Over the weekend, Google Play inadvertently teased the launch of an audiobook store and listening feature. Today, that functionality is officially launching as part of Play Books and includes integration with Google Assistant.
Compared to Amazon’s Audible, Google Play is not adopting a subscription model. Touting “no commitments,” audiobooks are available at an “affordable price” with free previews to listen to the narrator’s voice before buying. Meanwhile, purchases can be shared through Play’s Family Library feature.
Audiobooks can be played through the updated Play Books app for Android and iOS, as well as on the web. Google touts playback syncing, with the mobile clients also supporting Google Cast. The audio player features fast rewind/forward controls and the option to speed up playback.
Other advantages include deep integration with the Google Assistant. “Ok Google, read my book” works on both phones and speakers for hands-free listening, while other commands include a sleep timer (Ok Google, stop playing in 20 minutes) and finding more about the author.
Integration is currently live for Android phones and smart speakers set to English, and is coming soon to Assistant on Android Auto in the U.S. Meanwhile, audiobooks in Play Books will be widely available in 45 countries and nine languages.
The feature is rolling out today with the Play Store running a sale on dozens of top titles and best-sellers for under $10. Additionally, your first audiobook purchase is 50% off.