Spotify tries out audiobooks with help from some celebrity narrators

Spotify's audiobooks will include Frankenstein, The Red Badge of Courage, Jane Eyre and other public domain classics.

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Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
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Frankenstein and other classics are available in audiobook format on Spotify.

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Spotify  on Monday began testing the appeal of audiobooks by adding nine classic public domain titles recorded by professional narrators and celebrities. If you open Spotify on your phone or computer, you'll be able to find the titles under a section called Audiobooks: Hear the Classics. The books are available for free and premium users.

Here's a list of the titles and narrators you can listen to exclusively on Spotify: 

  • Frankenstein, written by Mary Shelley and narrated by David Dobrik
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written by Frederick Douglass and narrated by Forest Whitaker
  • The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin and narrated by Hilary Swank
  • Cane, written by Jean Toomer and narrated by Audra McDonald
  • Persuasion, written by Jane Austen and narrated by Cynthia Erivo
  • Great Expectations, written by Charles Dickens and narrated by James Langton
  • Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Brontë and narrated by Sarah Coombs
  • Passing, written by Nella Larsen and narrated by Bahni Turpin
  • Red Badge of Courage, written by Stephen Crane and narrated by Santino Fontana

The new audiobooks feature will also include an original chapter deep-dive session about the book's history and themes recorded by Harvard professor Glenda Carpio. You'll learn about narratives and how they still endure in today's world. Caprio can also be found in a feed called Sitting with the Classics on Spotify which has bonus literary material. 

Spotify has plans to launch the audiobooks globally, but for now, they're only being promoted as a pilot project in English-speaking markets including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and Denmark. It's unclear how long this pilot will last.  

Spotify isn't new to audiobooks. Users might've come across Word on Spotify prior to the release of the nine classics on Monday. Word on Spotify housed radio crime dramas, language learning playlists, Emily Dickinson's poems, civil rights speeches, mythology, beat poetry, short stories, Shakespeare, Sylvia Path and more.

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