When Amazon launched the new Kindle Fire HD last week Jeff Bezos made a big deal over Whispersync for Voice, a new Kindle feature which will let you sync your reading position in an ebook with a similar point in the audiobook version of the title.
I don’t listen to audiobooks (people talk to slow), but even I can tell that this is a cool feature which will prove useful to a lot of readers (the foreign language aspect could be especially helpful to students). And this is also a feature that Amazon is wasting no time in pitching the feature to audiobook buyers.
A reader was browsing the Audible website yesterday when Amazon made him an offer. Since he owned the Kindle edition of a particular audiobook, Amazon offered him the audiobook at a discount:
Amazon is nothing if not an enthusiastic salesman. In the center of the page is this offer:
So here we see the real nefarious reason for this feature; Amazon wants to sell you more content. Bwahaha.
Note, though, that this isn’t Amazon first attempt at cross-promotion. For several years now Amazon has offeredand other mobile devices when you sign up for an audible subscription. That offer isn’t available at the moment, but it did include the Kindle and the Kindle Fire.
Speaking of the credit, doesn’t it seem rather interesting that Amazon ended it right around the time that the new devices launched? Was that a coincidence, do you think?
Amazon bought Audible back in early 2008, 3 years after they bought Mobipocket and started building the Kindle platform. It wasn’t clear back then why Amazon bought the start up, other than to sell more content, but now I guess we know. Amazon saw a relationship between audiobooks and ebooks that everyone else had failed to exploit. of course, they had to build the platform first, but I suspect that this was the plan in 2008.
Don’t believe me? Look at how long ago Amazon bought IMDb (1998), another content source which Amazon exploited last week in Whispersync for Video. Or look at Shelfari, which was bought back in 2008, but was only integrated into the Kindle’s X-Ray feature last year. Okay, IMDB would require a level of foresight which I doubt anyone could possess, but my points about Audible and Shelfari remain.
If Amazon owns any other seemingly unrelated content companies now would be a good time to see how they might be integrated into the Kindle platform. I’d bet they will be.