I received the press release below in my inbox today. It's about the launch of a children's book-specific Audible site, with various community features like sharing of reviews and lists. Audible/Amazon will be working with Reading is Fundamental on the project, too. I'm interested in this site as a long-time Audible subscriber, one who frequently download children's and young adult books, so I took a quick look.
It's not clear to me exactly how the integration will work with existing Audible accounts. I was able to log in using my Audible username and password, but it didn't list any of my previously purchased titles in the download list - that seems to be completely separate. This makes me wonder if this is a first step in weaning people away from Audible's subscription model to a pay per book model, now that Amazon has purchased Audible. But perhaps I'm just being paranoid. I just hate the idea of potentially losing a service that I've enjoyed for years.
Anyway, I could see using this site to select books for now, and then going back to my regular Audible account to purchase them. I'll be interested to see if all of the books are available at both sites, or whether there are differences. It's definitely something that I'll be following. The press release follows (highlighting mine).
One-of-a-kind community of parents, educators, and children launches a website with nearly 4,000 titles and exclusive and never-before-released content
NEWARK, N.J.--Monday March 31--The leading provider of premium digital audio, Audible, Inc., part of the Amazon.com, Inc., group of companies (NASDAQ:AMZN - News), today announced the launch of AudibleKids, a first-of-its-kind destination where families can find and purchase the highest-quality digital children's audio books available online. AudibleKids.com is a safe and engaging community environment for parents and children to discover and listen to thousands of children's audio books, share recommendations and discuss listening experiences. AudibleKids is launching with nearly 4,000 titles from over 75 publishers, including 500+ new-to-digital titles such as exclusive stories from R. L. Stine of "Goosebumps" fame, all playable on iPods and hundreds of audio players and mobile devices. AudibleKids provides unmatched choice and convenience for parents, children and educators.
"We're igniting a young person's love of reading through digital audio books. We believe that AudibleKids will help children to develop critical literacy skills such as improved reading ability and comprehension," said Donald Katz, founder and CEO of Audible. "The unique power of audio books to engage, entertain and bring a story to life can help children develop a love of books. We fully expect AudibleKids will reposition digital music players as story-tellers and learning machines, and thus build a new generation of enthusiastic readers."
"AudibleKids is a truly unique community for anyone who is passionate about children's books, where one can discover the highest quality children's audio books available on demand-in a medium that is becoming as common as backpacks and pencils," added Brian Fitzgerald, vice president of AudibleKids. "From reaching out to reluctant readers to encouraging gifted readers to stretch their limits with more challenging books, AudibleKids is helping families build a bridge to books for this media-saturated, multi-tasking generation."
AudibleKids is working with Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit children's and family literacy organization, to help support RIF's mission of motivating all children to become lifelong readers. As part of the arrangement with RIF, AudibleKids will provide a featured section on the website where children, parents and educators can always download a select number of audiobooks for free. "Children enjoy listening to stories being read aloud," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. "RIF's new relationship with AudibleKids is especially exciting because it's a generation-relevant way to motivate children to read and improve their literacy skills."
Beyond its extensive library, AudibleKids can help families discover great audio books for the first time, and receive peer-to-peer audio book advice. The friendly, easy-to-navigate site provides the ability to search and browse titles by age, grade, category, award winners, and more. Further, with AudibleKids, parents can get recommendations of the best books for their kids from English teachers, librarians, reading specialists, and other educational leaders. Through the ideas children have expressed in extensive field studies, and by working with top media literacy experts, AudibleKids has developed a curriculum for parents, teachers and educators designed to help them get the most from their listening experience.
AudibleKids is a creation of Audible, Inc., the leading online provider of premium digital spoken word audio content on the Internet. Content from AudibleKids is downloaded and played back on personal computers, CDs, or AudibleReady(r) computer-based and wireless mobile devices. Audible and AudibleKids are the preeminent providers of spoken word audio products for Apple's iTunes Store. Audible headquarters are in Newark, NJ, with offices in London, England, and alliances in Germany and France.