Amazon announced yesterday plans to acquire Audible, Inc., the largest provider of digital audio in the United States, for approximately three hundred million dollars. Audible carries nearly eighty thousand spoken-word audio offerings, including audiobooks, newspapers and magazines, and podcasts.
Steve Kessel, Amazon senior vice president of worldwide digital media, is quoted in Publishers Weekly as saying that Audible "offers the best customer experience, and the widest content selection in the industry."
The purchase may also provide an opportunity for Amazon to work with its biggest rival in the realm of digital media, iTunes, which accounts for roughly one quarter of Audible’s sales. (Audible offers audiobooks exclusively through iTunes.)
Audible is the second digital audio company acquired by Amazon. In May 2007 it purchased Brilliance Audio, the country’s largest independent publisher of audiobooks.