eMusic introduces world's first audiobooks catalogue in mp3 Mp3 pioneer to offer audiobooks in world's most popular digital format starting september 18 no. 2 digital music retailer will expand a market poised for growth.
BigNews.Biz - May 06,2008 - NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2007 -- eMusic the world's largest retailer of independent music and the world's second-largest digital music service after iTunes, announces the availability of more than a thousand downloadable audiobook titles in the universally compatible MP3 format starting tomorrow, September 18. Consumers, who have long wondered why they can't simply use audiobooks with their existing MP3 players, can now enjoy them without restrictions. eMusic's expansion into audiobooks, its first retail product beyond music, brings the company's award-winning combination of universal compatibility, great value, and expert editorial to a market that is poised for growth. Worldwide digital audiobooks sales are expected to reach $201 million this year and nearly half of eMusic subscribers recently polled have expressed interest in audiobooks.
eMusic will offer more than a thousand audiobooks from major audiobook publishers including Blackstone Audio, Hachette, Naxos Audiobooks, Penguin and Random House, with hundreds more to be added each week. The catalogue comprises fiction and non-fiction classics, bestsellers and new releases, including notable books narrated by well-known voices such as: Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, read by Ralph Fiennes; Shakespeare's Hamlet, read by Sir John Gielgud; Nicola Kraus' The Nanny Diaries, read by Julia Roberts; and Barack Obama reading his own books, Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Upcoming releases this fall will include President Bill Clinton reading his own Giving and Eric Clapton's autobiography, narrated by Bill Nighy. Other best-selling authors available on eMusic are Jon Stewart, David Sedaris, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Joel Osteen, Brad Meltzer, and Janet Fitch.
As with its music service, eMusic will offer audiobooks at a great value. Current eMusic customers can sign up for monthly subscriptions priced at $9.99 for one book or $19.99 for two books and get one book free as part of an introductory offer. New eMusic customers will be offered an audiobooks subscription with one audiobook free if they sign up within 14 days. (Audiobooks-only subscriptions will be available in the future.) eMusic audiobooks subscription plans represent a considerable discount from the cost of physical audiobooks, which typically retail for $20 - $40, and are far more convenient, as physical products often include at least four and sometimes as many as 20 CDs.
eMusic also will bring its sophisticated editorial voice to its audiobooks offering. Subscribers will find regular reviews of audiobooks by critics from the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Observer, and Slate, among others. Other editorial features will include the eMusic Bookshelf, featuring six books that touch on a specific theme (similar to the eMusic Dozen), plus monthly columns on noteworthy new arrivals, interviews with authors and more. The eMusic Book Club will accommodate what's expected to be an enthusiastic eMusic community of literary fans.
eMusic audiobooks will be encoded in high-quality 64 kbps bit rate -- twice the audio quality available from iTunes and Audible. Customers can download eMusic audiobooks with a single click using the new eMusic Remote helper application, which immediately adds the