Kobo enters audiobook market

Kobo enters audiobook market

Kobo has launched an audiobook subscription service claiming to offer “the best value on a subscription plan in the category”.

The Canada-based e-book company follows rivals such as Amazon’s Audible and Scribd in entering the audiobook download and subscription market, after sales of the medium have soared over the last two years.

Kobo is offering customers one download a month for a £6.99 monthly subscription fee. By comparison, Audible offers one download a month for £7.99, from a choice of 200,000 titles and Scribd offers 3 books and 1 audiobook each month for $8.99 a month.

Kobo customers can also buy audiobooks “a la carte”.

The company said subscribers could redeem their monthly credit for any audiobook at Kobo.com, even if its list price is higher and customers can also have the option to purchase a three-pack of credits for £19.99. Like Amazon and Scribd, users can take advantage of a free 30-day trial.

The Rakuten-owned company has entered the audiobook market at a time downloads of the medium is growing.

In the UK, 2016 saw a sharp rise in sales of digital audiobooks from publishers, up 28% to £16m, though this number underestimates the market size. In the US, meanwhile in the US, sales have continued into the first quarter of 2017, with US publishers seeing a 28.8% rise in audiobook downloads to $74.7m in the first quarter.

This trend is occurring as sales of e-books from traditional publishers are falling, down 5.3% to $281m in the first quarter in the US.

Michael Tamblyn, c.e.o. of Rakuten Kobo Inc said audio books help readers consume more books.  “We have more books than time, always. Audiobooks let our readers fit the books they love into more parts of their day,” he said.  “Audio lets you be in two places at once—exploring the galaxy on the daily commute, solving a crime while doing the laundry, or wherever you want your favourite story to take you.”

The audiobook feature is available from the Kobo app.