Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has always been at the forefront of innovation, constantly expanding its product and service offerings to cater to the evolving needs of its customers. One such innovative service that has revolutionized the way people consume books is Audible, an Amazon company. This article delves into the history of Audible, focusing on when Amazon launched this popular audiobook service.
The Birth of Audible
Audible was not originally an Amazon product. It was founded in 1995 by Donald Katz, a writer and journalist who envisioned a future where people could listen to books instead of reading them. The company launched its first product, the Audible Player, in 1997, which was the first portable digital audio player.
Amazon Acquires Audible
Amazon saw the potential in Audible and acquired the company in 2008 for approximately $300 million. This acquisition allowed Amazon to expand its digital media offerings and tap into the growing market of audiobook listeners.
Integration with Kindle
After the acquisition, Amazon worked on integrating Audible into its existing services. In 2009, Amazon introduced “Whispersync for Voice,” a feature that allowed users to switch seamlessly between reading a Kindle book and listening to the corresponding Audible audiobook.
Launch of Audible Channels
In 2016, Amazon launched Audible Channels, a service offering original audio series and playlists. This service was initially available only to Audible subscribers but was later made available to all Amazon Prime members, further integrating Audible into the Amazon ecosystem.
Introduction of Audible Originals
In 2018, Amazon introduced Audible Originals, exclusive audio content created by celebrated storytellers from worlds as diverse as theater, journalism, literature, and more. This move was seen as Amazon’s attempt to differentiate Audible from other audiobook services and provide unique value to its subscribers.
Expansion into International Markets
Amazon has also been focused on expanding Audible’s presence in international markets. For instance, Audible launched in India in 2018, offering a vast library of audiobooks and original content in English and six Indian languages.
In conclusion, while Audible was founded in 1995, it was in 2008 that Amazon acquired the company and launched it as an Amazon service. Since then, Amazon has continuously innovated and expanded Audible, integrating it with other Amazon services, introducing new features and content, and expanding its reach to international markets. Today, Audible stands as a testament to Amazon’s commitment to innovation and customer-centricity, providing millions of listeners worldwide with access to a vast library of audiobooks and original audio content.