Spotify is Testing Free Audiobooks

Posted on January 26, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Spotify with 5 Comments

Spotify has quietly entered the market for audiobooks and is now offering 9 titles for free through its mobile and web apps.

I can’t find an official announcement, but the new titles include:

  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein narrated by David Dobrik
  • Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave narrated by Forest Whitaker
  • Kate Chopin’s The Awakening narrated by Hilary Swank
  • Jane Austen’s Persuasion narrated by Cynthia Erivo
  • Jean Toomer’s Cane narrated by Audra McDonald
  • Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations narrated by James Langton
  • Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre narrate by Sarah Coombs
  • Nella Larsen’s Passing narrated by Bahni Turpin
  • Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage narrated by Santino Fontana

In case it’s not obvious, all of those books are in the public domain, which suggests that this is only a test to see how Spotify’s subscribers will react to the new feature. But each recording is new and exclusive to Spotify. And the service has also launched a new podcast called Sitting with the Classics on Spotify, in which Harvard professor Glenda Carpio discusses each of the titles separately.

The move comes in the wake of Spotify’s expansion into podcasts and, it should be noted, Audible’s own move into podcasting. For now, the audiobooks are free to all Spotify users, not just paying subscribers.

 

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