Audiobooks have proven to be Scribd’s secret weapon in the subscription ebook market but Amazon is not exactly unarmed.
The retailer has offered around 2,000 audiobooks in Kindle Unlimited since it launched last July, and now German subscribers can join the fun. Amazon just that the addition of 2,000 English and German Audible audiobook titles to the Amazon.de branch of Kindle Unlimited. For 10 euros per month, subscribers can listen to as many audiobook titles as they like, or read from a catalog of 850,000 ebooks.
The audiobook selection includes top titles from the mystery, horror, thriller, romance, and comedy genres like Das Mädchen, das den Himmel berührt, Die Seelenfischer, and Psychose (the translated edition of Blake Crouch’s first Wayward Pines novel).
“We are excited about the integration of thousands of English and German audio books in the Kindle Unlimited subscription and for a monthly price that is below that of a hardcover bestseller,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Kindle Europe. He went on to add that subscribers read about 50% more than they did prior to signing up for Kindle Unlimited.
Two thousand audiobook titles is a nice start, but Amazon has a long way to go to match Scribd’s offering. Last week Scribd signed a deal with Penguin Random House to add 9,000 audiobook titles to Scribd’s $9 a month subscription service, boosting Scribd’s audiobook catalog to over 45,000 titles (as well as a million plus ebook titles).
Alas, Amazon might not be able to afford to match Scribd’s selection (even if publishers were willing); Kindle Unlimited is costing Amazon at least $9 million a month. While that is a drop in the bucket compared to Amazon’s annual revenues, KU is just one of Amazon’s many gambles, and there’s no way to tell whether the service is generating a profit yet or even financially viable.