Amazon adds another Prime benefit: free podcasts from Audible Channels and free audiobooks

September 13, 2016   |   filed under Apps, Community, Conversation, Culture, Interaction, Participation, Technology

Amazon this morning rolled out another perk for subscribers to its Amazon Prime membership program: free access to Audible’s short-form digital programming called Audible Channels, as well as a selection of free audiobooks. Amazon says members will have access to a rotating selection of over 50 audiobooks from Audible’s catalog. That’s similar to how the Kindle Lending Library also works – members don’t get to check out just any book, but instead can pick and choose from a selection of those available for lending. The audiobook selection will include a mix of best sellers, family favorites, and celebrity-narrated classics, the company says. Audible Channels, meanwhile, is a newer service Amazon-owned Audible launched in July, which aims to tap into consumers’ growing interest in podcasts and other audio programming. However, Channels isn’t exactly a podcast service, but rather features a mix of bite-sized, ad-free content from original content producers, as well as spoken-word recordings from publishers like the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Foreign Affairs, Charlie Rose, McSweeney’s, The Onion, and other periodicals. Audible Channels also organizes some of its content into 20 Audible Playlists, like the “essential stories of the day,” meditation, as well as commute-sized comedy, and compilations on science, history, technology and more. This is the first time Amazon has really leveraged Audible, a company it acquired by in 2008 for $300 million, in order to boost its Prime membership numbers. While it had made discounted trial subscriptions to Audible available at times, it never actually gave away Audible’s content for free like this. The rollout of free audio comes at an interesting time for Amazon, as its voice-powered platform Alexa is really taking off. Audible Channels and free audiobooks are just the sort of programming it makes sense to offer on Alexa devices, like Amazon’s Echo speaker and others. That could be the little extra nudge customers need to either buy an Echo speaker, subscribe to Prime, or both. Amazon Prime today has an estimated 63 million subscribers, and includes a growing range of benefits, including free, 2-day shipping, unlimited photo storage, free streaming TV and movies, free access to Kindle e-books through the Lending Library, free music through Prime Music, exclusive access to discounted deals, and more. SOURCE: TECHCRUNCH
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