Amazon purchased online audiobook seller Audible way back in 2008. The move came only a few months before the online mega-retailer released its Kindle e-reader, which has supported the Audible audio format since its 2007 launch. Now, Amazon has officially announced that, moving forward, Kindle users will be able to download audiobook purchases straight to their device over Wi-Fi.
Previously, Kindle owners had to go through the convoluted process of purchasing their content from Audible.com, downloading it to their computer and then transferring the files to their device via a USB connection. This simplifies matters considerably, and will hopefully (from Amazon’s perspective, at any rate) inspire consumers to mix in the occasional audiobook with their e-book purchases.
Audible offers more 50,000 titles for download via Wi-Fi. To kick things off, Amazon is offering two free audiobooks with a 30-day free trial run of an AudibleListener Gold Membership. For those who are new to the service, users have the option of purchasing individual audiobooks at full price or signing up for one of two subscription plans.
Gold members receive one free credit per month — or 12 credits for a full year’s paid subscription — which is good for the free purchase of most regular-length books on the site as well as a 30 percent discount on any addition purchases. Platinum members get two credits per month (or 24 for a year pre-paid). Both plans also get a free digital subscription to either The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal as well as access to exclusive sales and promotions.
Audible on a Kindle seems to defeat the purpose of a device designed for reading that is too large to fit inside a pocket, especially with the service also available for most mobile operating systems and the rising adoption of smartphones among consumers. That said, if Kindle is all you’ve got and you’d much prefer to close your eyes during the daily commute and just listen, that option just got a whole lot easier.