Currently, both free and Premium users can purchase individual titles. However, as of October 2023, Premium subscribers also get 15 hours of free audiobook access a month.
There are more than 300,000 titles on its app, and you can access 150,000 of them as part of this bundled allowance. It doesn’t include everything, then, but lots of big books from huge names and publishers are in there.
Interested? Here’s how you can grab your next favourite novel, memoir, or true crime narration on the app.
How Spotify Premium audiobooks work
Each month, Spotify Premium now includes 15 hours of access to a large selection of audiobooks. You need to look for the “included in Premium” tag on audiobooks as you search.
In the Spotify phone app, tap the Audiobook shortcut at the top of the screen to browse.
The platform keeps track of how much you listen. When you run out of the 15-hour allowance, you can either buy another 10 hours for £9.99, or buy the audiobook outright.
Those 10 hours won’t expire at the end of the month, so can be used as a buffer if you’re almost at a new monthly cycle but want to hear the end of a story.
The problem with buying audiobooks on Spotify
Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t let you buy audiobooks through in-app purchases. This is because these transactions would require it to pay commission to Apple and Google.
Instead, you’ll need to buy audiobooks on the web, after which they’ll be unlocked on the app for you to listen to. Even Spotify admits that this process is “not ideal”.
Nevertheless, we’ve detailed the steps you need to follow below.
How to find and buy audiobooks on Spotify
Open Spotify on your internet browser, sign in if you haven’t already, and select the search option in the sidebar on the left. Here, you will see the Audiobooks tile, which you can select to browse titles in curated categories including “fantastic first audiobooks”, “What’s new”, “Mystery and Thrillers”, and “Personal Development”, among other genres and titles.
You can also see if Spotify has a specific audiobook by selecting search on the left and then entering it in the search bar. You can filter the results to just “audiobooks” by selecting the tag below the search bar.
Choose an audiobook by clicking on it and you will see a prominent “buy” button. Select it and you will be taken to a checkout page where you can pay with a credit or debit card.
The audiobook will now be available in the “your library” section of the mobile app for you to listen to.
As with songs, you can download audiobooks for offline listening when you don’t have access to Wi-fi or mobile data.
There is also an automatic bookmarking feature that saves your place so you can pick up listening on the page where you left off.
While speed control can speed up or slow down the pace of the narration, in case you want to flip through a book quickly, or slow down the pace. Once you’ve purchased a book, you can rate it and view its cumulative score, too.
How much are audiobooks on Spotify?
Unlike music and podcasts, audiobooks aren’t free. Below are a selection of books and their prices on Spotify.
J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, £31.90
Richard Osman’s The Bullet That Missed, £19.49
George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire, £31.90
Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety, £19.49
Becoming by Michelle Obama, £17
Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, £29.90
Rylan Clark’s Ten: The Decade that Changed My Future, £21.90
Peter Crouch’s How to be an Ex-Footballer, £15.99
Matthew Perry’s Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, £29.90
Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved Me, £15
How do they compare?
Basically, the only services that offer a comparable amount of audiobooks to Spotify are Audible (owned by Amazon — it has a sale on now) and Audiobooks.com, which is an independent company that offers a subscription service but offers you three free books.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is also a monthly subscription service but only offers 5,000 audiobooks. It’s worth checking your local library, too. Many offer free access to fairly large selections of audiobooks through the Overdive and Borrowbox apps. All you need is a library membership.