Archive for April, 2009

Why Amazon Is Missing the Mark

April 25, 2009

I love tech toys and am always in the market for devices that are ‘unitaskers’, or multiple function devices. My new GPS plays a Spanish Language Instruction audio book, while I navigate the roads in Silicon Valley and in the Bay Area. My digital recorder records my band mate and myself (The Hope Street Band) AND plays audiobooks. The next mobile phone I purchase will also play audiobooks . . . and I’ll be able to use it as an eReader, GPS, appointment calendar. You get the idea.

I had assumed that Amazon’s Kindle did not play MP3 files or audio books. Recently, however, I was surprised to learn that Kindle is compatible with audio books purchased from Audible.com. These files can be transferred to the Kindle via a USB connection. What puzzles me is that because Audible is owned by Amazon, I think both businesses are missing a great cross-marketing opportunity—selling an audio book file packaged with a hard copy book of the same title.

How can Amazon capture the cross-over audience. Better yet, what changes would I need to see before purchasing a Kindle?

1. Package Deals. When Amazon starts offering the Kindle reader hard-copy books with the audiobook of the same title, I’ll buy one. I personally like owning both the audio format and the visual format (usually paperbacks) if it is a book I value highly. I know I could listen to the built-in robot voice read, but I will enjoy a book more if the narrator is good, as it usually is on an audio book.

2. Website usability.  Since Amazon owns Audible, downloading both audio books and ebooks could be made a seamless task.  Since I am a member of Audible, why would I pay full price for the audio book through Amazon, when it’s less expensive through my Audible membership? They don’t make it easy for us!

3.  Kindle book club. I really like a bargain.

How about you? Do you have any other suggestions to add to the list?

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The AudioBook Lifestyle

April 1, 2009

My new dream desk
–My new dream desk–

As an ongoing joke, I have been begging my boss for one of those Treadmill workstations. If only I had one, I could actually SIT down after work and relax–read a REAL book, the kind you purchase at a book store or order from Amazon !

In my off work hours I also have to make my rounds on the ‘net, so I am challenged with balancing my need for information, tasks, (like banking, shopping) and my need for community. Yes, I do all this in the real world and more… but I prefer the Internet for such tasks, because I tend to get much more of those activities done.

Music is vital also, and  I find that I like to at least supplement listening to music with some intellectually stimulating material so I am working out both your body AND your mind.

REAL books-those three dimensional blocks of paper product where one can turn pages-could be a thing of the past someday for several reasons:

  • There are 6.6 billion people on earth, in 2050 there will be over 9 billion. The production of books uses up the world’s natural resources. The trend for books will be to go digital through listening devices or tools like the Kindle 2.
  • This year more information will be generated than in the previous 5,000 years and the amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years. By 2100 it’s predicted to double every 72 hours. We can keep on top of this information and ‘read’ more books per year by multitasking.  Listening to audio books while we are exercising, driving , doing chores, will be a way to keep us informed and entertained.
  • The percentage of the world’s population with access to the Internet has increased 250% since 2000. Technology is pervasive and will continue to permeate all countries, cultures, classes of people (just think of the One Laptop per Child inititave).

Audiobook fitness is really about LIFESTYLE, and keeping physically active AND keeping an active mind. How can we continue to enjoy books in this age of information? Our future  promises a more hectic life, and we will have to find ways to continue to entertain and enrich our lives with business books,  literature and best sellers by listening to AudioBooks.

So, what have you listened to this week?