Audio streaming giant Spotify announced on Tuesday that it has launched its new Audiobooks service in the United States, with more than 300,000 titles ready to be listened to.
‘’We’ve always believed that the potential for audio is limitless, and we’ve been saying for a while now that our ambition is to be the complete package for everyone’s listening needs,’’ said Nir Zicherman, Spotify’s VP and Global Head of Audiobooks and Gated Content. ‘’Audiobooks are next to come into the picture because we see a substantial untapped market: While audiobooks represent just a 6%–7% share of the wider book market, the category is growing by 20% year over year,’’ she added.
Spotify users in the United States will now be able to access the titles from the new Audibooks catalogue within the app. After purchasing, they will be able to download content to listen to them offline, adjust the audio speed, continue where they left off, and also rate the title which will be publicly shown to other users.
However, in order to purchase titles, which will be priced individually, users will need to navigate to Spotify’s website first. Once purchased, their audiobooks will be saved in their Spotify library, the company said.
This is most likely due to Apple’s App Store payment policy, which charges between 15% and 30% for each in-app purchase. Spotify has been very vocal about the policy, repeatedly accusing Apple of abusing its market power. Following a global backlash, the iPhone-maker announced earlier this year that it will now allow ‘’reader’’ apps to include a link to their websites, as Spotify is doing right now with its new service. Meanwhile, Google partnered with Spotify this year for a pilot program that allows apps to use third-party payment systems. Earlier this month, Google expanded the ‘‘User Choice Billing’’ program to more countries.
Last year, Spotify added 9 public domain audiobooks with special recordings. A few months later, it signed an audiobooks partnership with Storytel to let its users get access to the audiobooks service’s library on its platform. In November, it announced the acquisition of audiobook platform Findaway, and that’s when the company clearly expressed its interest in launching its own audiobook service for the first time.