Amid the overall success story of the rising Russian audiobook market, one company stands out for exceptional achievement. Storytel only established its office in Russia in June 2017 and did not become fully active until December, yet is already claiming 15% of the market, equal to better-established rival Patefon, and ahead of all the other competitors except LitRes, Russia’s Kommersant reports.
The Storytel market share is all the more remarkable given that, of its catalogue of 60,000 titles 50,000 are in English.
With 57% of the audiobook market, LitRes will prove hard to dislodge, having seen 72% audiobook growth in 2017, as previously reported here at TNPS.
For LitRes audiobooks made up 17% of its sales volume in 2017 but has already increased to 19% as of Q1 2018.
The estimated 500 million ruble value of the Russian audio book ($8.7 million) needs to be seen against the overall digital market of 3.7 billion rubles ($68 million).
Ebooks continue to see impressive growth after several years of stagnation, and LitRes is very much the “Kindle store of Russia”, dominating not only the Russian marketplace but also venturing into neighbouring countries such as Estonia, Ukraine and Poland.
But with its split focus on both ebooks and audiobooks LitRes may find Storytel tough competition. LitRes has set up its own recording studios, but Storytel is a proven master of audio-book production and marketing.
The safe bet is LitRes and Storytel will carve up the Russian audiobook market between them, leaving little room for smaller competitors to develop, and leaving little room for an entrance by the other global audiobook player, Amazon-owned Audible.