Audiobooks on Spotify: Here’s the full story

(Spoiler: We want to deliver a super awesome and easy user experience. But once again, Apple is standing in the way—
this time, in addition to consumers being hurt, authors and publishers are also being punished.)

Everyone loves a good story.

And while reading is a wonderful thing, everything changes when you set off on a great adventure, unravel mysteries, or explore our world guided by a voice other than your own. That’s why we could not be more excited to bring more than 300,000 audiobook titles to Spotify listeners in the U.S. (next up: the rest of the world).

Spotify’s goal (as always) is to bring the best we have to offer to our fans around the world. And that means delivering an audio experience that’s intuitive on a platform where it’s easy for authors to connect with you, and even easier for you to dive into the stories you’re captivated by.

How we wanted to deliver on iOS

Open Spotify app






  1. Open Spotify app
  3. Enjoy!

Unfortunately, Apple sees things differently—because fair competition is the last thing Apple wants. So, Apple is forcing iOS users like you to jump through extra hoops (as many as 10 hoops and counting).

Here's what Apple won’t allow you or Spotify to do:

Purchase an audiobook

in the Spotify app on iOS without using Apple’s overpriced and inferior IAP

Explain why you can’t

purchase audiobooks in the Spotify app on iOS

Explain where or how

to make an audiobook purchase outside the app

include a link

to send you directly to an audiobooks purchase page outside of iOS

Send you an email

(that you ask for!) that includes easy to follow audiobooks purchase info

Answer your questions

about audiobooks via an email you’ve asked for (even without our mentioning of purchasing or pricing)

Tell you the cost

of the audiobook in the app or in a subsequent email

Give you tips

to find your way through this convoluted process

Spotify has tried time and time again to appease Apple in a way that will follow their rules but won’t make the entire experience terrible—and Apple has said no each and every time, and they send us back to the drawing board without clear direction. Our initial flow? REJECTED. Our first fix? REJECTED. Our second fix? Again, REJECTED. The third fix? Approved, but an experience dictated by Apple at your expense.

If you’re new here:

Apple doesn’t just make the rules. They also arbitrarily change them to favor their own services and punish app developers who choose not to implement in-app purchases (IAP). And in this case that means audiobook listeners as well as authors and publishers bear the brunt, too.

With this new audiobooks offering, we’re hoping to unlock a huge opportunity for authors and publishers to connect with hundreds of millions of Spotify listeners around the world—like we did with podcasts and music.

But Apple rules are artificially constraining the potential for audiobooks to enrich our lives every day. It’s just not fair, but that’s the game they play. Over and over again.

We’re not giving up, so we’ll share more soon. In the meantime, head to to learn how to buy your first audiobook on Spotify today!