NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Audible.com, the world’s leading provider of digital spoken-word entertainment and a subsidiary of Amazon.com, today announced two momentous steps forward for reading: “Immersion Reading” and “Whispersync for Voice.” Both new features are offered only by Amazon and are exclusive to the Kindle ecosystem.
New “Whispersync for Voice”
Amazon’s Whispersync technology already enables customers to automatically and seamlessly switch between different devices while reading a Kindle book—all without losing their place. Last year with the introduction of Kindle Fire, Amazon extended Whispersync to video, allowing customers to start watching a video on their Kindle Fire and pick up where they left off on their big-screen TV. With Whispersync for Voice, Kindle and Kindle Fire owners can now switch seamlessly between reading a book and listening to the professionally narrated Audible audiobook on any iOS or Android phone—all without losing their place. This continuous reading experience means that Kindle owners can keep enjoying their books while driving to work or picking up the kids from school.
“Most people I know believe that if they only had more time to read, they would be more imaginative, more interesting, and more successful. Whispersync for Voice directly addresses that need,” said Donald Katz, Audible Founder and CEO. “The ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between reading text on any Kindle and listening to the same title in audio on your smartphone—and always pick up where you left off—means that the story can continue during those times of the day when you cannot look at a screen. We think that Whispersync for Voice can help us all enjoy more books, which is good news indeed.”
New “Immersion Reading”
With Immersion Reading, owners of new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD can now synchronize Kindle text with the corresponding Audible.com audiobook to create a more immersive and engaging experience, as well as deepen learning and comprehension. As customers read their books on Kindle Fire, text is highlighted while it is professionally narrated via the Audible audiobook. Academic research supports the assertion that all readers can benefit from listening while reading. In an influential 2007 study, “Learning through Listening in the Digital World,” neuropsychologist David Rose and professor Bridget Dalton drew upon cognitive educational research to report that “both learning to listen and listening to learn are critical to literacy in the 21st century as new technologies rebalance what it means to be literate and to learn.” Professor David Dockterman commented on Rose’s and Dalton’s findings, “For struggling readers, narration can provide decoding support, but there’s an added benefit to well-narrated text that helps even competent readers. Hearing something read with expression provides additional clues to the meaning beyond the words themselves.”
“At Amazon we are missionaries when it comes to inventing on behalf of authors and readers. We’re excited today to unveil our latest innovations that will help people read more and retain more of what they read. Reading and listening together has been shown to increase the motivation to read, and it can have meaningful impact on reading retention—Immersion Reading on the new Kindle Fire family sets a new standard for deep reading by engaging the eye and the ear simultaneously with beautifully narrated audiobooks,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Anyone who wants more time to read, or never wants to put a great book down because it’s time to drive to work or exercise, will love Whispersync for Voice—it offers our customers the profound gift of more time to read.”
Starting today, nearly 15,000 Kindle books and 15,000 Audible audiobooks across a wide array of categories and genres are available for customers to experience using Immersion Reading and Whispersync for Voice. Customers are invited to try both products for free for a limited time with 20 Kindle and Audible audio titles, including full-length classics like “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” narrated by Elijah Wood, and popular children’s books like “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” narrated by Anne Hathaway. Customers who purchase or already own the Kindle edition of one of the nearly 15,000 Whispersync for Voice- or Immersion Reading-ready titles available at launch can add professional narration at a special limited time discount off the full audiobook price, with the discounted price ranging from $4.95 to $12.95.
To use Whispersync for Voice to switch between text and audio using Kindles and their smartphone, customers can download Audible’s free mobile app for iPhone and Android phones.
ABOUT AUDIBLE, INC.
Audible, Inc., an Amazon.com, Inc., subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment on the Internet, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible’s mission is to establish literate listening as a core tool for anyone seeking to be more productive, better informed, or more thoughtfully entertained. Audible content, which includes more than 100,000 audio programs from more than 1,800 content providers that include leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers, is digitally downloaded and played back on over 500 popular devices. Audible is also the preeminent provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes® Store.