Spotify Tests Audiobooks Market With Collection of Literary Classics

Spotify has started releasing audiobook recordings on its streaming platform, indicating the company's intention to further broaden its library of non-music content (via The Hollywood Reporter).

spotify audiobooks collection
The collection of nine audiobooks are in the public domain, but are original recordings that are exclusive to Spotify. The titles include Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, narrated by David Dobrik, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, read by Forest Whitaker, and Kate Chopin's The Awakening, read by Hilary Swank, amongst other classics. From the report:

The other titles that Spotify is releasing as part of the collection are Jean Toomer's Cane, narrated by Audra McDonald; Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, narrated by James Langton; Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, narrated by Sarah Coombs; Nella Larsen's Passing, narrated by Bahni Turpin; and Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage, narrated by Santino Fontana.

To accompany the audiobooks, Spotify has commissioned series Sitting with the Classics on Spotify, in which Harvard professor Glenda Carpio offers a deep-dive on each book, exploring the history and breaking down the narratives and themes for a modern audience.

The classic audiobooks will be available for free globally but promoted only to English-speaking markets including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany.

Spotify says the collection is a test to see if the audiobooks gain traction on its streaming service, but if it takes off like podcasts have done on the platform, the company's dive into audiobooks could see it take on rivals like Amazon's Audible and Apple Books in a market that was valued at nearly $2.7 billion in 2019, according to a report from Grand View Research.

Over the past few years Spotify has spent $800 million buying podcasting companies like Gimlet Media and The Ringer, as well as acquiring the rights to popular podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience. According to today's report, Spotify now has 1.9 million podcasts on its platform and says 22 percent of its 320 million monthly active users engaged with that content during the third quarter of 2020.

Top Rated Comments

and 1989 others Avatar
13 months ago

For a while now I’ve wondered why books—not just audiobooks, but any books—aren’t ever given a subscription service. Amazon sort of took a stab at it, but they only included titles which were published through them, and those aren’t the books most people wanted to read.
There is a subscription service for books, its your local library.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bpp85 Avatar
13 months ago
I’m not a fan of audiobooks and I don’t like Spotify adding “non music” in their music app. I would prefer it if they created separate apps. However I heard people like having podcasts and music in the same app so ??‍♂️
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RedTheReader Avatar
13 months ago

There is a subscription service for books, its your local library.
A bit of Googling has shown me that plenty of public libraries actually have systems in place for borrowing ebooks, and they don’t seem to be particularly complicated either. I’m impressed and surprised that I missed that, since I do visit my local library pretty often. Good tip!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
himanshumodi Avatar
13 months ago

For a while now I’ve wondered why books—not just audiobooks, but any books—aren’t ever given a subscription service. Amazon sort of took a stab at it, but they only included titles which were published through them, and those aren’t the books most people wanted to read. Even to purchase outright, Audible (for audiobooks) and Kindle and Kobo (for ebooks) are the only good options I’ve heard of.

I wonder how often Spotify subscribers will use this. If it gets popular, maybe some other players will want to take on books, too.
For books, I think it's about how the consumption pattern differs to music and movies. It can take weeks to consume a single book that you buy. So then you wonder if you really need to pay for a subscription at all.

Also the market size. Unfortunately people who read books are far fewer than people who watch movies and listen to music. Audio books even more so.

Technically Audio books is a subscription service, but they have a credit system give only one book a month. Which sort of works for me at least. There are sales where you get two books per credit - or you can buy credits and such. Works out reasonably over the course of an year.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
foobarbaz Avatar
13 months ago

English-speaking markets including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany
Wie bitte?!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
agffth Avatar
13 months ago

I’m not a fan of audiobooks and I don’t like Spotify adding “non music” in their music app. I would prefer it if they created separate apps. However I heard people like having podcasts and music in the same app so ??‍♂️
100% this. I have asked Spotify multiple times for a switch to turn off Podcasts recommendations. I've also asked if they could move Podcasts to a separate tab. That would probably be the best solution. Three tabs: Music, Books, Podcasts. If I could get one more design in it would be the ability to hide tabs. No way they will ever let you decide what is not recommended tho. I'm betting Podcasts and books will have much higher margins so they want to push you into those.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

Apple Podcast Alternate

Apple Inks Deal for Siegfried & Roy Podcast

Tuesday April 27, 2021 2:57 pm PDT by
Apple has signed a deal for a podcast focusing on pop culture icons Siegfried & Roy, reports Deadline. This will be one of Apple's first exclusive, original podcast offerings. The Siegfried & Roy podcast will be exclusive to the Apple Podcasts app, and it comes as Apple is making a push into original podcast content. Apple recently announced plans to allow podcasters to collect subscription...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Apple Says Tile Trackers Sold Poorly in Apple Stores

Friday May 14, 2021 4:53 am PDT by
Earlier last month, Spotify, Tile, and Match (owner of Tinder), testified at an app store antitrust hearing spearheaded by the U.S. Senate. During the hearing, Spotify called Apple's App Store "an abusive power grab," while Tile said Apple uses its platform to "unfairly limit competition for its products." Now, in response to their testimonies, Apple's vice president and chief compliance...
spotify apple watch

