Swedish streaming audiobook and digital book platform Storytel launched operations in Israel on Tuesday, offering tens of thousands of books for listening and digital reading in Hebrew, English and Russian.
Adults and children can use the app to listen to popular Israeli bestsellers read by the authors or by professional actors and narrators who add an extra dimension of emotion to each book, the company said. Users can listen to an unlimited number of titles for a monthly cost of NIS 49.90. That’s similar to the monthly $15 subscription fee charged by its competitor Audible, but with no listening limit.
Storytel signaled that it would enter the Israeli market last September when it acquired Israeli audiobook leader iCast for around NIS 20 million. Storytel operates in more than 20 countries and offers access to more than half a million different titles in 30 languages, enjoyed by about 1.5 million subscribers worldwide, the company said.
Storytel’s entry into Israel comes against the backdrop of rapid growth of the audiobook market in recent years. The audiobook market is currently estimated to be worth more than $3 billion and is expected to grow by 15% annually over the next decade, the company said.
Among prominent Israeli titles on Storytel are A. B. Yehoshua reading his book Three Days and a Child, Haim Shapira reading On the Really Important Things and Shlomit Cohen Asif reading Doctor Marshmallow. It also includes Israeli best sellers read by top actors and narrators, such as Riki Blich reading Live Fence by Dorit Rabinyan, and Tomer Sharon reading The Last Interview by Eshkol Nevo, the company said.
“While, in the past, all the people who would come to a writer’s meeting would tell me they read the book, in recent years more and more people are telling me that they have listened to it,” said Nevo. “For me, it’s wonderful. Beyond the fact that it allows new audiences access to my work, the vocal performance brings the written word to life and charges it with emotion.”