Spotify is giving subscribers in some of the company’s largest markets up to 15 hours of listening time per month to a library of more than 150,000 audiobooks, the company announced Tuesday (Oct. 3).
Audiobook access is available to premium individual subscribers as well as the primary account holders for family and Duo accounts (a family account allows up to six subscribers, while Duo accounts are meant for two). Premium users in the United Kingdom and Australia will start receiving the allotment of audiobook listening tomorrow (Oct. 4) and U.S. subscribers will gain access later this year. Listeners who need more time at the end of the month can purchase 10 additional hours for an undisclosed amount.
Spotify says its audiobook catalog covers 70% of bestselling books from such major publishers as Hachette, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and RB Media. It also includes independent authors and publishers such as Bolinda, Dreamscape and Pushkin.
Spotify users can expect to find personalized audiobook recommendations throughout the app. “Our personalized Home feed is certainly one of those and will serve up recommendations based on what you like, as well as some suggestions for your next favorite book; while if you already know what you want, then you can just type it into Search,” said Owen Smith, Spotify’s head of audiobooks product and tech, in a blog post announcing the news. “Then with Browse you’ll find some of our editorial booklists, where we will help you explore the huge catalog available. For example, we will take a genre like mysteries and serve up a curated selection so you can find just the right mystery book for you. “
Audiobooks are part of Spotify’s plan to improve its margins and expand beyond its origins as a music-only platform. The company has placed major bets on podcasts, spending handsomely to acquire exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience and Call Her Daddy as well as partnering with former first couple Barack and Michelle Obama, among others. Spotify said at its July 2022 investor day presentation that it expected podcast gross margins to improve from -57% last year to 30-35% within three to five years.
Even though Spotify has carried audiobooks since Sept. 2022 — a result of its 117 million euro ($122 million) acquisition of audiobook distributor Findaway — the titles have not been available for streaming. Instead, users have been required to purchase the titles in order to listen to them on the Spotify app. While subscribers can now start streaming audiobooks, those titles will still be available for purchase on the platform.
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