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
24 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
24 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
24 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
24 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
24 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
24 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

spotify hifi still waiting

Spotify Still Can't Say When Its Delayed 'HiFi' Streaming Service Will Launch

Monday January 10, 2022 2:08 am PST by
Spotify users waiting to learn when the service's delayed "HiFi" premium audio service will materialize currently remain none the wiser, after the company responded noncommittally to requests for more information on its user community forums. Back in February, Spotify announced plans to introduce a "HiFi" premium tier by the end of 2021. According to Spotify, the feature will offer...
spotify notify tab

Spotify Rolling Out New Notification Tab for New Releases From Artists, Creators, and More

Monday July 26, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
In the coming weeks on iOS and Android, Spotify will be rolling out a new tab in its mobile app that will provide users with notifications about new songs and album releases from their favorite artists, podcasts shows, and more. The new page will be accessible with a tap of a new bell icon placed on the top-right hand corner on the Spotify home page. Tapping provides users a "real-time" view ...
spotify hifi icon

Spotify HiFi Icon Spotted in Mobile App Suggests Imminent Launch

Tuesday May 18, 2021 5:22 am PDT by
Spotify in February announced plans to introduce a new "HiFi" premium tier sometime in 2021, and while the company declined to offer a date, there's reason to believe a launch could be imminent, especially in the wake of Apple Music's lossless tier announcement on Monday. In a timely discovery, hints of Spotify's lossless HiFi audio streaming service have again been spotted this week by...
Peek Performance Feature

Apple Could Launch New Service at 'Peek Performance' Apple Event

Friday March 4, 2022 2:49 am PST by
Amid speculation about what Apple could have in store for its "Peek Performance" event on March 8, the company could be planning to launch a new service. Rather than the likes of "Podcasts+" or "Mail+," which have been theorized by analysts as potential additions to the Apple One subscription bundle over the past year, Apple could potentially look to bolster Apple Music by spinning off a...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Acknowledges Battery Drain Issues on iOS 14.8 and iOS 15, Promises Fix Soon

Monday September 27, 2021 5:35 am PDT by
Following a flood of reports and complaints, Spotify has acknowledged that its app may be causing excessive battery drain and overheating issues on iOS 14.8 and the latest iOS 15 update, promising a fix in the not-so-distant future. In a long and ongoing support thread on its website, which started weeks ago, Spotify says it is aware of battery drain reports and that it has passed those...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Still Doesn't Offer AirPlay 2 Nearly Six Months After Last Promising to Support the Feature

Tuesday January 25, 2022 7:49 am PST by
Spotify has still not enabled AirPlay 2 in its iPhone and iPad app, nearly six months after last promising to support the feature. "Spotify will support AirPlay 2 and we're working to make that a reality," a Spotify spokesperson informed MacRumors in early August, in response to a Spotify Community forum post that said the company had paused plans to support the feature. The streaming...
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Pauses Plans to Add AirPlay 2 Support to iOS App [Update: Spotify Clarifies]

Friday August 6, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
See update at bottom of article Spotify this week confirmed that its plans to add AirPlay 2 support to its iOS app have been placed on indefinite hiatus. In an online discussion forum post, a Spotify representative said the streaming music service had been working on supporting AirPlay 2, but the company has paused the efforts "for now" due to "audio driver compatibility issues." The...
PR 2021 Top5Artists A 1

'Spotify Wrapped' Recaps Your Listening History for 2021

Wednesday December 1, 2021 7:39 am PST by
Spotify today made its annual recap feature "Spotify Wrapped" available to users on the iOS and Android app. This feature tracks your top artists, genres, songs, podcasts, and minutes listened, and generates graphics that are easily shareable on social media. There are a few new additions to Spotify Wrapped 2021, including "2021: The Movie," which pairs your top songs with classic scenes...

Popular Stories

Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone YT

Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Feature Saves Stranded Man in Alaska

Thursday December 1, 2022 4:37 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple rolled out a Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is designed to allow iPhone 14 owners to contact emergency services using satellite connectivity when no cellular or WiFi connection is available. The feature was put to the test in Alaska today, when a man became stranded in a rural area. In the early hours of the morning on December 1, Alaska State Troopers ...
iPhone Measure Height

Newer iPhones Allow You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly — Here's How

Saturday December 3, 2022 10:23 am PST by
iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models feature a LiDAR Scanner next to the rear camera that can be used to measure a person's height instantly in Apple's preinstalled Measure app. To measure a person's height, simply open the Measure app, point your iPhone at the person you want to measure, and make sure they are visible on the screen from...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
iOS 16

When Will iOS 16.2 Be Released?

Friday December 2, 2022 2:13 pm PST by
Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we've had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we'd try to narrow down the launch timeline. With only four betas released since...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

Major RAM Upgrade Coming to Next-Generation MacBook Pro

Friday December 2, 2022 2:03 am PST by
The next-generation MacBook Pro models could feature faster RAM, according to a recent report from a reliable source. MacRumors Forums member "Amethyst," who accurately revealed details about the Mac Studio and Studio Display before those products were announced, recently provided information about Apple's upcoming 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The new machines are expected to feature...
iPad 10 Battery Pull Tabs

iPad 10 Teardown Reveals Why Device Isn't Compatible With Apple Pencil 2

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:48 am PST by
Do-it-yourself repair website iFixit today shared a video teardown of Apple's new 10th-generation iPad, providing a closer look inside the tablet and revealing why the device lacks support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. The teardown reveals the internal layout of the iPad, including its two-cell 7,606 mAh battery, logic board with the A14 Bionic chip, and more. As suspected, the...
android apple fix rcs

Google Again Criticizes Apple for Not Adopting RCS for Messages App: 'Their Texting is Stuck in the 1990s'

Friday December 2, 2022 10:54 am PST by
Google is continuing on with its attempt to convince Apple to adopt the RCS messaging standard, publishing a new "it's time for RCS" blog post. Promoted heavily by Google, RCS or Rich Communication Services is a messaging standard that is designed to replace the current SMS messaging standard. It provides support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, and bigger file sizes, ...
ios 16 2 beta notifiation center

PSA: Older Notifications No Longer Hidden in Notification Center in iOS 16.2 Beta 4

Friday December 2, 2022 5:23 am PST by
In a small but significant change to the way the Notification Center works in the latest iOS 16.2 beta, older notifications are now shown by default without having to swipe up. In the current release as well as earlier versions of iOS 16, users do not automatically see older notifications in the Notification Center like they did in iOS 15, and instead must manually swipe up from the middle...
lastpass

LastPass Hacked for Second Time This Year

Friday December 2, 2022 4:04 am PST by
Password management app LastPass says it is investigating a security incident after an "unauthorized party" compromised its systems on Wednesday and gained access to some customer information. The information was stored in a third-party cloud service shared by LastPass and parent company GoTo, said LastPass CEO Karim Toubba in a blog post. Toubba said the hackers used information stolen from ...
Apple Card Savings

Apple Card Customer Agreement Updated for 'Upcoming' Savings Account Feature

Friday December 2, 2022 11:43 am PST by
Goldman Sachs this week updated its Apple Card customer agreement to reflect the credit card's upcoming Daily Cash savings account feature, which was expected to launch with iOS 16.1 but appears to have been delayed. "To enable new ways to use Daily Cash like the upcoming Savings account feature, we are updating the Daily Cash Program section of your Apple Card Customer Agreement," reads an...