Don’t know about you, but I think this is huge news. The largest online bookseller (actually, it’s the largest online retailer, not just books, but hey, bear with me) acquires the largest audiobooks provider. This is interesting because it’s another step Amazon is taking towards digital media, and this in light of their recent foray into the ebooks realm with their Kindle.
Amazon is now poised to offer the largest collection of books, be it the dead tree version, or the digital version, and now, the spoken word version. The Kindle now has the potential to become very interesting indeed, with the possibility of now delivering audiobooks off the net, and playing it directly. Well, apparently it doesn’t yet offer direct audiobooks download via their Whispernet (requiring users to download it to a PC first, then transfer it to the Kindle) but you can bet your bottom dollar that’s gonna happen sooner or later. Imagine it – you want a book or even an audiobook? Whip out your Kindle, search the Amazon catalogue, download it immediately and voila! (Near-)Instant gratification.
This is exciting as hell, because this is the future. My ideal digital reading scenario is not here yet, but this is a step in the right direction.
There’s only one thing I’m worried about, which is the potential for blocking the sale of audiobooks to countries outside of the US, like what they are currently doing for their Kindle ebooks. This would be a step backwards, because I have purchased books from Audible before without issues.
Having said that, Audible do have audiobooks with explicit restrictions barring them from being sold to customers from certain countries. The Audible helpdesk once explained to me that this is due to publisher rights, and some publishers have legal restrictions from selling their books outside their jurisdiction, and passes along this restriction to Audible.
Well, as long as not *all* books are restricted, as they are with ebooks…
So. Let’s see what Amazon does with this. I’m curious and in for the ride.