UPDATE 1/24: Google Play is now officially selling audiobooks, and you can get some nice discounts.
Numerous hot titles, including the sci-fi novel Ready Player One, Stephen King's It and Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury, are now less than $10, or half off their original prices. Find them in the Play Store's dedicated audiobook section.
In addition, Google will offer another 50 percent discount on the first audiobook you buy from the store.
"On Google Play, you can buy a single audiobook at an affordable price, with no commitments," the company said on Tuesday. The statement is an apparent dig at Amazon's own subscription audiobook service, Audible, which costs $14.95 a month.
The audiobook sales on Google Play are now available in 45 countries and nine languages. Once bought, the items can be played over an app called Play Books, which works on Android, iOS, and the web.
Any book you buy can also be read over Google Assistant on your smartphone or Google Home, the company's smart speaker. "Just say 'Ok Google, read my book' to listen to your favorite audiobook hands free," the search giant said.
Other voice commands include "Ok Google, who is the author?" or "Ok Google, stop playing in 20 minutes" if you'd like to set a timer for bedtime reading.
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"For now, the Google Assistant integration with audiobooks is available on Android phones and smart speakers globally in English," the company said. "It will be coming soon to the Assistant on Android Auto in the U.S."
Original Story 1/21:
If you love listening to Harry Potter in your car instead of sitting down and reading about the boy wizard's adventures—and you own an Android smartphone or tablet—you're in luck. Audiobooks are coming to Google Play, presumably in a big way.
According to numerous reports, Google recently put up a banner in the Google Play Store to indicate that "Audiobooks are now on Google Play." However, tapping the banner currently takes you to a 404 error page within the app and on the web. Google does technically offer audiobooks already, but through Google Play Music, not the Google Play Store directly.
Google is likely waiting to make a big announcement about the addition of an audiobooks category to Google Play Store before it flips the switch. And when it does, the company is offering an incentive to get users browsing and buying: half-off the first audiobooks they purchase.
What we don't know is whether Google is planning to present audiobooks in both the Google Play Store and Google Play Music. To reduce confusion, it's possible Google might just move all audiobooks to the Google Play Store. We also don't know just how many audiobooks Google is planning to offer within the Google Play Store, but we expect the selection to be larger and more diverse than the Google Play Music's audiobook library.
As AndroidHeadlines notes, it appears Google's rollout of a new category for audiobooks in the Google Play Store isn't global—users in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have seen the promotional banners, but they aren't appearing for all Android users worldwide. This suggests some countries might not be able to access audiobooks in the Google Play Store at first, but we'll have to wait until Google's announcement, which should hopefully happen in the new few days or weeks, to learn more.
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