Hachette Book Group, whose authors include David Sedaris, James Patterson and Donna Tartt, is putting more than 7,000 books on Spotify.
“I see this as a huge opportunity to be in the company of Joe Rogan, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé,” said Ana Maria Alessi, the vice president and publisher of Hachette Audio.
But there’s also concern that Spotify’s plan, which involves experimentation with a new business model for book sales, could upend the lucrative and growing audiobook business. Rather than pay for each audiobook a customer begins listening to, the company has proposed paying for the amount of time that the customer listens, according to a review of a publisher’s correspondence with agents, which described the terms.
The average audiobook lasts seven to 10 hours, Spotify said, which means subscribers can listen to about one and a half books per month, but some popular books can run for much longer. Subscribers can sample as many books as they want, and heavy users who want to listen to more can pay $10.99 for another 10 hours of audiobook content.
Kim Scott, the best-selling author of “Radical Candor” and a former executive at Google and Apple, is worried that Spotify’s pay-as-you-listen model could devalue the work that goes into writing a book.