Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Move over Audible, Spotify Premium now includes audiobooks



Key Takeaways

  • Spotify Premium subscribers now have access to over 150,000 audiobooks, rivaling Audible’s offerings.
  • The audiobooks are included in the existing subscription, unlike Audible, which requires an additional monthly fee.


If you were wondering whether your Spotify Premium subscription was still good value for money, then the move into audiobooks represents a significant addition. Spotify has announced that it is adding access to over 150,000 audiobooks for Spotify Premium subscribers, taking the fight directly to Audible.

Audible offers over 200,000 titles, but it is not included in the Amazon Prime subscription and requires a separate monthly payment. Spotify, however, is taking a different approach, making its audiobooks available as part of the existing subscription service starting 4 October – that’s right away – listeners in the UK and Australia will have access to audiobooks if they are Spotify Premium subscribers. The company promises that the US will follow, but there’s currently no date on when that will happen.

It’s not quite as simple as just having instant access to all those titles: you get access to 15 hours of listening with your Spotify Premium subscription, with an additional 10-hour listening periods available to buy as a top-up. There will be a Sleep Timer within the app to stop you from running down your time when you’re not actually listening, as well as being able to track monthly listening time in the app.

That arrangement isn’t too dissimilar to Audible’s arrangement, which offers access to a number of books on a tiered subscription. A typical audiobook is around 10 hours of listening, so Spotify Premium’s offering will likely get you through one book a month – the equivalent of Audible’s £7.99 a month offering.

At face value, this looks like a great offering if you’re already a Spotify subscriber, but be aware that only books marked as “Included with Premium” are eligible. That might mean that some titles aren’t available to you, suggesting they will have to be purchased separately.

Spotify Premium subscribers will be able to download audiobooks for offline listening, and there will be bookmarking so you can easily find your way back to resume listening later. What you won’t get, however, is that crossover with Amazon Kindle that you can have through Whispersync, where Audible listeners can switch between reading on a Kindle or listening (if they have access to both versions).

Spotify says you’ll be able to access titles from bestselling authors like Stephen King, Richard Osman, Michelle Obama and more. Spotify aims to become the premium destination for audio, with over 100 million music tracks, 5 million podcasts and now 150,000 audiobooks.

What still remains missing from Spotify’s arsenal, however, is hi-res audio. Long rumoured and now in high demand, the likes of Apple Music, Amazon Music, and, of course, Tidal all offer access to Dolby Atmos music, Ultra HD music and a whole collection of other advanced audio formats. In recent years, support for higher-quality music formats has also been expanded across phones and headphones, leaving Spotify as the outsider.

So, while the addition of audiobooks is a boon for Spotify Premium subscribers, for many, it probably wasn’t the announcement they were expecting.



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