Flash! Wireless delivery direct to Kindle 3s of Audible audiobooks now available

Flash! Wireless delivery direct to Kindle 3s of Audible audiobooks now available

You’ve always been able to put Audible (owned by Amazon) audiobooks in your Kindle’s Audible folder and listen to them.

However, you had to “sideload” them using your Kindle’s USB cable.

Why? 

Amazon pays for our 3G use, and that’s what you have on the K1, K2, and KDX.

With the Kindle 3, both models have wi-fi…and you (or McDonalds or Starbucks or other open public wi-fi spots) pay for it.

You can now go to

http://www.amazon.com/audible*

and download audiobooks directly to your Kindle 3 via wi-fi.

I found it a little confusing when I got there.  There was a choice to order a book as an Audible Audio Edition for $14.95, or as a Kindle Edition for $9.66 (on the first book I checked).

Why the difference?

The Kindle Edition is not the audiobook (which is typically recorded by an actor or the author)…it’s the e-book.  If you want to get the audiobook for your Kindle, you choose the Audible Audio Edition…and then choose your Kindle to receive it.

This doen’t affect the text-to-speech options.  I could download the e-book, and my Kindle would read it to me…but that’s a very different experience from listening to a recorded version by an actor.  Oh, and my Kindle doesn’t need to get a residual.  ;)

If you join Audible, you’ll get two free audiobooks right now.

Kindle forum announcement thread

* Full disclosure: like many links on this blog, this includes my Amazon Associate code.  That doesn’t affect you negatively, but if you go there and then shop at Amazon, I get credit (depending on what you buy) from Amazon.  I don’t usualy put the “display name” as a URL different than the actual URL, but I wanted you to see what the actual one is as well.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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11 Responses to “Flash! Wireless delivery direct to Kindle 3s of Audible audiobooks now available”

  1. Tom Semple Says:

    The only thing that is really new is the ‘Audible Audiobooks’ link on the Kindle’s Kindle Store page.

    Previously (on K3) you could purchase using the Kindle browser, and purchases would show up in ‘Archived Items’ and you could initiate the download over wi-fi there. It has been possible to do this since last September, just a couple of weeks after K3’s launch, when they made it possible to merge your Amazon and Audible accounts.

    I have a couple of minor gripes with the new purchase method. There’s no way to see any information about your account, such as how many Audible credits you have, what’s in your Wish List, Library, etc. Fortunately, it will let you know when you click the Buy button if you’re out of credits or have already bought the title. Also you seem to have to add the keyword ‘audible’ if you want to search specifically for Audible content. Otherwise you get only ebooks, and their descriptions do not contain a link to the corresponding audiobook. But I guess it is easier than using the Kindle browser and eliminates the step of going to Archived Items to initiate download.

    Also the implementation remains (well, last time I checked) that regardless of the format default associated with your Audible account, you can only get ‘Enhanced’ format delivered over wi-fi, despite the fact that Kindle supports format ‘4’, which is about half the size and therefore takes half as long to download and half the space on Kindle’s limited storage. I would challenge anyone to distinguish between ‘Enhanced’ and ‘4’ when listening – to spoken word audio no less – on Kindle, which is not really designed for audio fidelity. So I really do not understand why they chose ‘Enhanced’ when in my judgement ‘4’ would have been a better fit for Kindle. Wi-Fi downloads, unlike those downloaded to your computer, come in one big file. Woe unto you if you don’t have enough free space for the entire audiobook.

    Another thing that’s problematic is the download time. Unlike the Audible app on iOS/Android, you have to wait for the download to complete before you can begin listening. A 10 hour book can take the better part of an hour to download even over a fast wi-fi connection. Never mind a 50 hour book (roughly 1.75Gb by my estimate)… There’s no way to kill the download if you decide not to go through with it, short of Restart (at least that I could discover). If you attempt to download something that you don’t have enough space for the only indication you’ll get is shown if you go to ‘View Downloading Items’ where you’ll see the title listed with ‘insufficient space – 0%’ next to it. That item will remain there until Restart (again as far as I have determined).

    So what I would say is that sideloading is still often the way to go. You can choose the more compact ‘4’ format and load in parts where space is a concern.

    And I can think of no reason you would want to use a Kindle instead of a smartphone or iPod Touch, or even any Mp3 player, if you want to listen to audiobooks. With a second device, you can use your Kindle to follow along with the text, something that is otherwise possible only with TTS.

    Moreover, the Kindle audiobook interface is rather awkward: you cannot navigate to chapter marks when paused, and it is extremely hard to navigate to previous chapter marks with the 5way because you cannot click the ‘previous’ button more than once in succession, because the cursor moves back to play/pause after each press of ‘previous’. No bookmarks either to be able to quickly navigate to parts of interest.

