Archive for Audible
Audible is probably the definitive service for purchasing audiobooks. The company is owned by Amazon and often runs a series of promotions that give away free content. Today, Microsoft has announced that Windows and Windows Phone 8 users can get a free audiobook using the native app. This is open to new users to Audible only, so existing members will not be able to participate.
You would figure with a free audiobook promotion you might be able to pick and choose what you want. This is certainly not the case with this one! There are only three free audio editions available, American Sniper, The Great Gatsby, and The Power Trip.
This new promotion is only available for US residents, so again users in Canada get the shaft. You only have until May 13th to take advantage of the offer. Obviously, this is not the most compelling freebie promotion Audible has ever run, but if you have a hankering for something to listen to while commuting, now is your chance!
Amazon owned Audible has released its first iPad app today, which will finally allow Apple customers to listen to audiobooks on the go. The new Audible 2.0 app features a very Metro interface that is simplistic in design and easy to navigate. You can connect up to your existing account and have all of your audio editions synced to your iPad, so you can listen to your favorites no matter where you are.
One of the most interesting aspects of the new Audible App is the “Me” section. You can check out how many minutes you have listened to an audiobook and check out your lifetime totals. It looks like Amazon took a page out of the Kobo playbook by introducing rewards and achievements for listening. You can earn badges based on a myriad of factors and can brag to your friends about your progress. I really like tangible elements that give you something to aspire towards when it comes to intangible media.
When you download audiobooks, you can do it in the normal format, which makes the samples or fully featured editions smaller. I would recommend the “high” quality setting, that seems to give you a better overall listening experience. The higher quality files are triple in size, so make sure you are in a WIFI area to not go over your monthly data caps. There is also a sleep timer, so if you are listening to a book while going to bed, it will automatically shut off.
You cannot purchase audiobooks directly within the iPad app. Instead you have to use iTunes to buy any audio edition you want. Any purchases made via Apple will be synced with your Audible account. Alternatively, you can visit the main Audible website and make purchases there. I like the ability to shop for audiobooks within iTunes and have them downloaded right to the app!
We often forget that audiobooks are part of the ebook hierarchy. Amazon’s Audible is the biggest player in this market and has been around for years. Last year, however, Audiobooks.com started up with a new payment model. It charged $24.95 to listen to an unlimited number of audiobooks from the catalog. This was different from Audible’s “credit” model, which, generally, resulted in a payment of $14.95 per book. At that time, Audiobooks.com said that its plan was better because there was “… no need to return audiobooks, no long-term contracts, and no time constraints on audiobook use”.
That has changed, however. Audiobooks.com has just changed its plan to match Audible: $14.95 for one audiobook per month and $22.95 for two audiobooks per month. According to paidContent, Audiobooks.com felt that it was alienating customers by only offering a high-end plan and, given the length of an audiobook, few customers can make use of an unlimited plan.
So why bother with Audiobooks.com when Audible is so much bigger (100,000 titles at Audible vs. 25,000 titles at Audiobooks.com)? Good question. The main difference, now, seems to be that Audiobooks.com offers streaming and Audible does not. It doesn’t seem to me that this is much of a raison d’etre. Streaming will eat up a user’s data plan as audiobooks are hours long. Only a mobile user has much use for streaming, and streaming may not be completely reliable when the user is moving about. To remain competitive, Audiobooks.com will need to come up with a better distinction than this.
United Kingdom based The Guardian newspaper has forged a relationship with Audible, for an audiobook version of the famous paper. Every week the Guardian Audio Edition will hit Audible, and give you a feel for the UK’s book scene and new releases. Audible will also sponsor the Guardian Books homepage, its weekly books podcast, and its books review pages, with co-branded advertising across the newspaper’s website and print edition.
Dipesh Morjaria, Business Director for Multimedia at Guardian News & Media, said: “We are delighted to build on our existing partnership with Audible, an authority in the digital spoken word market. Our digital first strategy and open philosophy means we are constantly looking for new ways to showcase our content and engage new audiences, and The Guardian Audio Edition aims to do this by bringing the sound of the Guardian to life as the very best of our award-winning journalism is translated into spoken word.”