Apple Watch Now Supports Standalone Spotify Streaming

Tuesday November 3, 2020 1:31 pm PST by
Spotify has started rolling out support for standalone streaming through the Spotify app for Apple Watch. With the new feature, Spotify users can listen to music or podcasts from Spotify over WiFi or cellular without having to have an iPhone nearby. There has been a Spotify Apple Watch app available for the past few years, but the standalone streaming option is new. Spotify has been testing...
spotify timestamp sharing

Spotify Mobile App Gains Podcast Timestamp Sharing Feature

Tuesday May 11, 2021 2:07 am PDT by
Spotify has announced the availability of podcast timestamp sharing, a new feature of its mobile app that lets users share podcasts beginning at a particular moment. Previously, it was only possible to share a podcast link to an entire episode on Spotify. Timestamp sharing means the shared podcast will play for the recipient from the time that the sender chooses, allowing them to highlight...
Spotify OnlyYou InApp 04 Birth Chart

Spotify Launches New Stat Tracking 'Only You' Hub and Collaborative 'Blend' Playlists for Friends

Wednesday June 2, 2021 8:41 am PDT by
Spotify today announced a new collaborative playlist and a collection of new stat tracking features for users. The company is referring to the stat tracking updates, called "Only You," as a way to see your Spotify Wrapped stats earlier in the year. In total, there are six new ways to break down your Spotify listening history, including finding out which artist most aligns with your...
spotify complaint apple eu

Spotify Legal Chief: 'Apple's Ability to Strangle its Competitors is Unprecedented'

Tuesday May 18, 2021 1:35 pm PDT by
Amid the ongoing legal battle between Epic Games and Apple, Spotify's chief legal officer and head of global affairs Horacio Gutierrez penned an anti-App Store op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, where he summarizes Spotify's issues with Apple. Gutierrez says that Spotify is one of the few companies that insists Apple is a "ruthless bully that uses its dominance to hobble competitors."...
Apple vs Spotify feature2

Spotify Executive Justifies Antitrust Pressure on Apple and Calls for Other App Store Payment Providers

Tuesday June 1, 2021 9:05 am PDT by
Spotify executive Horacio Gutierrez has explained in a wide-reaching interview with The Verge why the company believes Apple is a "ruthless bully" and what it would like to see change. Last month, Gutierrez penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that chastised Apple and some of its business practices. Now, Spotify's head of global affairs and chief legal officer has expanded on the logic ...
spotify your library

Spotify Announces Updated 'Your Library' With New Grid Views, Dynamic Filters, Improved Search, and More

Thursday April 29, 2021 7:51 am PDT by
Spotify today announced a redesign coming to "Your library" for users on iOS and Android with the aim of making it easier to locate and find songs, podcasts, and more thanks to dynamic filters, a new Grid view, and more. Spotify says these changes will be rolling out to all users on iOS and Android in the coming weeks, so not everyone will see them immediately. Two of the most striking...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole thumb

ProMotion Now Expected to Remain Exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro Models, Not Expand to Entire Lineup

Sunday January 16, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Continuing the tradition set with the iPhone 13 Pro, only the highest-end iPhone 14 models will feature Apple's ProMotion display technology, according to a respected display analyst. Ross Young, who on multiple occasions has detailed accurate information about Apple's future products, said in a tweet that ProMotion will not be expanded to the entire iPhone 14 lineup and will remain...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
Unlikely Products 2022 Feature

Six Rumored Apple Products You're Unlikely to See This Year

Saturday January 15, 2022 2:06 pm PST by
Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer. Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in...
safari icon blue banner

Safari Bug Allows Websites to Track Your Recent Browsing Activity in Real Time

Sunday January 16, 2022 3:37 pm PST by
A bug in WebKit's implementation of a JavaScript API called IndexedDB can reveal your recent browsing history and even your identity, according to a blog post shared on Friday by browser fingerprinting service FingerprintJS. In a nutshell, the bug allows any website that uses IndexedDB to access the names of IndexedDB databases generated by other websites during a user's browsing session....
ipad air 4 video

New iPad Air Rumored to Launch This Spring With A15 Chip, 5G, Center Stage Camera, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 8:05 pm PST by
Apple is planning to release a fifth-generation iPad Air with similar features as the sixth-generation iPad mini, including an A15 Bionic chip, 12-megapixel Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage support, 5G for cellular models, and Quad-LED True Tone flash, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara. Citing reliables sources in China, the report claims that the new iPad Air could be...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
top stories 20220115

Top Stories: iPhone 14 Pro Rumors, iCloud Private Relay Controversy, iOS 15.2.1 Released, and More

Saturday January 15, 2022 6:00 am PST by
Hole-punch? Pill? Hole-punch and pill? Rumors about what the front camera system on the iPhone 14 Pro will look like are evolving rapidly, and it now appears we might be getting a novel but potentially controversial design later this year. Other major stories this week included some confusion and controversy about iCloud Private Relay being disabled for some T-Mobile customers, increasing...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...