Spotify’s Audiobook revolution

April 17, 2024
2 mins read


Spotify Audiobooks

Spotify has just launched its Audiobooks service for free with Premium subscriptions. PAT PILCHER gets an earful of its 250,000 books.

From $16.99 per month

Audiobooks have finally become available to Spotify Premium subscribers in New Zealand. And yeah, you could stifle a yawn, as audiobooks are not exactly the pinnacle of hi-fi excellence, but humour me. After spending a week listening to audiobooks on Spotify, I’ve become a bit of a fan of them.

While they won’t deliver a full-on symphonic auditory experience, having a book read aloud to you is a great way to relax and get more done. It also beats the hell out of listening to all the doom and gloom on the radio during commutes. That aside, research also shows many side benefits from listening to audiobooks. These include.

Improved listening skills: Research shows that Audiobooks improve listening skills, vocabulary, pronunciation, and comprehension.

Better memory: Researchers also found that people who listen to audiobooks recall better than those who read traditional books. Who’d have thunked?

Improved mood/relaxation: As mentioned above, listening to someone else read aloud can help with negative or anxious thoughts and be very relaxing.

Productivity: Reading a traditional book requires your full attention, but with an audiobook, you can get on with other things and still listen to the story being told (right now, I’m finishing up HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds as I type this review).

New perspectives: Last (but not least), the sheer volume of different genres available through Spotify also means that exploring new ideas and perspectives that you’d otherwise miss during your daily grind is also possible.


So, what is Spotify offering? Spotify subscribers can now access 15 hours of monthly audiobook listening time as part of their subscription, and choose from a whopping audiobook catalogue of over 250,000 titles.

Audiobooks are handily divided into genres, so I dived into the sci-fi collection and binged on The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (read by Stephen Fry). I’d forgotten how utterly silly and funny Douglas Adams could be. I often smirked or laughed out loud on the bus, walking around town, or sitting at a keyboard, bashing out a review for your reading pleasure. Stephen’s dulcet tones were also incredibly relaxing to listen to.

That’s the great thing about audiobooks. They can be listened to while doing other things, and they are a great alternative to listening to music. I can read well anywhere by using the Spotify app (Mac/Windows/iOS/Android) on my PC or smartphone. If your device doesn’t support the Spotify app, pop over to, which gives you web browser access to any audiobook goodness Spotify can supply.

Adding books to my Spotify library meant that I could start and stop listening as often as I wanted, as the Spotify app remembered where I’d last left off. The books are usually voiced by well-known celebrities, and an odd sprinkling of audio effects helps make the whole shebang more immersive. Offering audiobooks means Spotify Premium users now have 100 million music tracks, over 250,000 audiobooks, and 5 million podcasts. That’s not too shabby at all, eh?

In use, anyone remotely familiar with Spotify should be able to easily find the audiobooks they’re looking for. There are curated genre-specific roundups of popular books in the Apps Home feed. The entire catalogue is searchable if you can’t find what you’re looking for. My biggest challenge was choosing what to read from the impossibly large choice of available titles.

Weirdly, Spotify only allows 15 hours of free audiobook listening per month as part of a premium subscription. This translates into 1 or, in some cases, 2 audiobooks a month, which will be disappointing for avid readers. That said, you can purchase additional books and listen to them. If need be, you can also buy additional 10-hour chunks of audiobook listening time. This pricing regime feels clumsy and at odds with Spotify’s “fill yer boots” branding. Wouldn’t it have been easier to charge an additional premium subscription for unhindered audiobook access?

Either way, the whole experience works well. Books are easy to find, and the ubiquity of the Spotify app (and web browser presence) means that getting a dose of audiobook goodness is possible with next to no fuss on most devices.




Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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