Emilie Marneur, Audible.co.uk, said: “We’re thrilled to be working closely with the Guardian’s award-winning team of journalists, producers and reviewers on The Guardian Audio Edition. It is an exciting new project that will give a voice to the Guardian’s journalism, for the first time allowing people to listen to the best of the Guardian each week. We know from our customers that digital spoken word is an essential medium through which they stay entertained and informed while getting the most from their mobile devices.”
The Guardian Audio edition will be free of charge. You can listen to it via iTunes and the various Audible apps for a myriad of platforms.
Open Road Media has just partnered with audiobook company Audible for new content due out this December. For the first time, Open Road will be offering customers the ability to pick up titles from their Author Brand, E-riginals, and Publishing Partners.
The partnership will kick-off with a broad range of titles from writers in Open Road’s Author Brand Program, including Lawrence Block, Iris Murdoch, and Jonathan Carroll; E-riginals by Mary Glickman, Nicola Barker, and James Jones; and from Open Road’s Publishing Partners, Mysteriouspress.com and Philosophical Library.
Jane Friedman, CEO of Open Road said: “I have been an Audio devotee since 1985 when I founded and was named President of Random House Audio Publishing. We are excited to expand our publishing program into the audio arena with this partnership with Audible, and we look forward to adding hundreds of additional titles on a continuous basis.”
Beth Anderson, Audible EVP and Publisher of Audible said: “Jane Friedman has been a pioneer in audio publishing and digital distribution for years. We are excited to be working with her to make Open Road eBooks into high quality audio performances. Our avid AudibleListener members will enjoy hearing old favorites and discovering new works.”
We have petitioned Open Road for clarification on royalty rates for authors and how much these books will cost. The company currently offers very competitive royalty rates based on the sale of digital books, but audiobooks are different beasts entirely. There is also the question of a broader marketing strategy and how will Open Road promote its first audiobooks, to ensure they are not lost in the shuffle. Audible is trying very hard to solidify relationships with both indie authors and publishing companies. They recently launched Audible Author Solutions, which makes submitting content easier than ever. Good e-Reader will be publishing a story next week that will hopefully bring to light some of the semantics surrounding this new deal that customers and authors alike are wondering about.
Amazon has released two new features that will be critical for the new Kindle Fire HD series of tablets. Immersion Reading and Whispersync for Voice take audiobooks and ebooks to a whole different level.
Immersion Reading brings new harmony to ebooks from Amazon and Audio Books from Audible. It basically allows readers to synchronize a Kindle text with the Audible audio version of that work. While you are reading, the ebook is highlighted as the audio track moves along, making it easier for the reader to follow along. One of the more useful ways you can employ this is by reading a book and listening to the audio version at the same time. People learning new languages could also tremendously benefit from this and don’t forget kids ebooks.
Whispersync for Voice is another new option that, in essence, allows you to read the ebook at home and then pick up where you left off on the audio version. “The ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between reading text on any Kindle and listening to the same title in audio on your smartphone — and always pick up where you left off — means that the story can continue during those times of the day when you cannot look at a screen,” said Audible Founder and CEO Donald Katz in a statement. ”We think that Whispersync for Voice can help us all enjoy more books, which is good news indeed.”
This new Whispersync function would be perfect for people who are reading a book at home and then commuting the next day. You can listen to the ebook version on any official Audible app for the iOS or Android.
These two new features coupled with the Dolby Digital Plus audio capabilities of the Kindle Fire HD should be fantastic for audiophiles. There are custom tuning features that optimize audio and help produce natural, balanced sound with more bass and treble. They also eliminate unnecessary noise and minimize distortion.
What do you need to get all of these new functions right away? You need any new model of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and an iOS or Android device with the official Audible app.
Dan Katz, the CEO of Audible, was one of the last speakers to take to the stage at the Digital Minds Conference today at the London Book Fair. “One of the biggest challenges facing the company is the is that there is simply not enough audio. Every book worth reading should be available as an audiobook – but 80-90% of frontlist books don’t go to audio. E.g. if a member of Audible runs out of Science Fiction audio, we lose a member. So we became producers, and we’re now one of the biggest producers of audiobooks, with recording studios running back to back.”
One of the elements facing audiobooks is who owns the rights. Many books and ebooks often become free after a certain number of years. Publishers often sell the rights to books to other companies once they have monetized it to the best of their abilities or if they face bankruptcy. “I thought this was a no-risk business: to use unused audio rights that were just sitting in filing cabinets. When you have content rights they should be used.”
