Google goes after Audible with a range of cheap audiobooks: Is it too little, too late?
It’s pretty surprising Google hasn’t already gone into the business of selling audiobooks, but, as of today, a range is officially available on the Google Play Store in 45 different countries.
According to a report by Nielsen last year, 1 in 10 people listen to audiobooks in the UK, with 5.5 million people accounted for in 2016. Audible though, has for years cemented its position as the audiobook champion, and it would be difficult for Google to uproot that success, considering it’s the world’s largest producer of digital audiobooks worldwide.
So, is Google too little, too late?
Under its plans, Google will let you pause, rewind and play audiobooks from your Android device and Google Home speaker, using the “OK, Google,” command. It also doesn’t plan to use a subscription model, like Audible, and will sell audiobooks directly from the Google Play Store.
Of course, none of this is particular groundbreaking. The Amazon Echo has been able to play audiobooks for months. Apple’s iBooks has had audiobooks available on its store, without subscription charges, for years. Google really only has one killer feature that might entice Audible listeners away from its massive catalogue of audiobooks, and that’s family sharing.
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Unlike Audible, which only allows you to share audiobooks in your library with one person in your Amazon household, Google has opened its own audiobooks feature up to five family members, meaning you could split the bill for one single audiobook or share a great read with someone else in your home.
With Google’s enormous opening discounts – you can get 50% off your first audiobook until 26 February – it is difficult to know if it will make people switch from Audible to Google. What we do know is that the market is about to get fiercely competitive.
Google has plans to bring its audiobooks to other platforms like iOS in the near future, keep your ears open for more details.