Blog Post

Amazon Hears the Future, Buys sees where the future of media is heading, and is slowly amassing the properties and contracts it needs to make sure its retail empire is at the forefront. Today’s $300 million agreement to buy digital audio book reseller is just another milestone in a string of deals that Amazon believes will take it from books to bytes.

In May of 2000, Amazon named Audible its exclusive audio download partner and began offering Audible downloads, which are also available on iTunes and through the Audible web site. Audible had 446,000 users as of the end of September, which means Amazon is paying about $673 per customer to snag people who are comfortable using MP3 players and other devices to download DRM-protected music. Getting a lock on those users and Audible’s content could be a boon to Amazon as it moves forward with its Unbox and other digital strategies. I have called Audible to find out what happens to its iTunes relationship, which is where it sells many of its downloads. Check back for updates. Update: Amazon PR got back to me to say that Audible will continue to sell content via Apple and hopes to grow the relationship.

7 Responses to “Amazon Hears the Future, Buys”

  1. Blue RidgePro

    I have to laugh at Leo Laporte and his TWIT podcast, where he rails against DRM, yet promotes Audible.

    I guess that it illustrates how money overcomes a moral position….

    I tried Audible, only to find that it had DRM and none of my 3 MP3 players could play the books.

    The first DRM-free audio book site will get me as a customer.

  2. The fact that Amazon bought surely says a lot about the future of audio books.

    It stands to reason that as the younger generation (a generation that has grown up with todays technology)grows up they will be adding audio books to their play lists. This will increase the demand for audio books many times over.

  3. $673 per customer seems like a lot of money to me. I’m an Audible subscriber and I already use their MP3 download service, so I wonder how much crossover there is with the existing Audible subscriber base. (Dune on audio-book is great, by the way!)

  4. This doesn’t surprise me as I think that amazon will be able to do great things with audible. I just hope that they finally rinse the audible files free of DRM. I put up with the DRM on audible as the books are that good.

  5. I wonder what this means for Leo LaPorte and his TWIT netcast network. Audible has been a sponsor of many of his shows for long time now. Will Audible go away as a sponsor or will Amazon take on a larger presence in the netcasting ad space?