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Spotify audiobooks: Paying subscribers could get free listening time


Late last year, Spotify began offering audiobooks in the UK as part of a major update to its app.

Currently, both free and premium users can purchase individual titles, but that could be about to change. Soon, Spotify could start allowing paying subscribers to listen to 20 hours of audiobooks a month at no extra cost, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Initially, the perk may be offered as a limited trial, with access to a selection of audiobooks from some of the biggest publishers.

With more than 300,000 titles on its app, Spotify may seem like a viable alternative to popular services like Audible. But accessing audiobooks on Spotify isn’t as straightforward as listening to music or a podcast.

If you’re still interested, here’s how you can grab your next favourite novel, memoir, or true crime narration on the app.

The problem with audiobooks on Spotify

Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t let you buy audiobooks through in-app purchases. This is because these transactions would require it to pay a commission to Apple and Google.

Instead, you’ll need to buy audiobooks on the web, after which they’ll be unlocked on the app for you to listen to. Even Spotify admits that this process is “not ideal”.

Nevertheless, we’ve detailed the steps you need to follow below.

How to find and buy audiobooks on Spotify

Open Spotify on your internet browser, sign in if you haven’t already, and select the search option in the sidebar on the left. Here, you will see the Audiobooks tile, which you can select to browse titles in curated categories including “fantastic first audiobooks”, “What’s new”, “Mystery and Thrillers”, and “Personal Development”, among other genres and titles.

 (Spotify/Saqib Shah)
(Spotify/Saqib Shah)

You can also use search to see if Spotify has a specific audiobook by selecting search on the left and then entering it in the search bar. You can filter the results to just “audiobooks” by selecting the tag below the search bar.

Choose an audiobook by clicking on it and you will see a prominent “buy” button. Select it and you will be taken to a checkout page where you can pay with a credit or debit card.

The audiobook will now be available in the “your library” section of the mobile app for you to listen to.

 (Spotify/Saqib Shah)
(Spotify/Saqib Shah)

As with songs, you can download audiobooks for offline listening when you don’t have access to wi-fi or mobile data.

There is also an automatic bookmarking feature that saves your place so you can pick up listening on the page where you left off.

While speed control can speed up or slow down the pace of the narration, in case you want to flip through a book quickly, or slow down the pace. Once you’ve purchased a book, you can rate it and view its cumulative score, too.

How much are audiobooks on Spotify?

Unlike music and podcasts, audiobooks aren’t free, even on Premium. Below are a selection of books and their prices on Spotify.

  • J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, £31.90

  • Richard Osman’s The Bullet That Missed, £19.49

  • George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, £31.90

  • Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety, £19.49

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama, £17

  • Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, £29.90

  • Rylan Clark’s Ten: The Decade that Changed My Future, £21.90

  • Peter Crouch’s How to be an Ex-Footballer, £15.99

  • Matthew Perry’s Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, £29.90

  • Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved Me, £15


How do they compare?

Basically, the only services that offer a comparable amount of audiobooks to Spotify are Audible (owned by Amazon — it has a sale on now) and, which is an independent company that offers a subscription service but offers you three free books.

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is also a monthly subscription service but only offers 5,000 audiobooks. However, Prime Reading is free to Prime members and has 1,000 audiobooks. All these sites are a lot cheaper than Spotify.