Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer is set to bring its audiobooks streaming service – Audible -to India. Audible would be Amazon’s next big gambit in India after Prime Video and Alexa, where the audio-book and entertainment service has started its beta testing.
In the past, the company has been talking to the biggest book publishers in the country, such as Penguin Random House and HarperCollins, as well as the Chiki Sarkar-led start-up, Juggernaut.
Amazon, which has launched global products like Prime and Alexa, is piloting the service among its employees internally and wants to roll it out at large in another 3-4 months. Globally, Amazon has synced the Audible service to Kindle, reported TOI.
Acquired by Amazon in 2008 for $300 million, Audible sells digital audio-books, radio and TV programmes as well as audio versions of magazines and newspapers including The New York Times.
In the US, Audible is free for Prime users while non-Prime users can avail the same for almost $7 per month. The US- e-tailer hasn’t decided how much it will charge Indian users for Audible here.
Amazon, which started as an online bookstore in 1994, has had a mixed experience with e-books in India. The spread of e-books in India, as well as Amazon’s e-book reading device Kindle, has fallen short of its successes in the United States.
In 2013, the Kindle and its variants were introduced in India. In April this year, video streaming device Amazon Fire Stick was launched here.
Amit Agarwal, Amazon India head told TOI that they were not looking to clock profits at this time from India and it will instead keep investing to widen the e-commerce base. So far, Amazon has committed $5 billion to the India market.
Earlier, Amazon launched its premium voice-activated wireless speaker Echo, which is powered by its AI enabled virtual assistant Alexa in three variants – Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot.
Prime Music service is also expected to arrive in the India market soon. A specific timeline on its launch has not been declared so far. However, the service will be first offered as an exclusive preview to invite-only Echo customers and will later be available to all Prime members.