Google Play is finally offering audiobooks today for consumers who are always looking for a new book to read but may simply not have the time to sit down and actually read it. The launch of audiobooks is not a complete secret as the feature had been hinted at before now with evidence that it would be coming at some point. Audiobooks are now live in the Play Store and on the Google Play desktop website, and Google is rolling the feature out to 45 different countries including the U.S., with support for nine different languages for the narrators.
This is a big step for Google in offering something which has for a while been offered by one of its bigger competitors, Amazon, who has been offering audiobooks through its Audible service for years. The difference is that Audible costs $14.95 a month and you still have to buy most books, whereas audiobooks on Google Play will have absolutely no monthly fee and consumers will just pay for the audiobooks they want access to. It's also possible to listen to free previews of each audiobook before buying so you can listen to the narrator's voice to make sure you enjoy what it sounds like, and if you have the family library option you can share audiobooks with everyone on the plan without them having to pay for the book.
For those with Google Home, Google Home Mini, or Google Home Max, audiobooks have Google Assistant support so it's possible to tell Google to read your books and it will play them through the speakers for you. Since this is support for Google Assistant and not just Google Home speakers in general, it will also be able to read your book through smartphones. It's even possible to listen to your audiobooks through Google Assistant on Android Auto, Android Wear, laptops, and Chromecast devices, and pick things back up one device if you started listening to the book on another beforehand. There's a super convenient timer setting, too, where you can have Google stop the reading after a certain period of time, which could come in handy if you listen to audiobooks in bed so you don't fall asleep in the middle of the reading. While the library of audiobooks will grow, there are already a number of great titles available and on sale for under $10, including Ready Player One for $6.99, Why Not Me for $4.99, The Rooster Bar for $9.99, and others all at varying prices under the $10 mark.