On November 8th, Spotify USA debuted a new audiobook program for their premium subscribers. Paid members now can listen to up to 15 hours of audiobooks for no additional cost every month. They also have the option to add ten-hour listening increments for an additional cost.
Spotify previously debuted this program in the United Kingdom and Australia on October 3rd of this year.
Last year, Spotify formally introduced audiobooks to their platform through purchase, comparable to Audible’s program. Each book has a separate cost, as if you were to purchase them through a bookstore.
In a press release, Spotify said, “Starting today, Spotify listeners in the U.S. will be able to purchase and listen to more than 300,000 audiobook titles—making our platform a true all-in-one destination for everyone’s listening needs. And we’re excited to launch audiobooks with a brand-new user interface that’s geared specifically for listening to audiobooks and fits them seamlessly alongside the music and podcasts you already listen to and love.”
With this new expansion, Spotify is improving the audiobook subscription game. A premium membership for Spotify starts at 10.99 a month and includes access to millions of songs and podcasts without ads in addition to the 15 hours of audiobook listening.
Audible’s subscription service has two tiers. The first tier, Audible Plus, starts at 7.95 after a 30-day free trial and includes a catalog of mostly audible originals and backlist bestsellers like The Untethered Soul and 48 Laws of Power. To listen to frontlist bestsellers like Anne Patchett’s new novel Tom Lake or Britney Spears’s memoir, you must upgrade to the Audible Premium Plus tier, which costs 14.95 a month and only includes one audiobook credit. To listen to more than one book, you need to purchase additional credits.
Authors have had a mixed reaction to the newest Spotify development. Some authors, such as Casey McQuiston, simply promoted the availability of their books on Spotify’s platform, while others, Malinda Lo for example, have had more to say.
In an Instagram post on November 8th, the New York Times bestselling author wrote, “I’m not really sure how to feel about this development. Authors in the UK expressed some concerns about the possibility that this deal could actually lead to authors earning LESS for audiobooks. Given how poorly Spotify compensates musical artists, I share these fears. Of course, publishers are totally on board, and they believe it will bring in revenue. I’m sure it’ll be great for publishers, but it remains to be seen how it affects authors’ income.” At the end of the post, she added, “I’m looking forward to my next royalty statement to see how this affects my income.”
It is unknown, as of now, how this will affect authors’ income and their audiobook royalties. It may be months before the public sees the whole picture regarding this issue.
But for now, we can be cautiously optimistic about the advancement in audiobook streaming.
For more information on Spotify’s subscription service, visit: https://www.spotify.com/us/audiobooks/
For more information on Amazon and Audible’s services, visit: https://www.audible.com/ep/memberbenefits