Barnes & Noble is finally offering an audiobook service

B&N Audiobooks is a very late answer to Audible.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 30: People walk outside the Barnes & Noble book store on Fifth Avenue as New York City moves into Phase 2 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on June 30, 2020. Phase 2 permits the reopening of offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, barbers and beauty parlors and numerous other businesses. Phase 2 is the second of four phased stages designated by the state. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 30: People walk outside the Barnes & Noble book store on Fifth Avenue as New York City moves into Phase 2 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on June 30, 2020. Phase 2 permits the reopening of offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, barbers and beauty parlors and numerous other businesses. Phase 2 is the second of four phased stages designated by the state. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images) Noam Galai via Getty Images

Barnes & Noble finally has a direct answer to Amazon's purchase of Audible. The bookseller has launched a B&N Audiobooks service in the US that lets you either buy recordings or pay $15 per month for a subscription that offers one recurring monthly credit. You'll have access to more than 300,000 titles through the web as well as the Nook apps for Android and iOS.

The launch is arguably overdue. Amazon bought audiobook heavyweight Audible in 2008, and has both woven it into services and expanded its offerings with original books and services like the all-you-can-read Audible Plus plan. That investment has helped Audible dominate the market for years, and that's not including longstanding competition from Apple, Kobo and others. Barnes & Noble is entering a very well-established market as a relative outsider.

The bookshop might not be deterred, however. Barnes & Noble chief James Daunt has been leading an e-book revival at the company that includes much-needed hardware upgrades. An audiobook service could help with that strategy by letting B&N match its competitors' core features, even if it's unlikely to topple its biggest rivals any time soon.

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