Audiobooks are great for the car. Textual books? Not so much. Now Amazon is bringing those two great experiences together and letting you pick up in text right where your audio book left off. So, if you've listened half-way through chapter three while in the car but you feel like reading something after you get home, your Kindle will bring you in the text exactly to where you stopped listening. And, in the morning when it's time to commute back to the office, the audio version will skip ahead as appropriate!
Amazon also announced Whispersync for Games, which would allow game developers to store game progress in the cloud. Sick of re-starting Angry Birds every time you get a new device? Never again. Take that, piggies.
Amazon announces Whispersync for Voice and Whispersync for GamesSee all photos
Audible and Amazon Introduce "Immersion Reading" and "Whispersync for Voice"-Two Momentous Steps Forward for Reading
"Immersion Reading"-the revolutionary multisensory reading experience that intensifies the power of great stories and helps readers retain more of what they read-available exclusively with the all-new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD family
"Whispersync for Voice" - for the first time ever readers can enjoy their books throughout a busy day - start reading on your Kindle and pick up where you left off by listening to the professionally narrated Audible audiobook on your phone while driving or running - all without losing your place
NEWARK, N.J. - September 6, 2012 - (NASDAQ: AMZN)-Audible.com, the world's leading provider of digital spoken-word entertainment and a subsidiary of Amazon.com, today announced two momentous steps forward for reading: "Immersion Reading" and "Whispersync for Voice." Both new features are offered only by Amazon and are exclusive to the Kindle ecosystem.
New "Whispersync for Voice"
Amazon's Whispersync technology already enables customers to automatically and seamlessly switch between different devices while reading a Kindle book-all without losing their place. Last year with the introduction of Kindle Fire, Amazon extended Whispersync to video, allowing customers to start watching a video on their Kindle Fire and pick up where they left off on their big-screen TV. With Whispersync for Voice, Kindle and Kindle Fire owners can now switch seamlessly between reading a book and listening to the professionally narrated Audible audiobook on any iOS or Android phone-all without losing their place. This continuous reading experience means that Kindle owners can keep enjoying their books while driving to work or picking up the kids from school.
"Most people I know believe that if they only had more time to read, they would be more imaginative, more interesting, and more successful. Whispersync for Voice directly addresses that need," said Donald Katz, Audible Founder and CEO. "The ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between reading text on any Kindle and listening to the same title in audio on your smartphone-and always pick up where you left off-means that the story can continue during those times of the day when you cannot look at a screen. We think that Whispersync for Voice can help us all enjoy more books, which is good news indeed."
New "Immersion Reading"
With Immersion Reading, owners of new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD can now synchronize Kindle text with the corresponding Audible.com audiobook to create a more immersive and engaging experience, as well as deepen learning and comprehension. As customers read their books on Kindle Fire, text is highlighted while it is professionally narrated via the Audible audiobook. Academic research supports the assertion that all readers can benefit from listening while reading. In an influential 2007 study, "Learning through Listening in the Digital World," neuropsychologist David Rose and professor Bridget Dalton drew upon cognitive educational research to report that "both learning to listen and listening to learn are critical to literacy in the 21st century as new technologies rebalance what it means to be literate and to learn." Professor David Dockterman commented on Rose's and Dalton's findings, "For struggling readers, narration can provide decoding support, but there's an added benefit to well-narrated text that helps even competent readers. Hearing something read with expression provides additional clues to the meaning beyond the words themselves."
"At Amazon we are missionaries when it comes to inventing on behalf of authors and readers. We're excited today to unveil our latest innovations that will help people read more and retain more of what they read. Reading and listening together has been shown to increase the motivation to read, and it can have meaningful impact on reading retention-Immersion Reading on the new Kindle Fire family sets a new standard for deep reading by engaging the eye and the ear simultaneously with beautifully narrated audiobooks," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "Anyone who wants more time to read, or never wants to put a great book down because it's time to drive to work or exercise, will love Whispersync for Voice-it offers our customers the profound gift of more time to read."
Starting today, nearly 15,000 Kindle books and 15,000 Audible audiobooks across a wide array of categories and genres are available for customers to experience using Immersion Reading and Whispersync for Voice. Customers are invited to try both products for free for a limited time with 20 Kindle and Audible audio titles, including full-length classics like "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," narrated by Elijah Wood, and popular children's books like "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," narrated by Anne Hathaway. Customers who purchase or already own the Kindle edition of one of the nearly 15,000 Whispersync for Voice- or Immersion Reading-ready titles available at launch can add professional narration at a special limited time discount off the full audiobook price, with the discounted price ranging from $4.95 to $12.95.
To use Whispersync for Voice to switch between text and audio using Kindles and their smartphone, customers can download Audible's free mobile app for iPhone and Android phones.
To see a video demonstration of Whispersync for Voice, visit http://www.audible.com/wsv. To see a demonstration of Immersion Reading, visit http://www.audible.com/immersion.