“Alexa, read The Game of Thrones.”
We are really excited to announce the ability to play Audible’s huge catalog of professionally narrated audiobooks through the Amazon Echo device! Many Audible customers are already listening to their favorite narrators and audiobooks using just their voice with the Amazon Echo.
What is Echo? Amazon Echo is an Internet-connected speaker (powered by the cloud-based Alexa service) that was released in late 2014. What sets Echo apart from other speakers is that customers can request news, music, weather, sports scores and more with simply their voice. And, after months of hard work and collaboration between the Audible and Echo teams, customers can now stream their Audible audiobooks directly (and instantly) through the Echo.
While the release is just over two weeks old, Audible listeners have already realized the value and potential of hands-free and eyes-free interaction. Some customers are listening to audiobooks on Echo together with their family while others are listening while their hands are busy cleaning or doing other household chores. We also see this as a boon to our visually impaired customers who no longer have to fiddle with screen readers to enjoy their favorite books. Regardless of the use case, the Echo fits right in our strategy of letting customers listen to their audiobooks anytime, anywhere on a variety of surfaces and without losing their place.
One of our customers recently summarized their experience on Instagram:
…works perfectly! I listen to my Echo reading my audible books as I’m making breakfast. Then as I drive to work, I continue seamlessly on my iPhone! Too cool. We love our #AmazonEcho!
How it works: We want listening to audiobooks on Echo to be as simple as possible. All you have to do is ask e.g. “Alexa, play the audiobook ‘Gone Girl’“. In reality there is a lot that happens behind the scenes. After a customer requests an audiobook, Alexa translates the command and verifies the customer owns the title. The command is then passed to Audible which starts playback (from where the user last left off), leveraging our existing streaming solution and Whispersync. And this all happens in a matter of seconds – it’s almost like magic!
What’s next: Imagine asking Echo “What’s a good book for me in sci-fi?” and instantly listening to a recommended audiobook. Or saying “Clip the last two minutes and send it to Mom” to share a favorite segment of a book with your friend and family. We are just getting started in this space and there is a lot more to learn. Have an idea? Tell us! We’re ready to listen.