Making an Audiobook — How Long Does it Take?

You might have already noticed, but audiobooks are significantly more expensive compared to ebooks. Some of the reasons for that are obvious — listening to someone reading you a book over your headphones or speakers allows you to relax, nap, keep your eyes closed, go for a run, ride in the bus or do anything you’d like while still going through the book you’ve always wanted to read.

You will appreciate audiobooks a lot more after reading and being aware of everything it takes to successfully create and publish an audiobook. Or, perhaps, you want to create one on your own. In that case, it’s even more important to be aware of all the steps and effort it takes to do that.


It might sound simple, but creating an audiobook isn’t simply reading something that’s already written on the paper. Professional narrators always analyze the genre of the book, the characters, and try to find a proper way to portray them with their voice.

Rehearsing certain parts is unavoidable if you want to create a top-notch product. Going through the book once just to get the idea of the flow and preparing yourself for what’s about to come is the key to success.

The Time

And now the most important question — how long does it take to create an audiobook? The short answer is about six hours for eight thousand words. That’s just an estimate which professionals came up with and, depending on the type of content you’re reading and your level of expertise, this number can vary a lot.

It actually takes only around an hour to read 8,000 words. Well, where did the additional five hours come from? That’s the hard part about making an audiobook. You’ll need three to four hours to edit each hour of the recorded material. This, again, depends on your experience and the type of adjustments you’re making along the way.

Quality control check is the crucial part of it. Every hour of the recorded material requires two hours worth of proper quality control checks. This includes making sure that the entire recording sounds perfectly “natural” from start to finish. Although it takes much longer to write a book, recording one isn’t an easy task either.

Selling an audiobook is yet another problem, and even though we won’t go into details, there are a couple of things you should know about it. Focusing on world-renowned novels everyone knows about means that you’re entering an extremely crowded place where hundreds of professional narrators have already published an audio version of the book. Unless you have established a certain reputation, focusing on specific niches might be a better option.

This results in a lot less competition, increasing the odds of people buying your version of the audiobook. For beginners, it is recommended that they start with shorter books, maybe some longer articles, or personal blog posts. If you are a writer and would like to publish a recorded version as well, you can either do it yourself or hire someone skilled enough to do it for you.