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How you calculate audiobook useage!

How you calculate audiobook useage!

Hey - massive audiobook fan and long time Spotify member, so delighted that you are offering them as part of Spotify. I use audiobooks a lot as they help me to get to sleep (focussing on listening to a story helps to stop me thinking about other stuff), but often I fall asleep while reading - which is fine - I just 'rewind' to the last place that I remember and then continue listening on my commute the following day. After listening 'Upgrade' by Blake Crouch (10 hours long), I was surprised to see I had reached my 15 hour audiobook limit - I suspect the time listening to the audiobook is based on total time (including time I have to 'rewind') - rather than unique time - so basically the time of the audiobook. I get that you have to calculate this somehow - I just wonder if there's a better way to do it to make it a better experience for people who use audiobooks in the same way as I do and will often fall asleep, then have to 'rewind'.

17 Replies

Hi there @dougiedoodles,

Thanks for posting on the Community!

All listening counts toward your monthly allotment of 15 hours, including the parts of the book you rewind. However, we can suggest that you turn on the sleep timer if you choose to listen to audiobooks before sleeping.

To turn it on, open the Now Playing view > tap the 3 dots > scroll down to Sleep timer. This way, the playback will stop directly after the set time ends.

We hope this helps! Cheers.

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Hmmm - I’ll give the sleep function a go - but obviously it’s very hard to
calculate when you’re going to fall asleep - sometimes it’s 5 minutes,
sometimes it’s an hour - so not a perfect solution I fear. Also - what
happens if I have an audiobook that’s 30 hours long (I’m currently reading
one at 33 hours on Audible)? Can I only listen to half of it in a month?
That’s just weird. Fundamentally I think the ‘hours per month’ model isn’t
going to work - so I think it will be best if I stick with Audible for my
audiobooks where there are no restrictive parameters to listening.

A great idea - but not a very practical delivery solution.

Thanks for your input.

Hey @dougiedoodles,


If you reach the listening cap for the month you'll have top up your listening hours:

  1. Go to the Account overview page.
  2. Under Subscription, select Audiobook listening time.
  3. Select Top up.

You can also purchase audiobooks directly. More info here.


Hope this clears things up. Take care.

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I usually listen at 1.5x speed so am I going to actually be able to listen for 15hrs or 10hrs as I download and listen offline?

Hi @Ptkshona,

Thanks for posting your question! 

We count the listening time used based on each playback of an audiobook at normal speed. This means that if you adjust the speed of the playback, it won’t affect the amount of audiobook listening time that's included in your monthly allocation. For example, if you listen to a 5-hour audiobook at 2x speed, your audiobook listening time is reduced by 5 hours, since that’s the length of the book at normal speed, even if you finish the audiobook in 2.5 hours.

We hope this clear things up!

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I like to read some books partially out of a physical copy, and partially from an audiobook. From reading about the way audiobook hours are counted, I was under the impression that if I listened to the second half of an audiobook through Spotify, only the hours I listened to would be counted (e.g. 6 hrs of a 12 hr audiobook.) However, I just got a notification that I used up my audiobook hours for the month, so it seems all 12 hours of the audiobook in the example above were counted towards my usage, even though I only listened to 6.


Is this as intended? If so, it would be great to have that spelled out in the policy, as this was unclear to me. As is, this feels like a disingenuous count of hours listened.

Hi Maria,

I have a similar problem to dougiedoodles. I often listen to audiobooks and my attention drifts and I need to rewind and play a section back. Sometimes, if I haven't listened to an audiobook for a few days, I like to rewind and playback in order to recap and get back into the flow of the book. On some occasions, if I am listening to a factual history book, I like to rewind and listen back to specific details.


If I download the book, would this solve the issue with regards my listening time.

So, if I download a 10 hour book, I will only use 10 hours of my listening time regardless whether I rewind and replay it several times while downloaded. Is this assumption correct?


If so, how long will the downloaded book sit in my downloads for?


Also, I notice that sometimes my downloaded music has to download again. Surely, if an already downloaded book has to download a second time, this will eat into my listening time.


