What you need to know
- Spotify has launched support for audiobooks in the United States.
- The app will display a dedicated hub for audiobooks in a user's library, as well as in homepage recommendations and the Search tab.
- There are more than 300,000 titles available at launch, which will be introduced in more markets in the future.
Spotify has officially confirmed that it is launching audiobooks in the United States, expanding into a new market where competitors such as Apple Music already have a presence.
The latest change means that, aside from music and podcast tabs, you'll now start seeing a dedicated hub for audiobook titles. Initially, more than 300,000 titles are available on the platform, with plans to grow its selection. Spotify also intends to bring this new offering to more markets in the future.
"The offering available today in the U.S. is just the first iteration of audiobooks on Spotify," Nir Zicherman, Spotify’s vice president and global head of audiobooks and gated content, said in an interview (opens in new tab) on For the Record. "We’ll learn a lot through this launch and leverage those learnings as we enhance the experience with new features, plan for launches in additional markets, and innovate on the format to benefit listeners, authors, and publishers."
Titles you purchased will show up in your library, as well as in homepage recommendations and the Search tab. Meanwhile, titles you don't own yet will show a lock icon on the play button to indicate that you'll have to pay for access. You won't be able to purchase titles within the app, though: Spotify will redirect you to a checkout page on its website, where you can preview and eventually buy an audiobook.
Spotify's audiobook service includes the standard features found on other similar platforms, such as the ability to download content for offline listening, adjust the playback speed, and rate titles.
If you've been following Spotify's moves, its audiobook plans were heralded by its acquisition of audiobook platform Findaway late last year. Prior to that, it began experimenting with audiobooks by launching its first collection earlier last year.
The company's latest announcement demonstrates its growing ambition to diversify its offerings beyond music. It should be refreshing to see one of the best music streaming services try new things, though it remains to be seen whether it will make a dent in a market already dominated by Amazon's Audible.
Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.
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