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Amazon Adds 2,000 Audiobooks to Kindle Unlimited in Germany

kindle unlimitedAudiobooks 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 announced that the addition of 2,000 English and German Audible audiobook titles to the 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.



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Why Ebook Developers Should Share Tools | Digital Book World April 21, 2015 um 8:07 am

[…] Kindle Unlimited Adds Audiobooks in Germany (Ink, Bits & Pixels) Amazon gives subscribers to its Kindle Unlimited program in Germany access to 2,000 English and German audiobooks in addition to the roughly 850,000 ebooks already on offer. That expansion pales beside the more than 9,000 digital audio titles Penguin Random House added to Scribd’s now 45,000-title audiobook catalog last week, but it’s another recent instance of audiobooks ebooks rubbing elbows in the subscription space both in the U.S. and overseas. […]

Eric May 26, 2015 um 11:14 am

I’m a bit puzzled by your numbers that suggest KU is costing Amazon $9+ million a month. The link indicates that’s their author payout, but it doesn’t say what their revenue might be from the number of subscribers. Your May 4th articles says KU is "funded from a pool worth $9.5 million" yet it’s my understanding that pool represents the payout to authors, not a revenue source to Amazon. If their total number of subscribers is say 5 million, their revenue would be $50 million making the payouts trivial. I have no idea what the number of their subscribers might be, but it would seem to me the payout number is meaningless without knowing the number of subscribers, or do I have that wrong?

Full disclosure: I have subscriptions to both Scribd and KU, but prefer Scribd’s selection but KU’s software. (I tried Oyster but found their software lacking.) Ironically, I think both Scribd and KU are making money off me since even though I read about 135 books a year my reading in the subscription channels doesn’t average 2 per month since I have so many other ebooks I have purchased. I DO check the subscription services for availability before buying, however.

Nate Hoffelder May 26, 2015 um 12:45 pm

You’re right. We don’t know what the revenues are; we just know the costs (one part, anyway). And since I try to discuss this in terms of the money reach authors and publishers, I care about that 9 plus million more than I care about Amazon’s unknown revenue stream.

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