If you are a fan of audiobooks -- and the numbers of people who say they are has grown impressively in recent years -- the odds are that Amazon is your preferred place to shop. Of all the ways Amazon has come to dominate the book market, especially in the digital arena, its share of audiobook sales probably represents its most formidable pre-eminence.
At the last tally (now more than a year old), more than 60 percent of audiobooks were downloaded to digital devices, and nearly all of those came from Audible (an Amazon company) or through its long-standing license to supply audiobooks to Apple's iTunes. Amazon also owns Brilliance audio, the biggest producer of CD-based audiobooks. Audiobooks are now well over a billion-dollar business, and the available figures suggest that Amazon retains a far larger piece of that revenue than any other retailer.
Amazon is having an especially good run lately compared to major competitors in the book trade. Barnes and Noble's losses in Nook sales have become so large that the company is the subject of gloomy projections about its future. And Apple has suffered a resounding defeat in the Department of Justice's antitrust case alleging its conspiracy with major publishers to set e-book prices. Amazon has no such problems, and has actually been the beneficiary of the troubles facing these other companies. Whether the issue is the popularity of the Kindle in its various reading and tablet forms or the discounted pricing of most of its millions of books, consumers seem to be increasingly conditioned (or habituated) to the convenience of Amazon's one-click technology, its efficiency in service, and the vast scale of what it has on offer.