You might already use Spotify to supply a round-the-clock soundtrack of music and podcasts while you navigate work and life, but the platform is giving you another reason to keep its app open all day with a new offering: Audiobooks.
This isn’t the first time Spotify has dipped into audiobook territory before—last year the company unveiled “Harry Potter at Home,” in which a cast of stars read the first novel in the famed fantasy series—but its latest effort is certainly its most ambitious attempt so far at breaking into the $1.5 billion industry. The company released nine public domain titles on Monday, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Jane Austen’s Persuasion, all read by a roster of stars.
Is this a shot across the bow in the direction of the top player in the audiobook world, Amazon-owned Audible? It might be, given Spotify’s successful podcast gambit has seen it eat up 25 percent of the industry’s listener base, according to research compiled by Statistica.
The company is hedging on announcing any larger plan, suggesting that its latest audiobook foray is merely a test run at the moment. Here’s what to know about Spotify’s audiobook splash.
Nine titles from literary luminaries
All the titles are classics in the public domain, read by a cast of thespians and stars. Here’s what’s on offer, as explained by The Hollywood Reporter:
David Dobrik narrates Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Forest Whitaker reads Frederick Douglass memoir Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave; Hilary Swank narrates The Awakening by Kate Chopin; and Cynthia Erivo reads Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
Jean Toomer’s Cane, narrated by Audra McDonald; Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, narrated by James Langton; Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, narrated by Sarah Coombs; Nella Larsen’s Passing, narrated by Bahni Turpin; and Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, narrated by Santino Fontana.
The company is flexing yet more literary muscles for those who’d like to delve a bit deeper via “Sitting with the Classics on Spotify,” in which Harvard professor Glenda Carpio will offer an analysis and broader exploration of each title.
How to listen
There’s not much to explain here—just type the name of the book into Spotify’s search bar. To access Carpio’s lessons, typing in “sitting with the classics” should suffice. Stay tuned for a broader slate of audiobook offerings if Spotify deems its pilot program a success.