When the original Kindle launched in 2007, it could play audiobooks sold by Amazon's (then) recently-acquired Audible. This feature was dropped from later models as they lost support for audio, but now Amazon is bringing it back.
Amazon has updated the listing for the basic Kindle with this nugget of detail:
- With built-in Audible, access the world’s largest library of audiobooks. Easily switch between reading and listening on Bluetooth-enabled speakers or headphones. Available in the coming months.
Amazon hasn't mentioned Audible support on the listings for the Voyage or Paperwhite, and there's no specific date on when the basic Kindle will get the feature, so it might not arrive until next year.
But the feature will arrive eventually, at which time you are better off not using it.
The thing about the Kindle is that it has a small battery. When used as an ereader, the Kindle will last for weeks, but streaming audio over Bluetooth will drain the battery quickly. Said Kindle also has limited storage - 4GB (3GB is user accessible). So even if you didn't run out of battery life, you're still run out of storage after a handful of audiobooks.
So while the basic Kindle could certainly function as an audiobook player, you would be better off using some other device.
image by gminguzzi