Audible Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com. It is the biggest producer and seller of digital audio books, periodicals and newspapers. It converts audiobooks and other audio programs into digital files which can be downloaded and played on computer, burn to CD or wireless mobile devices. The content is sold through subscription or individually on the Internet and automated downloads to mobile devices. In order to avoid the copyright complications it has licensed deals with content partners. It offers spoken versions of newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes in addition to a range of books and some original content produced for Audible.com. The company has international presence in the UK, German and France. The digital format and online delivery permits immediate delivery and saves expense of paper, printing, stocking and shipping. Donald Katz launched Audible Inc. in 1995 in New Jersey. The company after coping with the financial issues for nearly ten years that impacted much of the tech world achieved its first profit in 2004.
Katz saw the Internet and technology as convenient and inexpensive medium for distribution of audio books. It was an amalgam of technology with the ancient story telling in human voice and sometimes, as an added bonus, in the author’s voice. Reading had lost its place in human life as a favorite leisure activity as time became a most sought after resource. However, audio books could be consumed during travel, commutes, work outs and while doing other activities or chores. Once seen niche product for book fans or physically impaired audio books have become mainstream. In recent years sales have grown by double digits and this shift is the result of digital technology that has widened the pool of potential consumers to include anyone with computer, wireless or mobile device. The flip side is of this digital innovation is the additional impact on print media.
Once a small backwater of the publishing industry, in part because of the cumbersome nature of tapes, audiobooks are now flourishing. Sales have been rising by double digits annually in recent years. A recent survey by industry groups showed that audiobook revenue climbed 22 percent in 2012 compared with 2011 .
The digital revolution has not transformed the way that are produced, packaged, marketed and distributed but is changing the way readers and listeners consume information and literature. The new consumer does not see much difference in text, eBook or audiobook and uses all three interchangeably. Recognizing the trend of consumer desire of “when they want and how they want” Audible has launched, Whispersyn, a syncing feature that enables the reader/listeners to switch between an e-book and a digital audio book. A reader can switch between reading a Kindle book and listening to the companion Audible audiobook, picking up the story at the same sentence. "We're moving toward a media-agnostic consumer...