After a long wait, Spotify is embracing the inevitable. The popular music and podcast service just added 300,000 audiobooks to its lineup. But against all logic, you can’t buy these audiobooks in the Spotify mobile app. You need to purchase them through Spotify’s web player.
It’s a weird situation—presumably, Spotify wants to avoid using Apple or Google’s in-app payment systems, which take a percentage of all purchases. Spotify may try to get an exemption from these mandatory systems (after all, Amazon enjoys a certain level of exemption), but for the time being, customers can’t buy audiobooks within the Spotify mobile app.
But when you ignore this weird problem, the Spotify audiobook experience looks pretty comprehensive. All audiobooks are split into chapters, which prevent you from losing your place and give you an easy way to re-experience your favorite parts of a book. You can increase or decrease the speed of a book, download it for offline playback, or contribute to a public rating.
Spotify says that it may suggest audiobooks based on your listening activity and purchases. Additionally, audiobooks will show up on your Spotify home screen along with any albums, playlists, artists, or podcasts you’ve recently enjoyed. (Though the core “Audiobook” page is sectioned off, thankfully.)
My only hangup, aside from the in-app purchases thing, is that these audiobooks are full price. Premium subscribers don’t get any benefits here. It seems like a missed opportunity, but given all the frustrating experiences I’ve had with Audible’s subscription plan and expiring credits, maybe Spotify made the right move.
Audiobooks are live in the Spotify app. To see them, simply look up “audiobooks” in Spotify or visit the Audiobooks web player.