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Amazon Prime, the gift that keeps giving, now includes free Audible content

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Like audio books and podcasts? If you live in one of the 38 percent of American households that are members of Amazon Prime (according to investment bank Cowen), your world just became more full of sound, according to Fortune.

Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 annually for free two-day shipping, can now access Audible audio service content at no additional cost. You’ll be able to stream from a rotating group of more than 50 audiobooks. You can also listen to ad-free content including podcasts on Audible’s new on-demand service Channels. Non-Prime members pay $4.95 monthly to hear Channel’s curated podcasts and other content.

That extra audio content on Channels (now free for Prime members) includes comedy shows, short fiction, talk shows, and audio versions of articles from major publications. Amazon Prime members already have access free music, video, and Kindle e-books, so adding audio content from its newly acquired Audible further fills out the information/entertainment roundup.

One of the video benefits of Amazon Prime is free streaming of Amazon’s own, in-house video productions. The same benefit now applies to content produced by Audible. An example mentioned by Fortune, is Ponzi Supernova, a podcast about the financial shenanigans of convicted American fraudster and former stockbroker, investment adviser, and financier Bernie Madoff. The podcast includes an interview from the incarcerated Madoff.

Amazon is tight-lipped about Prime membership subscribers, saying only that memberships are in the “tens of millions.” What started out as a way to give free shipment to encourage online shoppers has certainly grown beyond just shipping. Amazon is shaping into a media-focused information and entertainment community.

And at the same time, the original purpose for Prime has paid off. Fortune cited The Wall Street Journal’s conclusion that Amazon Prime members spend up to double on the site as non-members each year.

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