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Audiobooks on Spotify.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

Spotify today took a big step toward keeping you in its app — and its growing ecosystem — that much more with the addition of more than 200,000 audiobooks for Premium subscribers in the U.S.

That’s a big number, but it’s also just part of the story. You don’t get full access to listen to everything for as long as you want. Each individual Premium subscriber, and plan managers for Family and Duo accounts, will get 15 hours of audiobooks every month, included with their plans, and you’ll see available audiobooks marked as “Included in Premium.” (Sort of in the same vein of how some movies and shows are available free on Amazon Prime Video, and some aren’t.) Spotify says that should get you about two books a month. But you can opt to buy a book or another 10 hours of listening time for $13.

There’s some fine print there, too. The top-up hours are good for one year, so you don’t have to use them in the same month in which you purchased them. And you can add multiple top-ups to your account for even more audiobook time. They’re only available in 10-hour increments, though.

Other details:

  • Audiobook listening time assumes you’re listening at normal speed. Adjusting the playback speed doesn’t affect it. Listening to a 1-hour book at 2x speed still uses 1 hour of your allotted time, not 30 minutes.
  • You can listen to a book more than once, but both runs count against your audiobook hours.
  • Audiobook listening hours don’t roll over month to month. Whatever you don’t use from your initial 15 hours is gone at the start of a new month. (And you won’t get a refund or anything for unused hours.)
  • Your included 15 hours will be used first, followed by any top-up hours.

One more little nugget — Spotify’s Premium Student plan doesn’t get any free audiobook listening time. Because why would you want students to enjoy books?

So what will you find in Spotify audiobooks? The company says it has more than 70% of bestselling titles. And the 15 hours of free listening for Premium subscribers basically puts it on par with what Amazon gives Audible listeners who are Amazon Prime subscribers.

All in all, it’s a cool addition to Spotify, and hopefully one that doesn’t attract the same sort of controversy that some exclusive podcasts on the platform have attracted. On the other hand, given the state of affairs, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone finds something objectionable somewhere.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting for lossless audio.

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Phil Nickinson

Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…

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