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(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Audible.com, the world’s leading provider of digital spoken-word entertainment and a subsidiary of Amazon.com, today announced two momentous steps forward for reading: “Immersion Reading” and “Whispersync for Voice.” Both new features are offered only by Amazon and are exclusive to the Kindle ecosystem.
New “Whispersync for Voice”
Amazon’s Whispersync technology already enables customers to automatically and seamlessly switch between different devices while reading a Kindle book—all without losing their place. Last year with the introduction of Kindle Fire, Amazon extended Whispersync to video, allowing customers to start watching a video on their Kindle Fire and pick up where they left off on their big-screen TV. With Whispersync for Voice, Kindle and Kindle Fire owners can now switch seamlessly between reading a book and listening to the professionally narrated Audible audiobook on any iOS or Android phone—all without losing their place. This continuous reading experience means that Kindle owners can keep enjoying their books while driving to work or picking up the kids from school.
“Most people I know believe that if they only had more time to read, they would be more imaginative, more interesting, and more successful. Whispersync for Voice directly addresses that need,” said Donald Katz, Audible Founder and CEO. “The ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between reading text on any Kindle and listening to the same title in audio on your smartphone—and always pick up where you left off—means that the story can continue during those times of the day when you cannot look at a screen. We think that Whispersync for Voice can help us all enjoy more books, which is good news indeed.”
New “Immersion Reading”
With Immersion Reading, owners of new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD can now synchronize Kindle text with the corresponding Audible.com audiobook to create a more immersive and engaging experience, as well as deepen learning and comprehension. As customers read their books on Kindle Fire, text is highlighted while it is professionally narrated via the Audible audiobook. Academic research supports the assertion that all readers can benefit from listening while reading. In an influential 2007 study, “Learning through Listening in the Digital World,” neuropsychologist David Rose and professor Bridget Dalton drew upon cognitive educational research to report that “both learning to listen and listening to learn are critical to literacy in the 21st century as new technologies rebalance what it means to be literate and to learn.” Professor David Dockterman commented on Rose’s and Dalton’s findings, “For struggling readers, narration can provide decoding support, but there’s an added benefit to well-narrated text that helps even competent readers. Hearing something read with expression provides additional clues to the meaning beyond the words themselves.”