Don mentioned that the success of Audible was fully reliant on piracy. He mentioned that “Piracy helped Audible take off because it taught everyone how to download!”
Currently, Audible rolled out new marketing tools and author services, allowing authors to embed samples of their works on their websites and blogs. They also added social media functionality to promote your works on Facebook. The company is giving $1 for every book sold, in addition to their normal service of helping to encourage indie authors to convert their books to an audio format.
Amazon owned Audible is the largest audiobook website on the internet and has thousands of audiobooks available for when you don’t feel like reading a book. Amazon has invested over twenty million dollars for a new project called Audible Author Services. It basically allows authors to self-publish their own audiobooks and earn one dollar for every unit sold. One dollar sounds paltry, but it is in addition to the normal commission you get with every sale.
Amazon is betting on authors being able to promote their works via social media and websites better then they can. When you upload an audiobook to Audible, you can embed portions of it into Facebook or your Blog. This can give your audience a chance to check it out before buying it. Once you download the free copy of your audiobook, you will also receive an email with instructions on how you can post a featured review of your audiobook at Audible, which will receive special promotion on the Audible website. Authors can also get into the habit of mentioning their audiobooks whenever they promote their print or ebooks online.
This new project with Audible is being developed from Amazon to foster greater relationships with authors directly. The company said “We have had great success working directly with authors, and these partnerships have led to audience expansion and greater consumption of audiobooks. We know authors work very hard to promote their books; we want to encourage authors to promote their audio versions at the same time. We want all authors in the Audible store to benefit from working with us. We have had great success working directly with authors, and these partnerships have led to audience expansion and greater consumption of audiobooks. We know authors work very hard to promote their books; we want to encourage authors to promote their audio versions at the same time. We want all authors in the Audible store to benefit from working with us.”
The ability to self-publish audiobooks and gain valuable marketing tools is a boon to any indie author looking for a new project. There is a growing segment of mobile customers that want to listen to their books while they walk the dog or drive the daily commute. It is fairly easy to get bored of commercial radio with the same song being played every ten minutes and your Mp3 playlist can quickly become stale.
As eBooks gain momentum, we should lend an ear towards the humble audiobook, which has been around for decades and was originally designed for those who could not read.
When Apple launched the iPod nearly ten years ago, it opened many ears to a whole new way to listen to music, but the iPod proved to be useful for far more. Audiobooks occupy just as important a place in my iPod universe as music. Every day I spend between one to two hours listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
I have always enjoyed audiobooks and podcasts, mainly in the car (especially on long trips). My son and I used to overdose on Harry Potter and Tom Clancy as we drove all over the province on long fishing trips. In the early days we brought along cassette versions of the books, but as more content became available in digital form, the iPod took over.
While my consumption of audio books was heavy in the summer fishing season, the rest of the year it was on the back burner – until a new puppy came into our family and I inherited a new role, that of dogwalker.
Now I walk between one to two hours a day, and my consumption of everything audio has spiked! I keep up-to-date on technology news through podcasts and keep myself entertained by adding audiobooks to my rotation. My daily walks are a quality way to spend time with my dog, get some fresh air and exercise, and listen to great content.
If you are just beginning to explore the world of audiobooks and podcasts, then you will need to visit a few different sites. Without question, iTunes is the best place to go for podcasts. Audiobooks are an entirely different animal, and while iTunes has a good assortment available, Audible.com is the leader in this space. They have a vast library of titles available as well as some some great subscription options.
The iPod is not the only medium for audiobooks. Most of our smartphones, tablets, and even our in-car GPS units can act as a player. I will discuss these options in detail in future posts.
For now, drop in to iTunes, have a listen to a podcast or two, and maybe take a look at the book offerings. Music is great, but listening to a good book is a joy!
Steve Dotto is the host of Dotto Tech, a weekly radio show and podcast on technology,
In the past if you wanted to buy a quality Audiobook you had to go to the main site Audible.com and transfer the titles to Kindle via USB. Amazon has changed the game and is allowing users to purchase audiobooks and deliver them to your Kindle via WIFI.
Over 50,000 audio titles are available with the launch of this new service. Audible offers two free audiobooks with a 30-day free trial of AudibleListener Gold Membership. To get started, go to the Audible Audiobooks Store to view audiobook titles available for purchase from Audible, read by your favorite celebrities, authors, and professional performers.