Flash! Amazon adds video/audio to Kindle iApps

Flash! Amazon adds video/audio to Kindle iApps

Okay, I know…some of you are saying right off that you don’t want audio and video in your books.

Well, for me, it would depend on the book.  I think it could be very useful in some non-fiction.  For example, you could be reading a book about Martin Luther King, and be able to hear the I Have a Dream speech.  What if you were reading about how to put personal documents on your Kindle, and you could see a video that showed you how?

In a

press release

dated June 27, Amazon announced that it’s free Kindle reader apps for the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch will now be able to show video and play embedded audio.

The current state of the E Ink screen used by the Kindle (and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, among others) made by Viz Plex can’t show video.

The interesting question for me is why isn’t this available in the computer Kindle apps?  You would think if it works for an iPad, it could be made to work for a Mac.  A PC might need some different programming, certainly.

Well, my guess is that we will get it for those two apps fairly quickly.  🙂

What about the content that’s available?

Amazon has set up a special page for it

Kindle Editions with Audio/Video

What kind of content?

Here’s one good example:

Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song

 by Les Beletsky

The paper version has a built-in digital audio player to play the bird songs.

Other bird song books I’ve seen had included CDs.

The paperbook, at time of writing, is fifty dollars (discounted by Amazon to $31.50).

The e-book is list priced at $40 (that part is set by the publisher) and discounted by Amazon to $9.99…that kind of discounting probably can’t last.

That product page has a couple of updates features: a dropdown for the devices for which it is available, and a dropdown talking a bit more about text-to-speech being enabled.

Hmmm…it says it is available for the Kindle 1…but the audio won’t work on it, or on the other Kindles.  I think they’ll need to make that clearer in the dropdown.  There is a big statement on the page, though.

It also says you need wifi, which, of course, the Kindles don’t have.  You could presumably download it using your computer and put it on your Kindle…but you wouldn’t have the audio.

To be clear: the Kindle book is only fully functional on a large screen on an iPad.

Why couldn’t you download it by 3G?

Amazon pays for the 3G (although that might be effecting the initial cost of the Kindle and/or content), and they limit large files going on it.  For example, when you buy audiobooks from Audible.com (also owned by Amazon) for your Kindle, you can’t send them directly by 3G.

So, is this a big file?

Oh, yeah!

It’s 44.7mb…that’s 56 times the size of a typical 800kb book. 

Oh, that’s not huge by audio/video standards, but that is going to take up some room on your devices.

There’s a knitting book in the bunch (Knitting for Dummies) : it has six videos, and is 153.1MB.

All of the 13 books currently listed are $9.99…again, I would not expect that to last…not for all of them, anyway.

So, how big a deal is this?

That’s a little hard to judge.  At this point, it’s a toe in the multimedia water.  Paperbooks with audio have not been a huge part of the market.  But on a tablet computer, like an iPad, your books are competing with movies, TV…and websites.  If you were researching Kennedy/Nixon, would you go to a website first to watch part of the video of that TV debate?  Maybe, sure…but if it was already available in a book on the topic, that might make the book more attractive.

Want to learn how to play Stairway to Heaven on the guitar?  Having audio and video might make a music book a better bet.

What if you were reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream and you could see a clip of Jimmy Cagney as Bottom?  Okay, maybe that’s not such a good idea (and that was a real movie, by the way).

I don’t think this is going to be a big segment, but I do think there is a small market for it.  That sounds like famous last words, but we’ll see…

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

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