Amazon.com buys Audible; March into digital content distribution continues

Amazon.com buys Audible; March into digital content distribution continues

Summary: Amazon.com's march into digital distribution of content continues--this time with plans to acquire Audible for $300 million.

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TOPICS: Amazon
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Amazon.com's march into digital distribution of content continues--this time with plans to acquire Audible for $300 million.

In a statement on Thursday, Amazon said it will acquire Audible, which provides digital spoken word content--audio versions of books, newspapers and other programming. Audible offers more than 80,000 programs.

If you couple Audible with Amazon's march into DRM-free music distribution the e-commerce giant is building quite a content arsenal. Obviously, Amazon's Kindle (all resources) is going to be one key way this content is distributed. When Amazon reported earnings last night (Techmeme roundup) it noted that it was scrambling to keep up with Kindle demand.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said on the company's earnings conference call:

Kindle is, in terms of demand, is outpacing our expectations, which is certainly something that we are very grateful for. It’s also on the manufacturing side causing us to scramble. We’re working very hard to increase the number of units that we can build and supply per week, so that we can get back -- our goal is to get into a situation as quickly as we can where when you order a Kindle, we ship it immediately. That’s the standard we want to hold ourselves to and we are working very hard to get there. We are super-excited by the very strong demand.

If successful, Amazon could have a vertically integrated lock on digital content much like Apple. Amazon isn't there yet, but the strategy does make you go hmm.

As for the nuts and bolts of the Audible purchase, Amazon is paying $11.50 a share for Audible. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Topic: Amazon

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3 comments
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  • DRM

    Given, as you put it, "Amazon?s march into DRM-free music distribution", why are they now marching the opposite way, into DRM-laden audio book distribution? Clearly, that's not what customers want, and we intend to make that very clear.
    mattflaschen
    • How much DRM is too much?

      I have used Audible for audio book files quite happily over the past year. Once I paid for the "book," I have been able to download multiple times as I changed players and I even have the option to save to a CD or play the file on my computer. I don't see, in this case, that DRM is limiting my fair-use rights. Does anyone see things differently, or think that being purchased by Amazon is going to change these policies?
      ljeffers
  • RE: Amazon.com buys Audible; March into digital content distribution continues

    The real interesting issue is now Apple is paying Amazon to be a competitor. Amazon sells lots of Audible books on iTunes...

    Seems Apple is now in quandry because the writing would look to be "on the all" that the next gen Kindle will also be an Audible book player. Which would also seem the make sense to include MP3 ability.

    Will Apple continue to offer Audible content, on Amazon's terms once there is a Kindle that plays the books. Or will they drop Audible books from their offerings. Leaving iPod, iTouch, iPhone users suddenly w/o the ability to buy their content at the iTunes store and instead taking those funds to a direct competitor.

    Of course perhaps Apple(the perpetual "new Newton" rumor) & Amazon are combining to create the next gen Kindle giving both company's the platform many people are wanting.

    It might be an interesting year ebook device wise...

    It's gonna be interesting.
    brecklundin@...