The Google Play Store has sold just about every media type for years now, but there's one more category the company is getting into as of today: audiobooks. As a leaked image revealed a few days ago, audiobooks are now on sale from Google Play in 45 countries and nine languages. As with most other Google services, audiobooks are available on pretty much any device you would want to use: Android, iOS, the web and Google Home speakers. To play a book on your phone, you'll need to download the Google Play Books app, which until now has focused on text-only options.
If you're a fan of using the Google Assistant, you can simply say "Hey Google, read my book" and your phone or speaker will continue reading the most recent book you were listening to. And your location in the book will sync across devices, so you won't have to try and find your place when listening across multiple devices.
Aside from the expected ubiquity across devices and platforms, audiobooks will also be available without a subscription. Amazon's Audible service lets you do the same, although the company very heavily pushes people towards its $15 / month subscription service. (With good reason; many of Audible's books cost upwards of $20, though there are still plenty of deals to be had).
As Google's service just launched, we can't say yet how prices will compare to Audible; given the way book publishing and pricing works, we'd be surprised if it is much different. But we do know that Google is offering "dozens" of titles for less than $10 as part of an introductory sale. Among those options is a wild version of George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo -- the audiobook features a whopping 166 different participants (including Bill Hader, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Don Cheadle, Julianne Moore and many more), each playing a different part as if they're reading a seven-hour play.
If you're interested in audiobooks but haven't bought into Audible yet, Google's store should be live by the time you finish reading this. Whie it's hard to see it matching the juggernaut that Amazon has built, being able to quickly access audiobooks from the Google Assistant could be a handy feature for the many people who've picked up a Google Home speaker in the last few months.