I am a big fan of Amazon, mainly because I think their web services division is brilliant. I’m also a fan of Audible and I listen to audiobooks all the time, so I was excited to hear about Amazon’s purchase of Audible. I think it can only mean good things, Audible will be able to take advantage of Amazon’s web services and advertising abilities and Amazon grabs the a huge chunk of the digital audio book market.
Amazon is positioning itself carefully as consumers are getting used to the idea that they can own digital copies of media without a physical copy to worry about, digital can provide an almost instant gratification that waiting for a shipment of a physical copy just can’t compete with. Among Amazon’s biggest moves lately have been the launch of the popular Kindle device an ugly device that has some great functionality and great potential.
Amazon and Apple have started to become more directly competitive with Amazon beginning to offer MP3 Downloads, Video Downloads, and the Kindle as a multimedia device (although no video) to compete with Apple’s iTunes store and the various iPods. Now, with the purchase of Audible, Amazon will be able to offer a huge selection of audiobooks that were supposed to be offered exclusively only to one third party until 2010, Apple. After 2010 Apple is likely to lose this source of content, or at the very least have to pay one of their newest and largest competitors for the privilege. Not only that, but if Apple were to lose the license to play Audible format files (I don’t know the terms of that agreement) if would be an even bigger blow.
I hope that the companies play nice, the Kindle and the iPod only overlap on a small portion of the market and the ability to listen to audiobooks on an iPod is important to me and losing that ability would reduce my satisfaction with both companies.