Spotify plans to take on Audible with its new collection of audiobooks

Spotify and YouTube Music apps
Spotify and YouTube Music apps (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Spotify is experimenting with audiobooks by launching its first collection, which it will use to test the user experience.
  • Classic novels like Frankenstein and Great Expectations are narrated by celebrities like Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank.
  • A new Spotify series hosted by a Harvard professor offers an analytic deep-dive of the classic novels.

Spotify isn't afraid to spread its wings and try new things. The company is constantly trying out different experimental features in an attempt to switch up its offerings beyond music. It's definitely nice to see one of the best streaming music services trying to keep things fresh and offer a plethora of audio services for its customers. The latest experiment sees the company finally breaking into audiobooks, and could end up giving Amazon a run for its money.

Spotify has just released its first collection of audiobooks today, and while the books themselves are classics found in the public domain, the main draw here is the voices behind them. Spotify has partnered with several different celebrities and public figures to record these classics, such as Forest Whitaker, Hilary Swank, and David Dobrik. And while The Hollywood Reporter notes that this isn't Spotify's first foray into audiobooks, this move does indicate the platform is getting serious about the $2.7 billion audiobooks market.

This isn't the first time Spotify partnered with celebrities to boost its content. Last year the company signed a deal with Michelle Obama for an exclusive podcast, and even worked with several celebrities to test out its Snapchat-like Stories feature for the holidays.

The available books included in this collection include the following:

  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass, narrated by Forest Whitaker
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin, narrated by Hilary Swank
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, narrated by David Dobrik
  • Persuasion by Jane Austin, narrated by Cynthia Erivo
  • Cane by Jean Toomer, narrated by Audra McDonald
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, narrated by James Langton
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, narrated by Sarah Coombs
  • Passing by Nella Larsen, narrated by Bahni Turpin
  • Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, narrated by Santino Fontana

In addition, Spotify has launched a new series,Sitting with the Classics on Spotify, which allows listeners to dissect and take an analytic look at these classic literary works, hosted by Harvard professor, Glenda Carpio.

Spotify reportedly considers this release a test to see how it can improve the experience, indicating its plans to take this feature further on its growing platform. THR notes that the feature will be available globally but promoted only in English-speaking countries. You can check out these classic titles on Spotify now.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.