updated 08:20 am EST, Thu January 31, 2008
Amazon Acquires Audible
Amazon today said it would acquire Audible in a share buyout deal worth roughly $300 million. The agreement effectively gives Amazon control of Audible's audiobook collection and is described as an effort to develop and expand the audiobook forrmat, which is largely dominated by the now-acquired company. The finished deal is expected to be approved sometime during the spring of this year.
Amazon has not announced any of its immediate plans for Audible but is likely to have a major effect on the audiobook industry. The former's Kindle e-book reader is currently focused on text and supports both Audible and MP3 audiobooks. However, it is unclear whether Amazon will port Audible's books to its own store with its own format, alter the store to support MP3s (similar to its music store), or leave the book service unchanged.
Amazon has also declined to say whether Audible will continue to support third-party companies such as Apple, who have integrated the Audible format into devices such as the iPhone and iPod as well as online stores such as iTunes. The latter depends exclusively on Audible support for the audiobook section of its online service.