Spotify launches audiobook business with 300,000 titles and selective pricing

What just happened? After conquering the streaming music and rocking the podcast scene, Spotify has turned its attention to audiobooks. On Tuesday, the Swedish audio giant announced that listeners in the United States can now purchase and listen to more than 300,000 titles. Audiobooks launch with a new user interface designed specifically for the medium that is designed to sit alongside music and podcasts without making the platform feel overcrowded.

Books will appear in search results and recommendations formatted with a lock icon on the play button which means they must be purchased to listen to them.

Purchased titles will be saved to your library and available to listen to at your leisure. Books can also be downloaded for offline listening, and the bookmarking feature will automatically save where you are so you can pick up where you left off. In addition, Spotify has prepared a variety of playback options to speed up or slow down the pace, and the rating system will allow you to share your opinions after listening to a book.

Spotify is putting audiobooks out as a separate section, which means there’s no discount for premium subscribers (who pay) — at least, not at launch. This is different from competitors like Amazon who offer Audible privileges to Prime subscribers.

Nir Zeicherman, Vice President of Spotify and Head of Audiobooks and Exclusive Content Division, He confessed Audiobooks represent no more than seven percent of the broader book market. However, the category is growing 20 percent year over year, so there is definitely potential in the project.

Zeicherman said they’re particularly excited about introducing the audiobooks to an audience that might not have tried it at all. In fact, this is probably their biggest opportunity for growth. Not offering a discount to premium subscribers seems like a mistake, and I’d be willing to bet Spotify could attract more newcomers if they offered a free book to let users try out the service.

Spotify will use the knowledge gained from its US debut to help plan launches in additional markets and guide the launch of new features.

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