The Best-selling Audiobooks of 2018 (So Far)

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One way to give audiobooks the respect they deserve is to analyze the titles that are making their publishers rich. There’s nothing like a best-seller list to reveal the nation’s insecurity. We’re fiends for self-help, adding new titles to the list regularly (Girl, Wash Your Face) and keeping older, “be-a-better-you” titles selling for years. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck not only leads the nonfiction backlist, the two-year-old recording outsold all new nonfiction in’s tally.

Could some of this be a way to cleanse the palate after an encounter with another group of best sellers: takedowns of the Trump administration (Fire and Fury, A Higher Loyalty)? If so, this will only get worse, since the following list was compiled before Bob Woodward and Stormy Daniels added to the genre of presidential exploration (about which let us say no more).

A third group that pops up often are thrillers with unreliable narrators (The Woman in the Window, The Wife Between Us), books also popular with print book readers. When you come right down to it, audio sellers mirror print lists with only one exception — the audiobook/podcast hybrid West Cork, created by Audible. The phenomenally popular recording has far more in common with Serial, the groundbreaking podcast from the creators of This American Life, than it does with I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, the other true-crime title on the list. Expect to see more such hybrids, as audio publishers look to expand their niche.

New Nonfiction

1. West Cork by Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde; Audible Originals. The main suspect in the grisly 1996 death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in remote West Cork turns out to be the first person at the murder scene, and he ends up befriending Bungey and Forde.

2. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, narrated by the author; Thomas Nelson. The founder of delivers uplifting tough love with a Christian theme.

3. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, narrated by Holter Graham; Macmillan Audio. A dishy behind-the-scenes look at the Trump White House in all its glorious chaos includes the truth about the president’s hairdo.

4. A Higher Loyalty by James Comey, narrated by the author; Macmillan Audio. The ejected FBI director tells his life story and discusses ethics, leadership, and his dustup with the president.

5. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, narrated by Gabra Zackman, Gillian Flynn, and Patton Oswalt; HarperAudio. An engrossing true-crime investigation of the Golden State Killer, the serial rapist and murderer who terrorized California for more than a decade. Journalist McNamara died before the book was completed.

New Fiction

1. Outsider by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton; Simon & Schuster Audio. The arrest of the town’s popular Little League coach for the death of an 11-year-old boy seems like an open-and-shut case, with fingerprints, witnesses, and DNA, but as King fans will expect, police don’t realize what they’re dealing with.

2. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, narrated by the author; Random House Audio. Erin and her handsome investment-banker husband find a treasure in a downed plane near their Bora Bora honeymoon getaway. They decide to keep the loot. What could possibly go wrong?

3. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, narrated by Ann Marie Lee; HarperAudio. Anna Fox spies on the neighbors while taking prescription medication and drinking. When she thinks she sees something wicked happen to a neighbor, no one believes her, and she’s not so sure herself.

4. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, narrated by Julia Whelan; Macmillan Audio. A brain-teasing thriller in which a jealous ex-wife has it in for the new fiancée. Or does she?

5. The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, narrated by Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, Jeremy Davidson, and Mozhan Marnò; Hachette Audio. A high-level security breach, an assassination attempt, and a pending impeachment hearing and cyberattack are all in a day’s work for former Army Ranger and U.S. president Jonathan Lincoln Duncan.

Backlist Nonfiction

1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, narrated by Roger Wayne; HarperAudio, 2016. Manson’s reaction to the endless positivity cheerleading churned out by the self-help industry.

2. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop, narrated by the author; HarperAudio, 2017. “Wake up to the miracle you are,” Bishop admonishes. “Here’s what you’ve forgotten: You’re a fu*king miracle of being.”

3. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, narrated by the author; Audible Studios, 2016. The charming sui generis host of The Daily Show brings wit to harrowing experiences growing up at the end of South Africa’s apartheid era.

4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, narrated by Andrew MacMillan; Simon & Schuster, 2004 audio release. This 1937 self-help classic continues to fulfill the promise of its title, influencing more people than ever via audio.

5. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, narrated by Mike Chamberlain; Random House Audio, 2012. New York Times reporter Duhigg looks at the science and history of habit.

Backlist Fiction

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton; Random House Audio, 2011. A scrappy group of high-school kids take on evil corporate competitors in a contest to run the virtual world. In this dystopian future, virtual reality is the sane choice.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale, Pottermore Publishing, 2015. The first novel of the Harry Potter series still charms new fans of the boy wizard and his pals.

3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, narrated by Hope Davis, Ava DuVernay, Charlotte Jones, and the author; Listening Library, 2012. Thirteen-year-old Meg Murry sets out to rescue her scientist father in this 1962 science-fiction fantasy, perhaps the first with a female protagonist.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, narrated by Jennifer Lim; Penguin Audio, 2017. Fires and a custody battle in a wealthy Cleveland suburb.

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale; Pottermore Publishing, 2015. Harry and his pals resist pressure for racial purity — a threat to kill all Hogwarts’ students with Muggle blood — in the second book in the Potter series.

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The Best-selling Audiobooks of 2018 (So Far)