Spotify gets into audiobooks, but there’s a catch

You read that right.

Fergus Halliday
Digital Content Editor
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September 22, 2022
1 min read

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Spotify is adding something new into the mix, but Aussies will have to wait to hear it.

Announced overnight, the music streaming service said that it is ready to expand into audiobook distribution from today. While Spotify says that the streamer's initial audiobook offering includes over 300,000 titles, all of it will be exclusive to the United States for the time being.

Spotify's take on the formula comes fully integrated into the service's recommendation engine, and incorporates many of the same features found in rival services like variable playback speed, offline listening and automatic bookmarking.

The addition of audiobooks as a format comes following several years of growth by Spotify off the back of podcasts. According to Spotify exec Nir Zicherman, the category is something on an untapped market.

"While audiobooks represent just a 6%–7% share of the wider book market, the category is growing by 20% year over year," he said.

There's no exact timeline on when Spotify Audiobooks will be coming to Australia yet, but comments from Zicherman suggest that the company see this as the start of a larger long-term push into the category.

"By bringing audiobooks to Spotify, we have the opportunity to both grow the space as a whole and enrich listeners’ lives," he said.

Spotify audiobooks

It's worth noting that, for now at least, audiobooks on Spotify have to be purchased a la carte. You're paying up-front to add them to your library in the same way that you might have bought songs on iTunes once upon a time.

This makes for a stark contrast to the credit-based subscription business model seen with popular audiobook players like Audible and Audiobooks.com, but comments made by Zicherman could suggest that a shift in business model later down the line is far from off the table.

"We’ll learn a lot through this launch and leverage those learnings as we enhance the experience with new features, plan for launches in additional markets, and innovate on the format to benefit listeners, authors, and publishers," Zicherman said.
Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a Digital Content Editor for Reviews.org who specialises in technology, entertainment, gaming and pop culture. His work has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, Press Start Australia, The AU Review, Screen Rant, Superjump and more. You can follow him on Twitter.

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