It looks like the Google Play store will soon sell audiobooks

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

If you listen to audiobooks, chances are that you’ve probably purchased it from Audible. Now, it looks as though Google will begin selling audiobooks trough its Google Play store. 9to5Google is reporting that the company has begun advertising audiobooks, and that a user’s first audiobook purchase will be 50 percent off.

The hub isn’t currently accessible, and 9to5Google says that there’s no indication of when the store will go live. But it seems that the company is laying the groundwork for an audiobook store. Android Police found references to Audiobooks in an APK teardown of the Google Play app back in November, and The Android Soul conducted an APK teardown of the latest update to the Google Play Books app, and found code for several new features, including audiobooks. The code points to audiobooks in the store, and that the app will allow users to navigate through the chapters using chapter titles — Audible’s app allows for similar navigation, but only by chapter numbers — and that the app will allow users to keep track of their progress on multiple devices. The teardown also points to Google Cast functionality. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.

If it happens, Google’s move into the audiobook market could be significant, because it would challenge Amazon’s domination of the market. While there are several retailers out there, such as Audiobooks.com or Libro.fm, Audible is the leading retailer, and has enjoyed a surge in popularity in the format. As sales of audiobooks have exploded in recent years, and a dedicated storefront would give Google a foot in the door to capture some of those sales within its own digital ecosystem.

Comments

I am waiting for an audiobook service similar to music services, where I can listen to as many as I want in a month. I almost signed up for Audible long ago thinking this was the case, when I was flabbergasted to find it allowed one to listen to 2 books per month for $30. I was like WTF as I closed the website and never went back. Maybe an audiobook retailer will eventually come up with this.

Use Overdrive or Libby and borrow audiobooks from your local library.

Was just about to suggest Overdrive myself. Haven’t bought a ebook or audiobook since discovering it. You can even use it to read library books on your Kindle.

Also, if you’re into it, great courses plus, its unlimited, but their app is by far the worst.

The trouble here is that Audible (Amazon) have so many of the publishers tied up exclusively. iBooks sells a huge number of Audiobooks but the vast majority are cross licensed from Audible

a user’s first audiobook purchase will be 50 percent off.

It’s worth pointing out that a user’s first audiobook is free on Audible.

Google has commitment problems with new services, I’d be worried buying audiobooks from them that they’d decide to dump the service at some point in the future leaving me with a library of orphaned books (like all those Fictionwise ebooks I bought years ago).

I hate Audible because of its subscription model. Sell me a book for a fee and stop trying to rip me off.

Not sure you understand how Audible works. You pay a monthly fee to get book cheaper than paying a outright fee. And they are yours, even if you cancel your subscription. You can also just pay them for a book, no subscription ($$) needed.

Umm…you don’t need a subscription to buy audiobooks from Audible. You get discounts and one credit each month for being a subscriber.

Finally. Ive held off buying a Google home device because of the lack of audiobooks. Hopefully they are committed to this.

I’m pretty ignorant about audiobooks. Are they read by real humans and recorded?

‘Cause Google’s voice capabilities have achieved parity with humans, making any written book fair game to be an audiobook.

https://qz.com/1165775/googles-voice-generating-ai-is-now-indistinguishable-from-humans/

Yes, audiobooks are read by humans. Generally.

Yes, audiobooks are read by humans. It’s not just a software narrating the text, but a person reading it, complete with accents, voices, etc.

It’s basically voice acting rather than simple reading text aloud.

Humans. But if you prefer AI, Google Play Books will already read any ebook out loud using the Google Assistant voice.

Even the best text to voice synthesis cannot impart the nuance, inflection and emotion that a good human reader can.
Kindle has text to speech option and iBooks can use Siri to reda but its reading the words, not what the author is trying to convey.

Been listening to Audiobooks since early iPod + iTunes days? I’m surprised it took Google this long to bring it to their store (same with podcast).

Bring on the price wars?

View All Comments
Back to top ↑