Google adds audiobooks to round out home speaker hub war with Amazon

One more shot at Amazon: You can now buy single audiobooks on Google Play and queue them to read through Assistant devices like Google Home.


Google on Tuesday launched audiobook streaming and purchases across Google Assistant devices like Google Home, and Google Play Books on Android, iOS, and web.


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Google is offering single audiobook purchases on Google Play at "an affordable price, with no commitments" that users can listen to no matter what device they're using, Google explained in a blog post.

Audiobooks are available in 45 countries and nine languages. Competitor Amazon, who owns audiobook platform Audible, offers audiobooks through single purchases and a $14.95 monthly subscription service.

Google will offer users a free preview of the audiobook through Google Play. They can also be shared with your family through Family library for free across different devices.

Users can now say "Ok Google, read my book" with Google Assistant to launch an audiobook or ask simple questions about the book's details. Google is harping on integration of audiobooks across its platform, and it makes sense to launch given its Home speaker push. Amazon users can trigger audiobooks to stream on Audible across the Alexa device ecosystem.

For now, Google said the Google Assistant integration with audiobooks is available on Android phones and smart speakers globally in English. Audiobooks support will also be coming soon to the Assistant on Android Auto in the US.

To entice purchases, Google is offering 50 percent off first audiobook purchases.