Sweden’s BookBeat Reports 28 Percent More Paying Users in 2023

In News by Porter Anderson

BookBeat CEO Niclas Sandin says he has ‘high expectations’ in 2024 for growth in Norway, the Netherlands, and Poland.

NIclas Sandin. Image: BookBeat

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Also today: UK’s Society of Authors Calls for More Clarity in Spotify’s Terms

Paying Users in 2023: 915,000
A heavy season of audiobook news continues today (February 22) with the Society of Authors’ statement on Findaway Voices by Spotify’s terms of use in the UK and news from Stockholm’s BookBeat of a major jump of 28 percent in paying users in 2023.

Bookbeat, you’ll recall, is a Bonnier-owned competitor of Storytel in the avidly listening Nordic suite of audio markets.

Total revenue for the company, CEO Niclas Sandin says, was 1.122 billion Swedish kroner in 2023 (US$118.2 million), up from 877 million kroner in 2022 (US$8,4 million). More than 70 percent of revenue, Sandin says, came from international markets outside of Sweden

The jump in paying users he says, represents the arrival of some 200,000 newcomers, pushing the 2023 total to 915,000, over 715,000 in 2022. And in the fourth quarter, BookBeat reported a positive EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization).

The largest group of new users in 2023, Sandin says, was between 25 and 34 years old. On a full-year basis, a BookBeat user paid an average of more than 1,500 Swedish kroner for the service (including VAT).

Of that revenue, the majority of the income, Sandin says, went back to the publishers and authors. And Sandin stresses that since BookBeat’s full launch in 2016 through the end of 2023, publishers in Sweden and offshore have been paid an aggregate 2.65 Swedish kroner.

Since BookBeat was fully launched in 2016 until the end of 2023, SEK 2.65 billion has been paid out to publishers in Sweden and internationally.

‘Looking To Grow More Than 20 Percent’ in 2024

In a prepared statement, Sandin says, “Passing the billion mark is an incredible milestone for BookBeat.

“In established markets such as Sweden, Germany, and Finland—where more than 300,000 of the 5.5 million inhabitants already use BookBeat—we see great potential in attracting new listeners who haven’t yet tried audiobooks.”Niclas Sandin, BookBeat

“It feels almost unreal,” he says, “that the service we started building eight years ago has become a natural part of more than 900,000 people’s everyday lives, both in Sweden and internationally. While we increased revenue by 28 percent in 2023, we also achieved a positive result in the fourth quarter.

“I’m proud of the team for showing that we can not only grow, but also succeed in the balancing act of a profitable and sustainable way.”

He adds that the group averaging some 1,500 kroner annually (US$145) is around 30 years of age.

In terms of goals for this year, Sandin says he’s looking to grow more than 20 percent, moving past 1 million paying users, and showing a positive EBITA result for the entire year.

And so far, so good. In January, he says, BookBeat reached its highest number of new users and increased the inflow in all markets compared to 2023. “This was also reflected in revenues,” he says, “which grew by 25 percent in January compared to 2023.

We’ve created a momentum that we’ll continue to build on. In established markets such as Sweden, Germany, and Finland—where, for example, more than 300,000 of the 5.5 million inhabitants already use BookBeat—we see great potential in attracting new listeners who haven’t yet tried audiobooks.

“It confirms the start of the year when we broke all previous records for new users. And in 2024, we also have high expectations for our growth markets, Norway, the Netherlands, and Poland.

More from Publishing Perspectives on BookBeat is here, more on audiobooks is here, and more from us on the wider field of digital publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

Facebook Twitter

Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.