The audiobook subscription service Storytel announced this past week that it has surpassed 300,000 paying subscribers in its homeland Sweden, with Swedes listening to almost 100 million hours in 2017, compared with 65 million hours the year before.
In November Storytel reported being just below 300,000 with a total of 530,000 subscribers, since when it launched in India and has grown its base in all Storytel countries, hence the 250,000 elsewhere subscriber value in my headline.
The news comes as Storytel ups its game in India (where it launched in late 2017 –
and had a strong presence at the just-ended New Delhi World Book Fair.
It also comes as Storytel ups its game in Spain (launched September) where it is running TV campaigns to get noticed.
In December TNPS reported on Storytel’s plans for Italy –
and a glance at the Storytel homepage now reveals Storytel is planning on reach in no less than thirty countries.
Currently Storytel has operations in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain and India, and was rumoured to be aiming for a launch in the United Arab Emirates in 2017.
That last one didn’t happen, but I’m confident we’ll see it soon, as the UAE, along with the US, UK, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey are all countries listed on the homepage, the link taking us to an option to be put on the waiting list for further news.
This is not some random exercise in domain blagging – noticeable and surprising exceptions are Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and the major South American Spanish-speaking countries.
Most significantly, late last year Storytel made acquisitions in Iceland, Bulgaria and Turkey (just prior to the launch of TNPS, so not covered here previously).
- D&D Factory, Bulgaria, the operation behind the Bulgarian audiobook service Audioknigi
- Seslenenkitap, an audiobook company in Turkey
- Skynjun, the Icelandic audio-book publisher and internet retailer Skynjun
all leading audiobook operators in their countries.
Of the countries on the Storytel homepage, only China raises an eyebrow here at TNPS. That would be an impressive achievement.
For the rest, it’s just a matter of when.
The Amazon Kindle and Audible countries are a good bet for Storytel as publishers will be eager for any other reach they can get to balance Amazon’s power, and of course the countries where Amazon has no interest are pretty much open goals for Storytel.
While print and ebooks are a feature of Storytel’s wider operation, it is audiobooks that are clearly Storytel’s focus, and while Storytel cannot hope to compete with Amazon’s deep pockets when it comes to matching Audible in the handful of countries in which Audible operates, it seems very likely Storytel will be the predominant player in global audio production as we countdown to the next decade.