Friday, February 01, 2008

Amazon Buys Audible

It's time for my annual mention of, the largest provider of digital downloads of audiobooks in the U.S.

On February 3, 2006, I mentioned Audible here in a post on new technologies. A year later on January 5, 2007, I brought the company up again here in a post on "Another Look At Audible."

Today, February 1, 2008, I'm back to report that said yesterday it has reached agreement to purchase Audible for $11.50 per share.

This is Amazon's second major purchase of an audio provider. Last May, Amazon acquired Brilliance Audio, an independent producer of audiobooks based in Grand Haven, Michigan.

Reuters reported that Amazon values the Audible deal at approximately $300 million.

Audible stock closed Wednesday night at $9.33 a share so the $11.50 purchase price represents a 23% premium.

The Audible purchase creates some questions. First, according to Publishers Weekly, Audible "is the exclusive distributor of spokenword audio to iTunes, owned by one of Amazon's competitors, Apple."

A second issue is DRM (Digital Rights Management). Audible's content is DRM protected. Amazon offers music downloads without DRM protection.

Stay tuned . . .

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