Rakuten Kobo Announces Audiobooks and Subscription Service

Have you heard? Getting your fill of of fiction and nonfiction books alike just got a little bit easier.

Rakuten Kobo has announced the addition of audiobooks to the Kobo experience, providing customers the ability and joy of being told a story. This is the latest way Kobo is reimagining the storytelling space. Readers can choose audiobooks from every genre, from Harry Potter to bestsellers like Into The Water by Paula Hawkins.

“I’m now a total convert. I’d forgotten what a joyous thing it is to allow yourself to be told a story,” says Hawkins.

Audiobooks will be available for purchase on their own, but avid readers can also sign up for a subscription-based plan, starting at $9.99 USD or $12.99 CAD a month. That subscription comes with a 30-day free trial as well. Every month you will receive a credit that can be used to purchase an audiobook, even if the list price is higher than $9.99. Those with subscriptions also have the opportunity to buy three-packs of credits for $29.99. This can be useful as many new books come in at a higher list price and the credit system allows you to have instant access for a standardized price.

“We have more books than time, always. Audiobooks let our readers fit the books they love into more parts of their day,” says Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo Inc. “Audio lets you be in two places at once-exploring the galaxy on the daily commute, solving a crime while doing the laundry, or wherever you want your favourite story to take you.”

Rakuten purchased Kobo in 2011, the Toronto-based Rakuten Kobo Inc. is a leading e-reading innovator. There are more than five million ebooks available to customers in 190 countries. The company has several Kobo Aura devices made for reading, but also has an app specially designed to allow any smartphone to become a reading tool.

“Last year, we built the Kobo Aura ONE eReader with the help of our best customers, and our new offering is no different,” continues Tamblyn. “What we unequivocally heard was that they wanted the best deal on audiobooks, and we are pleased to offer the lowest subscription price available.”

In perhaps one of the most soothing press releases ever, Rakuten Kobo also recorded a voiceover of the announcement, embedded below. Just try and not enjoy that comforting voice.