Spotify announces launch of audiobooks for US listeners

The Spotify logo on a smartphone held in Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands, on Saturday, January 29, 2022.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Spotify users in the US will now be able to buy and listen to more than 300,000 different audiobook titles, the company announced on Tuesday.

The streaming company’s foray into audiobooks marks its latest attempt to turn the platform into a one-stop shop for all things audio. Spotify introduced podcasts in 2015 and is now home to more than 4.4 million of them, according to its second quarter earnings report.

The company decided to introduce audiobooks because they represent a “significantly untapped market,” Nir Zicherman, Spotify’s vice president and global head of audiobooks and closed content, said in Tuesday’s release. Zicherman said the segment is growing about 20% year over year despite only accounting for a 6% to 7% share of the current book market.

The move also brings Spotify into more direct competition with Amazon-owned Audible, which was the market leader in 2018 with 41% market share according to the Codex Group, and Amazon also sells e-books under its own brand. Other competitors include Apple, Google and Rakuten, which has partnered with Walmart.

Spotify users interested in listening to audiobooks can find them in their search, library and their curated recommendations on their website. The audiobooks have a lock icon above the play button to indicate that they must be purchased.

Once a book is purchased, users will be able to bookmark their place in the audiobook, control their listening speed and download the content for offline listening.

Spotify plans to introduce audiobooks to new markets and add new features after the initial US launch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *