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2018.02.22 Google Finally Entering Audiobook Market
On January 23, 2018, Google began offering audiobooks for sale in its Google Play Store. One can begin by purchasing individual books; there is no need to sign up to a monthly subscription. In addition to desktop PCs, the audiobooks can be enjoyed through smartphones or any device equipped with Google Assistant. The service is available in 45 countries, and as of now, it supports nine languages: English, Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Korean and Polish.  

Existing competitors in the audiobook field, for example, Amazon's Audible as well as others such as Bookbeat and Storytel, all take after the monthly subscription model to provide their services. To set itself apart, Google adopted the individual sales model so that customers can simply purchase books whenever they want. Google's services are also available in a much wider range of countries. 

Based on recent trends in the United Kingdom and the United States, the audiobook market has been steadily growing. This might be attributed in part to the fact that they can be “read” while doing something else, e.g., washing the dishes or driving. Also, the evolution of the audiobook's data format—from cassette tapes/CDs to online or downloads—has opened up a new market in those who were hitherto non-regular readers, further boosting sales.

In the U.S. Google store, popular titles such as Michael Wolff’s "Fire & Fury" and Stephen King’s "It" are currently available for less than $10 each. Japan's Google store is having a 500-yen sale across select books for a limited time. Furthermore, with the launch of its new service, Google is offering a 50% discount on first purchases until February 26, with an eye to increase readership. 

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