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Google Play Books Product Manager Greg Hartrell Talks Launch Of Audiobooks

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From Amazon's Audiobooks to Overdrive and Scribd, there are plenty of ways to listen to audiobooks on the smartphone or tablet while on the go.

Google Play Books has added its own take on Audiobooks, stepping up the Audiobook store competition, starting today.

We had a chance to chat with Greg Hartrell, Head of Product Management, at Google Play Books to discuss the development and launch of Audiobooks.

Greg Hartrell Discusses Inspiration Behind Audiobooks

"We know people want to read more and audiobooks are becoming an increasingly popular way to incorporate books into our busy lives," Hartrell told Tech Times. "Play Books has also been around for a long time, offering over 5 million ebooks in 75 countries, and interest in audiobooks is on the rise, along with audio content generally (e.g. digital music, podcasts, etc.). But most importantly our users are asking for them."

Google Play Audiobooks Support Nine Languages

"That's why we introduced a new audiobooks service on Google Play Books, available globally in 45 countries with content in nine languages, to make reading fit your lifestyle," added Hartrell. Google Play Audiobooks currently support English, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russain, and Spanish.

Google Play Audiobooks offer a large catalog of new releases and best sellers, priced anywhere between $5.99 and $15.00 — similar to Amazon's Audiobook store. For example, J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them audiobook costs $5.99. Whereas Stephen King's latest nightmare It costs $9.99, as an introductory rate.

Google Play Audiobooks Has Something To Offer Everyone

Like its ebooks section, Google Play's Audiobooks offers a variety of different categories, such as Arts & Entertainment, Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Investing, Fiction & Literature, Health, Mind & Body. There's also a large selection of audiobooks for fans of Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science & Technology, Sports, and Travel enthusiasts.

What are some of the highly-anticipated categories on Google Play Audiobooks?

"Typically for ebooks, we've have a lot of interest in science fiction, romance, comic/manga and thrillers," said Hartrell. "While we think some of this will carry over to audiobooks as well, there are some early signs that other genres could be more popular in an audiobook format."

It Was Only Natural To Add Audiobooks

"And this is a continuation of our offerings on the Google Assistant-you can already ask the Assistant to play music, "tell me a story" and play a video. We felt it was only natural to take the next step to include audiobooks," said Hartrell.

At launch, Google Play Audiobooks is offering users the ability to listen to audiobooks without a subscription or internet connection. When asked if Google Play Audiobooks would be adding a subscription package in the near future, Hartrell said, "We've seen great success with subscription products at Google, but at this time we have nothing to announce."

Like most services offered by Google, audiobooks are available to download on iOS, Android, the web, Google Assistant enabled devices.

© 2018 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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