Kobo has announced the launch of a new audiobook subscription service. The Rakuten-owned company is known for its various eBook readers, as well as the large number of eBook titles it offers to its customers, but now the company is entering new territory with the release of audiobooks through its own app, as well as a new monthly subscription service that will help the company compete with the likes of Amazon-owned Audible.
Kobo is yet to reveal the exact number of audiobooks it currently includes in its library, but for now, those customers residing in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK will all have access to them. Those who use Kobo's app will have the choice of purchasing individual audiobooks or signing up to the previously mentioned subscription service. Kobo is offering users a 30-day free trial, but once this is up, those in the US will be forced to pay a base price of $10 per month if they wish to continue with the service. In terms of offerings, the subscription payment offers users the choice of any one audiobook per month, regardless of the price, while those who feel one audiobook isn't quite enough will also have the option of paying $30 per month in order to gain access to three different audiobooks, instead of the standard one. Pricing isn't consistent in other territories, though, with users in Canada and Australia being forced to pay $13 per month, those in New Zealand will pay $14 and customers in the UK will be charged £7. For now, the new audiobooks are available to those in the previously mentioned territories, but it's likely that, if proven popular, the feature will expand to include a number of other territories and languages, as well as many other audiobook titles.
Kobo's subscription service does undercut its main rival, Audible, by $5 per month in the US, something that could prove to be a significant advantage for the newcomer. Nonetheless, the large library that Amazon's offering includes, as well as its brand recognition, and its consistently strong growth mean Kobo has a steep road ahead of itself if it wishes to successfully compete in the market. For now, it'll remain to be seen how popular Kobo's new service turns out to be and how it chooses to expand it over time.