The news of the Amazon/Audible deal broke last Thursday. The story was picked up by Publishers Weekly and the wire services, and it generated significant interest by the financial news outlets.
Audible Inc. specializes in providing audio editions of books, as well as magazines and newspapers, TV and radio subscriptions, and other programming. According to Audible’s website, most of its customers download the audio content from http://www.audible.com/ directly to their computers and then transfer it to MP3 players, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or smart mobile devises (SMDs). Content can also be delivered wirelessly directly to SMDs.
Speculation is that Amazon.com wishes to expand its audio content. The purchase price for Audible is a reported $300 million. Audible has about 80,000 audio programs in its current catalog, including the books The Secret, Skinny Bitch and Sex and the Brain. Categories run from fiction, to self-development, to business, to memoirs.
The acquisition will go through customary regulatory approvals, and it is expected to close within the second quarter of 2008.
Interestingly, within the last year, Amazon has made changes in its handling of digital content, including introducing its Kindle interface. The Kindle, an Amazon product, is a new wireless reading device that has a screen that “looks and reads like real paper” (according to Amazon). As of this writing, the Amazon device had become so popular that it was temporarily sold out.
Amazon also purchased Brilliance Audio last year.
Commenting on the Audible deal, Steve Kessel, Amazon’s Senior Vice President, said: “Working together, we can introduce more innovations and bring this format to an even wider audience.”
I’m thinking that it might just be time to sign up for a digital subscription to The New York Times. Look, Ma, no messy newspapers stacking up! Unfortunately, as of this writing, The Los Angeles Times is not yet available via Kindle. Both are great papers!... or should I say both would be great digital reads?