In addition to music and podcasts, Spotify has recently been working to cement its presence in the audiobook space. Today, the company announced Premium users in the US will be able to stream 15 hours of free audiobook content monthly as a part of their subscription. This offering was previously only available to Premium users in the UK and Australia.
The company says there's no need for users to do anything. Audiobooks that are available to stream will be marked as “Included in Premium” and users can hit play right away. Spotify notes that 15 hours is roughly two average audiobooks per month. If you end up hitting the limit, you can purchase a 10-hour top-up.
The company says its Spotify Premium audiobook catalog now has something for everyone. Users with a Premium subscription can access over 70 percent of today's bestsellers, including Britney Spears’ The Woman in Me and Jesmyn Ward’s Let Us Descend. There are also many classic pieces of literature, like Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Spotify believes its listeners will "love exploring the depths of our 200,000-strong catalog, unearthing genres from 'cozy mystery' to 'historical romance.'"
Books that aren't eligible for free streaming will need to be purchased outright. Those books will have a lock on the play button, which means you'll need to purchase the title. To make a purchase, you'll follow a link to your browser. Once that's completed, you'll be taken back to the app to listen to your new book. All your purchased titles will show up in your library and be available for offline listening. Spotify also gives you the option to control playback speed so you can listen at your own pace.
It makes sense that Spotify has included audiobooks in its app, but there are a few things that may deter users from tapping in. Yes, having a single place to listen to your music, podcasts and books is convenient but unlike with music and podcasts, you have a streaming limit here. Additionally, only a limited number of books are free to stream with your $11 subscription. While Audible also charges a subscription fee, users get one book to own every month, which may make it the more appealing and affordable option for some.