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  • Writer's pictureAnton Grishin

Russian audiobooks: where to listen?

A brief overview of audiobook services from the cheapest to the biggest. We compare how much audiobook subscriptions cost, how diverse their catalogs are, and what will suit audiobook listeners with different needs.


VK Music

VKontakte's audiobook service launched in September 2023 in the VK Music app. For 169 rubles per month, users get access to both music and audiobooks. The catalog of the service can not be called exhaustive it does not include audiobooks of the largest publishing holding Eksmo-AST. But for such a small subscription price users have access to thousands of audiobooks from other publishers, including exclusives and novelties.


Zvooq

A music service with a long history, once created by the founders of Bookmate, and in recent years acquired and sold to circumvent sanctions by Sber, has also added audiobooks to its catalog. For 199 rubles per month or 990 rubles per year with a SberPrime subscription, you can listen to audiobooks from a dozen publishers, from Eksmo and Azbuka-Atticus to Samokat and Abrikobooks. The Zvooq service is famous for its ability to listen to music in Hi-Fi quality, I wonder if this applies to audiobooks as well.


Bookmate and Yandex.Music

Yandex, after buying Russian part of Bookmate, never seems to have decided what to do with the remaining audiobooks in Yandex.Music service. At the beginning of 2024 Yandex.Plus subscribers can listen to audiobooks for 299 rubles a month in Yandex.Music, and after paying an additional 100 rubles also in Bookmate. It's hard to say how the catalogs of Yandex audiobook services differ, but most likely Bookmate's catalog is larger and updated more regularly. Bookmate has a lot of original audio content and exclusives, but it is not always possible to find bestsellers and novelties, as in other subscription services.


MyBook and the Litres subscription service

The MyBook subscription service claims to have 217,000 audiobooks, podcasts and lectures in its catalog. For 549 rubles per month, the user will have access to all of this audio content along with ebooks. A Litres subscription costs 399 rubles per month and includes, according to the service's claim, more than 500,000 books, audiobooks and podcasts. Both services are connected legally and technologically, so their catalogs should largely coincide. And the main product feature synchronization of text and audiobooks is also available to both services.


Stroki

I've written before about the mixed model of content consumption in the Stroki book service. New subscriptions of the service give access not only to the entire subscription catalog, but also to novelties and bestsellers. Subscription "Many" for 549 rubles per month gives you the opportunity to read and listen without restrictions to books from the main catalog, and also gives you access to 2 paid books (just to those very novelties and bestsellers, which on other services you have to buy for money). However, if you're not a regular audiobook listener and you're not sure you need a subscription, you can buy audiobooks from Stroki by Pay Per Download model. In addition to working with all the major audiobook publishers, Stroki hosts quite a few exclusive audiobooks and podcasts, as well as emphasizing original content created specifically for the service.


Litres

The main model of Litres remains the Pay Per Download sale of content, including audiobooks. The service has been experimenting with audio formats for a long time. In the project Litres.Narrator participate non-professional narrators, who, nevertheless, can perfectly voice books, which have not reached major publishers and studios. And besides that, Litres' Autonarrator has already dubbed more than 3000 audiobooks with synthesized voice. Over the last couple of years, when competitors began to actively develop, Litres has not lost its leading position and still boasts the largest catalog of text and audiobooks, but for some audio novelties you will now have to look at other services.


I hope this format of review was useful for you. In a separate review you can study where it is more profitable to buy Russian ebooks.


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