Audiobooks Are Now Available on the Google Play Store
Google Play just launched audiobooks in forty-five countries and nine languages. Audiobooks and ebooks are going to be split into separate categories, which makes perfect sense given that they're consumed in completely different ways. The full list of countries and languages can be found here.
Unlike some of the competition in the audiobook market, Play Books won't be subscription-based. Each audiobook can be purchased like a regular book, by paying a fixed amount. Free previews are also available, just like with normal books. You can also share purchases with Family Library, read them on your phone, your tablet, your computer, and even on your Google Home device. All you need to do is simply say, “OK Google, read my book”. Additional commands such as "who is the author" and "stop playing in 20 minutes" are also available (see the complete list of commands here). Assistant integration is currently limited to English language users, and Android Auto support is coming soon.
For the audiobooks, all of the standard playback controls are available, including the standard play/pause button, fast forward, and rewind. There is also a scrubber bar, so you'll be able to move to a specific time and a skip button for jumping between chapters. Alternatively, chapters can also be skipped from the table of contents. Playback time is shown in the standard HH: MM: SS format. You can even speed up/slow down the narration speed according to your preference.
Another important feature for audiobooks is keeping track of your progress. Play Books will keep track of how far you were in the book so you won't lose your place. Not only that, but if you're using more than one device to play an audiobook, you'll be told if the device you're currently listening to is ahead of or behind another device and get the option to jump to the place where that device left off. It is particularly useful if you use your current phone for listening during a commute, but then switch to another device when you get home.
The Audiobooks section on Google Play is live right now, and you can avail a 50% discount on your first book. Google is also offering dozens of top titles and best-sellers for under $10 to celebrate the launch.