Audiobooks are now finally available on the Google Play Store — the fact that they weren't there to begin with is somewhat surprising. The move to offer audiobooks seems to be the direct result of Google's rivalry with Amazon, which owns popular audiobook merchant Audible.
Google Begins Offering Audiobooks
Hence, Google has gotten into the audiobook business. Rolling out in 45 countries, they will be available for purchase via the Play Store or by using Google Assistant — say "OK, Google, read my book." Audiobooks typically sell between $7 and $15, but Google is offering some pretty large discounts to pull new users in, plus 50 percent off your first purchase.
Currently, Google hasn't announced a subscription plan similar to Audible's $15-a-month service that gives users one audiobook plus various other freebies, but it could very well offer something like that down the line.
"With audiobooks on Google Play, rolling out today in 45 countries and nine languages, you can turn your time stuck in traffic, on the treadmill, or waiting in line into reading time," wrote Google in a blog post. "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."
That's right: Google Play audiobooks are available to play on a handful of various Android devices, including the Google Home. Here's how:
How To Play Audiobooks On Google Home
To start listening to audiobooks on Google's smart speaker, purchase a title first, of course. Make sure to buy it from the correct account.
Once it's stored in the library, bark these following commands to start listening and turning to the next chapter, pausing, and more:
• "OK, Google, read [book title]" — to initiate a particular audiobook.
• "OK, Google, previous/next chapter" — to advance or return.
• "OK, Google, how much time is left?" — pretty self-explanatory.
• "OK, Google, stop." — to halt the audiobook.
Basically, the same set of controls that work on podcasts apply to audiobooks on Google Home.
For now, the ability to listen to audiobooks is limited only to English, but it's easy to imagine that more languages will be added over time. The most important thing is that Amazon now has a formidable rival when it comes to audiobooks, and competition is always good to advance an industry.