Perhaps, Biff09 is right. You should consider unlimited audiobook minutes.


Please, do not reply to the unlimited audiobook minutes suggestion with information on how to top up minutes. I would rather pay for a book through another source. Big corporations monopolising markets is never a good thing for either consumers or authors. 😉


Hi Maria,

I have a similar issue with the limited audio time to the listener dougiedoodles above with regards to rewinding and playing back an audiobook.

I sometimes remind and play back a section of an audiobook for various reasons. It can be anywhere between 5-20 minutes, possibly longer.

I do this in order to listen to a section when my attention or focus has drifted, or I want to recap after a few days away from the book, or if I am listening to a factual book and want to retain some specific details.

Can I solve this problem by downloading the book?

If I download 10 hours, can I listen to that 10 hours as much as I like without it using more than 10 hours of my listening time?

Sometimes, the music in the download section of my Spotify account, downloads again. I don't know why BUT I imagine if this happens with an audiobook (ie. an already downloaded book downloads a second time) this would use more time on the monthly limit.


Please advise.





Another quirk of this system is if you do go back a chapter and then go on
to the next, the system is not smart enough to know that you’ve gone back
so will bring you back in wherever you left the previous chapter. So if I’m
halfway through chapter 20 and need to go back to chapter 19, once I’ve
finished chapter 19 it brings me back in halfway through chapter 20.
Audiobooks on Spotify need to be much more intuitive before they can be a
realistic alternative to Audible.

Yes, if I wanted to buy one of the books from Spotify, I would definitely buy it from Audible for lots of reasons. Even this community board doesn't function very well, the amount of messages I have lost trying to post on it is ridiculous.

A possible solution could be a "sleep mode" that pauses when silence is detected for a certain duration, excluding those periods from usage calculations. This would provide a better experience for sleep listeners while maintaining fairness for casual users. Let's hope Spotify considers such options in the future!

Why does Spotify not track your ACTUAL listening hours? Seems like a scam to get people to top up if I’m listening to less hours than it being tracked. 

Like many here I’ve been a Spotify music consumer for many years and was excited to see audiobooks offered. Unfortunately, the decision to limit listening based on time was a horrible one. Even worse was the decision to include rewind time in that calculation. Absolutely horrible. The entire team that made those decisions should be fired. Seriously. There’s no other reason for it other than greed. No different than a kid taking his ball and going home in the middle of a game. I have the most expensive plan offered and now have to ‘top’ off to finish my book? Absolutely horrible decisions.

I personally bounce between both of these for this exact reason. Most novels are going to be more that 15 hours, or at least the ones I read, so I wouldn't be able to even finish 1 book in a month. As such, I'll buy a longer book on audible with a monthly credit. Anything smaller than 10 hours I listen to on Spotify. I'm reading a lot of HP Lovecraft lately and those things are anywhere from 30 mins to 4 hours. Buying all of them would cost me ~23 credits whereas I can just "top off" my spotify time with another 10 hours if I don't get to them all in a month.

This seems to contradict the previous statement that it uses actual length of listening time, so backing up/rewinding counts. 

Seems insane to me that it's not listening time but actually the listening length of standard speed. I listen to my books at 1.2/1.3 depending on the reader, so this means my 15 hours is actually only giving me 11.5-12.5 listening hours simply because they aren't calculating based on what you're listening to. And yet happily deduct additional hours for playback. Which means I'm missing out on listening hours every month because someone else reads slower than I do. It's not actual listening hours but this book = x time for the month. Infuriating. I consume audio books at a ridiculous rate and I was so excited that I could get some free monthly from a subscription I already had. But this is now become a new part time job planning out books and when to start so my 'time credit' doesn't run out before I finish the book. Which has happened and I've had to wait weeks until I could finish because I refuse to purchase an audiobook to only listen to the last little bit. Top up **bleep** when I'm going to pay you more money to be charged for standard listening rate. Please Mr Spotify work out a better way of recording listening hours, a way that is true to the readers and not just a way for you to continually make bank.

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