Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

Spotify tries out audiobooks of classics like ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Frankenstein’

The streaming giant is extending its foray into audiobooks, dropping nine new public-domain classics narrated by celebrities including Hilary Swank and Forest Whitaker.

spotify tries out audiobooks of classics like persuasion and frankenstein 1024x683 - Spotify tries out audiobooks of classics like ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Frankenstein’

The platform known best for its music has used podcasts to drive growth since 2019, and recently began bolstering its audiobook selection.

A Spotify spokesperson said the launch was part of “tests in an effort to improve our user experience”.

“Some of those tests end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning,” the spokesperson said.

Spotify starts audiobooks experiment with Harry Potter

bdb2100e magic of books - Spotify tries out audiobooks of classics like ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Frankenstein’
The first ‘Harry Potter’ book was released in audiobook form on Spotify in May 2020. Image: Adobe Stock

In May 2020, the Swedish company released an audio version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first volume in the beloved series.

Daniel Radcliffe — who played the bespectacled wizard on film — was among the celebrities who read chapters.

In August, the group began recruiting a head of audiobooks. This signals a sign of ambition in the market dominated by the Amazon-owned Audible.

Nine audiobook titles available on Spotify

The nine available titles include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein — narrated by David Dobrik, the memoir Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave read by Forest Whitaker, and Jane Austen’s Persuasion recorded by Cynthia Erivo. Hilary Swank read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.

The books are broken up by chapter into episodes and are available for free globally. All these works are in the public domain. This means Spotify does not need to pay to license them before recording their own versions.

The streaming company has also uploaded an audio analysis series titled Sitting with the Classics. It is hosted by Harvard literature professor Glenda Carpio.

© Agence France-Presse

ALSO READ: Book goals: Five tips for how to read more books in a year

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