    I’m not sure why I care about this so much – I don’t even use this feature anymore, and can’t imagine that many people do. But it just strikes me as a little half-baked and I hate to see Amazon roll stuff out like this (and yes, I’ve sent all of this feedback to kindle-feedback FWIW).

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I appreciate that thorough response! I don’t really use audiobooks…I’ve never liked them if I haven’t already read the book, and I’m not a big re-reader, especially since I have so many free books to get to on my Kindle.

      I thought the big difference was it going right to the device’s homescreen, right? You select the Kindle when you buy the audiobook and it appears in the same place as your e-books? That might seem like a minor thing, but I would bet there are a lof of people who have never downloaded something using the Archived Items. I hear fairly often from people who have filled up their Kindles and don’t know that they can ever get more books, and “how do I archive/remove something” is a thread just about every day in the Amazon Kindle community. I also hear from people who keep thousands of books on their Kindles…some people do that strategically, but I assume many of them simply don’t understand the idea of archiving.

      I’m also expecting to hear from people arguing that the Kindle should hold 3500 audiobooks…when three might be more like it. ;)

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Well, another of our many differences — I find that I do not use any of the audible or picture storage “non book reading” features of my kindle; nor do I use text to speech (Swedish carpenters don’t do it for me :) ).

    I have from time to time taken my kindle to meetings and conferences, and attempted to use the browser to get my email. I found the primitive browser in my KDX and the abysmal 3G speeds to make this a totally unworkable solution.

    When the K3 came out with its WIFI only versions, I looked forward to a KDX model with WIFI — I’m still waiting :-). The K3 also came with a new “webkit” browser (the engine under the covers in Chrome and Safari). WIFI at base is roughly 10x faster than the 3G average. So I was hopeful that the new browser and the increased speed of WIFI might make the browsing experience on a kindle more palatable.

    Since I don’t have a K3, and I haven’t seen much speed-related discussion of WIFI, I thought I’d ask you whether the new browser coupled with WIFI have improved the kindle as browsing platform any?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I don’t listen to audiobooks on my Kindle, although I have done it for a few minutes as a test. If I haven’t read the book already, I don’t like actors interpreting the characters for me.

      I do, however, listen to text-to-speech frequently, listen to Old Time Radio, and use pictures on my Kindle.

      The browser on the K3 is much better. It is faster…but the input is still rather slow for any practical outgoing e-mail. It could be done, but it’s a struggle. One of the biggest negatives for me is that the zoom level doesn’t persist: I have to constantly reset it, even as I go from page to page on the same site. If we get speech-to-text using the microphone, that could make a huge difference in writing e-mail…but that software would take up significant memory, I think. Attaching an audiofile (created through the microphone) might appeal to some people.

      Visiting websites (as opposed to writing e-mail) is considerably improved. I have a SmartPhone now, though, so I tend to use that (connected to wi-fi, usually).

      The biggest plus for me with the wi-fi (besides being able to connect easily at home, which wasn’t an option with my Kindle 2 international) is being able to send personal documents wirelessly to my Kindle for free. I do that quite often, and find it a considerable convenience.

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Thanks for the answer. I hadn’t thought about old time radio, which I frequently listen to on my satellite radio when I’m driving about.

    I have from time to time wished for a voice recognition enabled kindle. I use it extensively on my laptops (from Dragon). It is quite good — though you must be ruthless at the outset about corrections so it can learn. The problem for the kindle and voice recognition (after much reflection on my part) is twofold: VR requires really hefty CPU resources — I would estimate a processor 5-10x faster than the one in current kindles; and two: many of the places where one would like to use it (like taking notes in a classroom or in a meeting; or heaven forfend while studying (gasp) in a library) are not going to take kindly to one and all “babbling” at their kindles.

    Still, after many thousands of years I am reluctantly forced to concede that in the area of input/output technologies, pencil and paper is still king.

    Thanks for the info about WIFI browsing — you confirmed many of my suppositions, and highlighted some things I hadn’t realized.

    I’m still waiting — though now it’s probably for an Amazon tablet rather than a WIFI KDX. There were a couple of stories related (obscurely) to that. Late yesterday Google announced that they were limiting access to Android “Honeycomb” to a few chosen (unnamed) partners. Another story reflecting on posted hiring needs at Lab126 suggested that what Amazon is building is an Android “kindle” rather than an Android “tablet”. This latter point seems to me to be merely a matter of branding — nothing substantive. The ultimate source of all this appears to be the NYT:
    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/is-amazon-working-on-an-android-kindle/

    I too would love to be able to use WIFI to avoid/mitigate much of my current side-loading frenzies.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I don’t have satellite radio (I’m probably not the gadget-obsessed geek some presume), but I download free OTR from http://www.radiolovers.com, and I have used http://www.archive.org…once, I think.

