, having your own website gives you full control, wider profit margins, and the ability to build direct relationships with buyers.

Here are some tips to successfully sell audiobooks directly from your own website:

Pick a platform

You need a platform to power audiobook sales on your website. Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce are great plugins that handle secure payment processing, hosting your audio files, sending download links, etc.

For beginners, I recommend Easy Digital Downloads with its simple setup and features tailored specifically for digital products like audiobooks. But evaluate your options.

Offer audio formats

Don’t just stick to one audio format. Provide your audiobooks as MP3, AAC, FLAC, etc. to maximize device and browser compatibility for customers.

Supporting multiple formats ensures a smooth listening experience for buyers no matter their setup. This removes tech hurdles that can block sales.

Have secure checkout

Use an SSL certificate to make your website HTTPS secure and only use validated payment gateways like Stripe or PayPal. This builds trust with customers providing credit card details to purchase audiobooks.

Abandoned cart rates shoot up drastically on sites lacking security. Don’t let audiobook buyers drop off due to such easily fixable issues.

Promotional pricing

Sweeten the deal with promotional pricing strategies:

  • Introductory discounts on first purchase
  • Bundled pricing (e.g. buy 2 get 1 free)
  • Limited-time sales pricing
  • Free first audiobook for new customers

Pricing incentives help attract new audiobook buyers and incentivize referrals. Just ensure you’re still earning a decent profit per sale.

SEO optimization

Follow SEO best practices so your audiobook pages appear in search engines when people look for related keywords and topics. This brings in relevant organic traffic.

Optimize page titles, descriptions, alt text, content, etc. guest posting and backlinks to popular sites in your niche also improves search visibility.

Social proof

Sprinkle testimonials, ratings, and reviews from real customers who enjoyed your audiobook throughout the site. This provides social proof that your audiobooks are worth buying.

People trust recommendations from others over generic sales copy. User-generated content builds credibility and reputation for your audiobook business.

Retarget shoppers

Remarket to website visitors who left without buying through retargeting ads and cart abandonment emails. This gives you a second chance at making the sale.

According to studies, 95% of site visitors leave without buying anything on the first visit. Retargeting nudges prospects who showed initial interest.

New release emails

Notify your email subscriber list about new audiobook releases. Send a short personalized email introducing each audiobook with a purchase link.

Email subscribers are already buyers or at least interested prospects. Alert them right away about fresh audiobook inventory before promoting publicly.

Affiliate marketing

Let bloggers, influencers, podcasters, and other creators join your affiliate program to promote your audiobooks to their audience in exchange for commissions per sale.

Affiliates allow you to scale promotions exponentially. Just ensure clear rules and metrics tracking are in place.

Selling directly from your website provides you full control over the buying experience and customer relationship. While it involves more work, the autonomy and higher profit potential make it worthwhile.


Selling online opens up a global audience for your audiobooks. With the strategies above tailored for your specific goals and niche, you can build a sustainable audiobook business that keeps growing.

I recommend starting small, continually testing new tactics, being flexible to pivot based on data, and reinvesting revenue into improving your audiobook catalog and marketing.

If you found this guide useful, please let me know in the comments if you have any other audiobook selling questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow authors and bloggers.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.