Unlocking a new chapter in audiobook entertainment, Spotify is offering U.S. premium members a generous 15 hours of free audiobook listening starting this Wednesday, 9To5Google reported. This accelerates the anticipated launch in the U.S. which it had earlier said is slated for “this winter.” This comes following its successful debut in the U.K. and Australia on Oct. 3.
With a captivating collection of over 200,000 audiobooks, including the latest Britney Spears’ memoir, The Woman in Me, Spotify boasts access to “over 70% of bestselling titles.” Should avid listeners exceed the 15-hour monthly limit, they can seamlessly choose to purchase an additional 10 hours or even the audiobook itself.
Navigating this literary soundscape is a breeze — simply search for a title or explore the audiobooks hub, add your chosen book to the library, and you can start listening right away. With over 375,000 audiobooks available on Spotify, more than half are part of the Premium offering while the excluded titles need to be purchased before users can start listening.
Listeners will find themselves temporarily paused once they hit the monthly quota of 15 hours. You have the option to extend that slot by another 10 hours by paying $12.99 or wait for your free allotment to become available next month. The Account page will have all the details including how much of listening time is left for the month. The 15-hour privilege however extends to primary members of Spotify Duo and Family plans, leaving others with exclusive paid options.
Spotify suggests that 15 hours should cover two books, but the duration can vary widely. If a book extends much beyond that, you will have to decide whether to make an additional $26 investment to maintain the immersive experience. The other option of course will be to go for outright purchase of the book, in which case you can listen as many times as you want.
This brings us to one of the drawbacks of the plan. You can’t listen to past audiobooks without depleting your monthly allotment. Changing the playback speed won’t help either. Further, you can’t carry over unused hours to the following month. That said, any hours you purchase are going to remain in your account till you have used it.
Despite concerns about the impact on margins, Spotify had earlier reported subscriber gains and an operating profit in the September quarter which exceeded market expectations. CEO Daniel Ek assured investors that the audiobook venture would complement, not hinder, the company’s financial progress.
Meanwhile, for the sake of comparison, Audible Plus gives you access to thousands of titles with unrestricted listening, all for $8 a month. However, the collection mostly includes Audible originals or books that aren’t necessarily as well known. To get your typical bestsellers, you’d need to pay for Audible Premium Plus which costs $15 a month. This will not only let you have access to premium content, but you will also get 1 audiobook credit every month which you can use to buy new audiobooks.
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