      Pencil and paper is not king for me on input. I am so much faster typing (and so much more legible) than I am hand-writing. I have to practically write each letter as a different glyph if I want anyone else to be able to read it. That’s what I do if I have to write on a whiteboard for a class: one capital block letter at a time, being careful to keep space on all sides of each letter. When I can, I type in Notepad and project that.

      The Android keyboard on my SmartPhone has decent speech-to-text…not as good as my Dragon 11, of course. It does, though, seem to use Google’s servers to do it (if I’m not connected, it doesn’t work) so that’s cheating. :)

      I think the question of branding an Amazon tablet is very important for the ongoing success of the Kindle line, but I could be overestimating the perceptive value of a Kindle being the best reading experience available.

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I can’t type worth a darn. My handwriting is legible only to me (and sometimes not even that :-) ). When teaching, I too resort to block capitals if I must, but mostly I use projectors, and screen devices attached to a laptop into which I laboriously type during a class.

    In this shatter-fractured age of multi-tasking madness, I often find it relaxing, and an aid to concentration, if I grab pencil and paper, and begin to write down my thoughts. Without this biofeedback mechanism ready to hand, I fear I would be lost in a concentration-less hell. :-)

    I hadn’t realized that smartphones had the VR capability. Recently, I have become aware of the LG Otimus V smartphone for Virgin mobile (I’m very anti-contract; pro prepaid). This Android 2.2 phone (according to reviews) is roughly equivalent to an iPhone 3GS with somewhat more powerful hardware support. Everywhere I have looked, this phone is out of stock (it sells for only $149; no contract; and Virgin offers unlimited data and text with 300 minutes for $25/month — which explains its perennial unavailability). Knowing that VR is possible will force me to redouble my efforts to secure one :-).

    I know from prior posts that you feel the “Amazon” rather than the “Kindle” brand is the way to go. Depending upon configuration, and feature set of a new tablet device, I can see how the “Kindle” brand may bring that “Je ne sais quoi” to the table necessary to differentiate Amazon’s offering from all the others.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      By contrast, I type pretty well…last time I was tested, I typed in the 90s (I don’t think I’m that fast now). That’s good, but not world class.

      Do you use Dragon to write your comments?

      As to handwriting, I always like to refer to my Uncle. They told him he would never graduate high school because his writng was so bad…and he won the Nobel Prize. :) He was actually my father’s cousin, but he was “Uncle Mel” to me.

      Yes, the VR (Voice Recognition) on my Samsung Captivate is a huge plus. While I type well, I don’t text well…never got the real hang of thumb-typing. I assume when I talk to it (and it will only be a sentence or so for a text, usually), people don’t realize what I am doing most of the time. They may think I am talking to a person, or using voice commands to call someone, something ike that. You are right that it would be intrusive in a library, but it works fine on the street. By the way, I’m quite impressed with the phone’s ability to understand me in a noisy situation. That’s something I found hard with Dragon (and I am new to it)…getting the microphone in just the right position.

  5. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I’ve been using Dragon for about 2 years now (a little longer than I’ve had my KDX :) ); I use version 10. Yes, I do dictate my comments here. I go into the reply box on this page, and then I enter the Dragon dictation window mode (this prevents any of my utterances being interpreted as browser commands while enabling access to a lot of dictation useful voice commands). I had tried Dragon off and on over the years going back to at least version 6. Version 10 was the first that I felt I could use on a daily basis.

    I haven’t had too much trouble with ambient noise or mike placement. I am currently getting ready to try out a Bluetooth microphone. Dragon is notoriously sensitive to microphone quality, but if you correct mistakes, it does get better. I tried digital dictation devices as an input mechanism to Dragon with not great results.

    The hardest thing for me to learn was how to think/compose in my head while dictating. Also don’t try to correct as you go, rather dictate the whole piece then go back and correct. Dragon provides a whole bunch of audible correction-oriented and editing commands that make editing/correcting a document a pleasure. Once it gets used to your speaking “style”, I find it makes surprisingly few recognition errors.

  6. Brian Hartman Says:

    Thanks for the heads-up Bufo! Sometimes when I can’t sleep I like to listen to a book with the lights out. I got, right from the Kindle, unabridged versions of Silas Marner and The Old Curiosity Shop (26 hours!) for under a buck each (and I’m sure they’ll help me sleep…) I also searched for Orson Welles, narrowed the results to Audible and found a bunch of OTR shows for under a buck, too. A lot of Shadow episodes. I never knew you could search for Audible results right from Kindle, and get content so cheaply without having to sign up for a plan, so thanks again for the heads-up!

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Brian!

      You can also get Old Time Radio shows for free from other sources, but nice to be able to get them directly. :)

      “Who know what evil lurks within the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”

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