Google brings audiobooks to its Play store

Google’s Play store now features audiobooks. There is a good chance that you only think of the Play store as Google’s app store for Android, but it has long features support for movies, TV shows, magazines and ebooks, too.

The new audiobooks feature is launching in 45 countries and nine languages.

The addition of audiobooks feels like a natural progression, but I was actually surprised to hear that these weren’t in the store already. What took the company so long? “We know people want to read more and audiobooks are becoming an increasingly popular way to incorporate books into our busy lives,” Google Play Book’s head of product management Greg Hartrell told me. “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.”

Like on similar platforms, you can hear a preview of the audiobook on the Play Store and audiobooks are automatically part of your family library, so you can easily share your audiobook copy of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” with everybody in your household.

One nifty feature here is the integration with the Google Assistant on your phone and on Google Home. Using this integration, you can simply ask the assistant to read you your book and it’ll do that. You can also ask some basic questions about the book (“Who is the author?”).

Google’s pricing looks to be competitive with similar offerings from Amazon, for example, and — at least for the time being — many of the most popular titles are available for under $10, including Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury ($8.99) and John Grisham’s The Rooster Bar ($9.99).

The supported languages are English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Korean, Japanese and Polish. The 45 countries where the service will be available include most of Europe, as well as North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, India and a select number of Asian countries.