Spotify has begun rolling out audiobook support for users in the US.
An entirely new section of the Spotify app will grant subscribers (Premium or otherwise) access to a catalog of more than 300,000 audiobook titles, with each book available to purchase or preview via web pages outside of the app itself.
Purchased audiobooks will sit alongside music and podcasts in users' libraries, Home recommendations and in Search, while not-yet-purchased titles will appear with a lock icon over their respective play buttons. Audiobooks will be available in the Spotify app on both mobile and desktop.
Listeners can download purchased content for offline listening, and Spotify's automatic bookmarking feature will save their place so they can easily pick up where they left off. Speed control is also included, giving users a variety of options to speed up or slow down the pace of an audiobook.
"We’re excited to launch audiobooks with a brand-new user interface that’s geared specifically [towards] listening to audiobooks and fits them seamlessly alongside the music and podcasts you already listen to and love," Spotify executive Nir Zicherman said in an interview accompanying the announcement.
"This is just the beginning of Spotify’s audiobooks journey. We’ve been working to create a seamless audiobooks experience, and we’ll continue to build and innovate on this in the future," Zicherman added.
As mentioned, audiobook support is limited to Spotify users in the US for now, but Zicherman alluded to the company's plans to launch the feature in additional markets during his aforementioned interview on For the Record.
Spotify's move into the audiobook space doesn't come as a surprise. The music streaming service has been experimenting with the medium for several years, and it's long-term intentions were laid bare following the acquisition of audiobook platform Findaway in November 2021.
Spotify executives will be hoping that the platform's full-scale expansion into audiobooks dents the popularity of rival services like Audible, Blinkist and Scribd, while also giving Spotify the upper-hand over arch-rival Apple Music.
In the US, at least, Spotify now exists as a one-stop-shop for music, podcasts and audiobooks – a combination we've not seen before in the streaming industry.
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Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.