Google, through its Play Store has announced a renewed thrust into the world of audiobooks by launching a dedicated store that will rival Amazon’s Audible. This will enable the search giant to cement its grip on customers buying its smart speakers by providing auxiliary services unique to its devices.
The rivalry between Google and Amazon has created a wall between their devices and services. Amazon’s Audible cannot play on Google Home while Google’s audiobooks cannot play on Amazon’s Echo. The lack of integration between the two giants is conspicuous considering that Google Home and Amazon Echo work seamlessly with other services from various vendors.
The incompatibility of the two companies’ devices and content can be attributed to their desire to fence in users as they continue to grow their market share for smart speakers. Users will therefore decide which smart speaker to buy based on whether they will be able to play their favorite audiobooks.
Google is launching the audiobook store on Play. However, the Google Play Books app will be able to run on both Android and iOS devices. The service will let users buy books on a one-off basis instead of a monthly subscription. With big discounts at launch, the company is hoping to tap into a reader base that may have been discouraged by subscription services because they aren’t heavy readers. Some of the big discounts include $5.99 for a one-off purchase of “Why Not Me?” by Mindy Kaling which is selling for $21 on Amazon’s Audible. “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders is being sold for $8.99 compared to $24.50 on Audible. These discounts may be aimed at attracting an audience and will definitely not last long.
Amazon’s Audible has a subscription service that offers one book per month for $14.95 which is also a huge discount compared to buying a standalone audiobook.