It’s Official: Google Brings Audiobooks to Google Play

Posted on January 23, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile, Music + Videos with 20 Comments

It's Official: Google Brings Audiobooks to Google Play

Today, Google announced that it is launching audiobooks on Google Play in 45 countries and nine languages.

“With audiobooks on Google Play, you can turn your time stuck in traffic, on the treadmill, or waiting in line into reading time,” Google’s Greg Hartrell explains. “Find your next great read at an affordable price, and enjoy it across Android, iOS and the web with Google Play Books, as well as on devices that include the Google Assistant, like Google Home and many others.”

I’ve already voiced my opinion on this service—Audible is clearly the better choice—but putting that aside, here is why Google says you may be interested:

No subscription required. Audible doesn’t require one either, though getting one will save you money if you buy a lot of audiobooks.

Family sharing. You can share your audiobooks with everyone in your family through Family Library for no additional fee.

Google Assistant compatibility. Audible currently doesn’t work with Chromecast or Google Assistant, but Google Play Books works just fine! No worries, Audible fans: I’ve already described the workaround I use, and it works just fine.

Pick up where you left off. Audible does this too, but your Google Play Books-based audiobooks save your listening position in the cloud so you can easily move between devices, like an Android phone on the go and a Google Home device at home.

My advice is to skip this. But there you go.

 

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “It’s Official: Google Brings Audiobooks to Google Play”

  1. Avatar

    meek_teef

    I just cancelled my Audible subscription. This is already a much better product than Audible. Especially, if you're in the Google or Android ecosystem.


    The seamless integration with Google Assistant, Google Home, and Google Cast alone is worth it for me. And this is why Google needed this product because the Audible integration on Android is horribly pathetic.


    Now I can listen to audiobooks on Android Auto via the Google Assistant and also share books with my family. I suspect this is going to be a hit among Android and Google users fed up with Amazon's horrible treatment of the platform.

    • Avatar

      wolters

      In reply to meek_teef:

      I cancelled my Audible too as I found myself not having time to listen to them. So, as an occasional audio-book listener who is also all in with Google Home, this makes sense. I'm not too worried about them closing it out one day as I'm sure they'll allow us to download with no DRM or move to Audible.


      But I do totally get Paul's advice on this...just like how we both love the Pixel 2 XL but can't recommend it.

    • Avatar

      Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to meek_teef:

      I agree with you. If your going to get a voice assistant and your betting on Google (which is a good bet to be the one on top) then this service is necessary. I agree that Paul see Audible as the only good choice because ... well it was the only real choice. They also put that Amazon magic where you felt like you got a lot of value out of the membership. Thing is Amazon wasn't going to be a "partner" with audio books on Google Assistant smart speakers. Once you realize that Google had to do this. Paul has an affinity for Audible which is perfectly understandable as they made a great service at a great price and it's like be pretty much everyone. I'm moving to a newer home which we are redoing much of it. I pre-ordered a Nest doorbell. I have about 3 Google Home mini's for the bedrooms plus 3 Chromecast Audio receivers for a kitchen custom speaker setup and a shower speaker and one for the office. I love the system. Google Assistant isn't perfect by any means but it's good and helpful and will only get better with time.


      PS.. I love my pixel 2 xl as well. I wouldn't want any other current phone out. No issues with my phone either. Oh and yes there are some set of phones that just don't work right for whatever reason. I waited till my Panda colored phone arrived and maybe that version was better made or had better QA but I waited so long for it.

  2. Avatar

    thisisdonovan

    This is a great idea, cheaper than audible and no subscription....I'm sold!

  3. Avatar

    helix2301

    So is there a subscription being offered at all?

  4. Avatar

    maethorechannen

    Google Play in 45 countries and nine languages


    I know Google aren't perfect at globalisation, but if this was Microsoft bringing audiobooks to the MStore it would be US only and likely to stay that way.

  5. Avatar

    lecter

    Can anyone (really, anyone, even the Google blog post did not state this) say what the 45 countries are?? It doesn't work in my Play Store (Romania) and am curious where they are actually supported.

  6. Avatar

    Brazbit

    This is excellent news. My Mother-in-law lost her ability to read following brain surgery and was an avid reader. She loved audible but her reduced dexterity (another side effect) made using it on virtually any device difficult and workarounds like in the previous article Paul referred to were beyond her capabilities due to the amount of reading required to perform the series of steps.

    Recently she bought Google Home and it has allowed her to perform many tasks that have been out of her control for years. This would bring unassisted reading back. I can't wait to see her give this a try.

  7. Avatar

    mmcpher

    I am a longtime Audible user and it works everywhere and on everything I need it to, and there are relatively few titles that dont get to Audible. I have tried other audio applications, and they work also, but its hard to keep everything synced and it happeded often that the file would download somewhere in my phone or sd card, but not always leave a forwarding address. I do almost all of my recreational "reading" through Audible. I probrably average about 3 books a month which irritates because the subscription only gives you 2 credits a month and then pounds you on price for extra credits. Maybe Google's entre will result in lower prices/better terms?

    • Avatar

      wright_is

      In reply to mmcpher:

      I listen on the way to work and back, walking the dog etc. as well as relaxing in the bath.

      I re-listen to a lot of books. But the German model is nice, you get one book for 9.95€ a month, all subsequent books cost a maximum of 9.95€ each, although a lot shorts cost between 1€ and 4€.

      The problem with a new service is you can't, generally, move your collection to the new service.

  8. Avatar

    MikeGalos

    I'd say that neither Google nor Audible is really a good choice since they're locked in. I prefer getting my audiobooks from Downpour.com which not only sells the books in MP3 and M4B format downloads but also makes your entire library available for streaming via their app or their website from their library. They also have rental and an optional subscription service.


    Since you get all the online benefits and get the files in MP3 you can use them anywhere and aren't locked in at all.

  9. Avatar

    jbinaz

    Does Audible have any sort of family sharing? I don't use Audible, just curious. Seems like that might be a selling point although I suspect not as much as a family plan for sharing music.

  10. Avatar

    Bats

    Uh Oh. Paul Thurrott recommends to skip this. It must be worth taking a look. (lol)

    Here is the thing....

    Audible has been around since...forever. There really is no other "real" place to buy audiobooks then Amazon. If Google is serious about this space, then it's worth taking a look and trying it. 

    Competition is good.

    If Google decides to compete, then it's also win for Audible die-hards. 

    Android/Google dominates (almost) everything in technology. If you are into installing a lot of Apps on your phone, because you either need them all or just like having them, then perhaps stick with Audible. However, if you are minimalist, then maybe Google Audiobooks are for you. It's one less app to install; one less sign-in to do. A few less clicks to perform, especially if Google Play is your primary source for entertainment. 

    As for reliability, I can't see Google abandoning this product. I can see them expanding it, as they normally do with most their other "version 1" products. I can see their library growing, functionality increasing, and perhaps price lowering. There is also native accessibility when it comes to Android Auto. 

    Not just, but do you know what I am also finding, regarding Google Play? Google Play often....and I mean OFTEN....offers discounts on a number of their products. They often offer .99 movie rentals and slash prices off their movies. In addition, if you sign up and do that Google Rewards App, which is a bunch of 3-4 question surveys, you can earn some money that can build up your Google Play balance, which you can apply to the purchase of anything in the Google Play store.

    IMO, this a natural choice for those, who haven't started an audible books collection, uses an Android smartphone, a Google Home digital assistant and also the Chrome browser.

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