Kindle Books with Audio Companions
This really isn't a bad idea. I have been playing with the audio companion feature on Kindle recently, after initially reacting negatively to the whole idea. It is bad enough, went my logic, that I have to read on this thing at all, without then having it read to me at the same time. I think I missed the point.
Try this: what the Kindle reading apps give you is the ability to read in much shorter sessions. Five minutes here, two minutes there. Because they keep your page across all devices, and across all of your books, the way you read changes entirely. A big part of the new digital ebook revolution is this idea of reading everywhere, all the time. I said in an earlier post that your Kindle eReader turns you into a reading machine.
There are places you cannot read. While driving, obviously. Perish the thought. In the bath, yes you can read, but not easily. In the shower? Impossible. While gardening, if you have a garden. While running. Impossible. These are the places where Audible wants you to pick them instead of music streaming. And, let's be honest, Audible doesn't rip off authors in the same way that music streamers rip off musicians. Even Kindle Unlimited offers authors fair returns.
Now, the problem with Audible is that if you have already bought the book on Kindle, unless you have an Audible subscription, then you need to pay again to get the audiobook. If you go to the Amazon website, and you already have the ebook, you will find the Audible Narration is cheaper. It's a little like Matchbook. And if you get the Audible narration from the Amazon website, you will see it also appears in your Audible library. But wait.
It gets better. You have two ways of listening to audio within the Kindle app. You can switch to listening mode. This gives you the Audible experience, but with a different interface. It's very good, although I haven't seen a way to alter the download quality yet. Instead, you can choose to have the thing highlight words to you as the audio reads them out. This is great for kids or others either learning to read, or learning a new language.
The only thing that Amazon have not quite got right yet is the relationship between Audible and Kindle. In the same way that they are plotting the end of CreateSpace (see a future blog from me on this) in favour of KDP, I initially thought they were plotting the end of Audible. However, they have recently commissioned an expensive UK TV advertising campaign with some famous actors, promoting Audible. This seems odd, given that all the other signs are that Audible is on the way out.
Whatever the future of Audible, and whatever the future of dedicated eReaders, the way the audiobook and the ebook are linked together gives Amazon one of its unique positioning features. Because whether you listen or read, the Kindle will still track your position in the book, so you can very easily switch back and forth between listening and reading, or both at the same time. Try it, I do think you'll like it.