Amazon is turning Audible into a true podcast app, but it’s got a long way to go

Illustrations by Alex Castro / The Verge

Audible is turning into more of a podcast app. The company announced today that its catalog now contains 100,000 free podcasts that are already available on other streaming platforms, including Pod Save America, This American Life, and Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. The shows are now available through the app and will soon show up on Audible’s podcast landing page. Listeners won’t need a subscription to access these shows. This move sets Audible up to compete more earnestly against Spotify and Apple Podcasts, the two biggest names in the space, as well as other, smaller competitors.

Audible, which is owned by Amazon, launched a new subscription plan called Audible Plus in August, which gives listeners access to Audible’s original audio content at a cheaper monthly cost. The catch is that they don’t receive credits to download audiobooks that aren’t already free in Audible’s catalog. With these additional, freely available shows, Audible is bulking up its podcast offerings and making its app a place where its listeners can fulfill all their podcast needs, other than other services’ exclusive shows.

Still, Audible has a long way to go to reach the scale of Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Spotify says it has at least a million podcasts available to listeners, and Apple says it has 1.5 million. Although Audible’s original pieces of content number around 11,000, it’s still significantly behind in the amount of content it offers. This is a start, though, and presumably the company will continue growing what its listeners can access as its journey to audio content domination continues.

Correction 10/27, 6:15 PM ET: This article mistakenly referred to Audible’s content as ebooks instead of audiobooks. We’ve changed the wording to account for the error. We regret the mistake.


But why? The podcasting field is incredibly crowded, but even if Amazon has a good reason to enter the race, why not bundle it with Amazon Music and have Kindle/Audible focus solely on books?

Yay, Audible is making more original shows that I will never listen to because all of these proprietary clients suck compared to Overcast.

Almost everything on that podcast landing page is marked "only from audible" and requires paid audible subscription. So, no thanks.

Amazon really sucks when it comes to user experience outside of its main marketplace (which can also be much better). Audible and also the Alexa app are good examples of that – it seems like UX is never in the picture. Lots of menus, slow flows, and clumsy ways to do simple things such as Apple watch sync or creating/managing Alexa routines.

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