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Google Play Books now lets you stream audiobooks on Assistant devices

Google Play Books
Image used with permission by copyright holder
You can now buy and use audiobooks through Google’s Play Store. Specifically through Google Play Books, the new audiobooks store is available in 45 different countries. The news comes after the company accidentally posted an advertisement for the service over the weekend.

The audiobook service integrates seamlessly with any device that utilizes the Google Assistant, including devices like the Google Home and the Google Home Mini. With audiobook integration, Google is bringing yet another feature to its smart speakers that was once limited to Amazon’s Echo devices.

In addition to asking devices with Google Assistant to read audiobooks, there are several other interesting things you can do with the Assistant and audiobooks. You can use voice commands to learn more about the author and even set a sleep timer for the audiobook. These specific features are limited to English speakers on Android phones and smart speakers, and Google plans to integrate the service into Android Auto for U.S. drivers in the near future.

In its announcement, Google took a swipe at rival Amazon by stating it would allow users to “buy a single audiobook at an affordable price, with no commitments.” Amazon’s Audible offers significant discounts on audiobooks for users who join its membership program.

If Google can manage to undercut Audible’s prices without requiring a monthly membership, it could make the store a viable alternative, especially for Android users who have the Play Store baked in. When we compared prices between Google Play Books and Audible, we found Google’s prices to be significantly lower on several books.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Google Play Books will be one of the first major players to take on Amazon’s Audible, the world’s largest audiobook store. It’s unsurprising, considering audiobooks are the fastest growing segment in publishing, with more than $3.5 billion dollars in sales in 2016. Even capturing a small percentage of the global audiobook audience will be lucrative for Google.

To celebrate the launch of its audiobook store, Google is offering some pretty heavy discounts. You can get 50 percent off your first audiobook purchase, and there are also dozens of bestsellers priced under $10.

Update: We’ve updated this article to reflect the official announcement.

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