The Sound of Profits: How Mobile Skyrocketed Audible.com’s Business

By the Editors

Audiobooks in one form or another have been around for nearly a century. In the early 1900s, people played spoken word recordings on tin cylinders using their phonograph machines. Today, audiobooks are a billion dollar industry and you can access thousands of them on multiple devices in a matter of seconds.

One of the key players in the audiobook business is audible.com, a subsidiary of the e-commerce giant Amazon. Here’s how Audible has utilized mobile to become the world leader in audiobooks, and what you can learn from their efforts.At the beginning of the 21st century, mobile was still in its infancy. The smartphone hadn’t been introduced into the mainstream market and handheld devices did not yet come equipped with wireless connectivity. Mp3 players such as the iPod that enabled users to download music via the Internet were becoming increasingly popular. Audible took note.

In 2003, the company entered into an exclusive agreement with tech giant Apple, becoming their go-to provider for audiobooks. Users could download audio files via the iTunes store to their handheld devices. Sometimes, opportunity in mobile focuses on a specific niche.

As technology evolved and wireless usage became widespread, Audible began to see the potential. In 2005, the company introduced AudibleAir, which allowed users to download audiobooks using their wireless devices. And shortly after, Audible began developing free apps for both Apple and Android devices so that bookworms could connect to their library directly.

As the mobile app market began to see explosive growth, so did Audible’s business. Currently, they are the exclusive provider of audio content for both Amazon and Apple and their apps and Audible technology are available on over 500 devices. Your mobile evolution involves understanding what your customers want, where the market is going, and providing the means to access content in different ways.

The company also worked with Amazon to create a compatible technology for the Kindle called WhisperSync for Voice, which gives users the option of listening to their books on the go or listening while they are reading for an immersive experience. So if you’re reading a book that you simply cannot put down, now you can pick up where you left off and listen to it on your way to work! The technology automatically syncs up with your iPhone or Android device so you don’t have to worry about remembering which page you were on.

Most recently, luxury automaker BMW has integrated Audible app technology into their cars. Drivers will now be able to access Audible, Rhapsody, TuneIn, and Glympse quickly and easily while they’re on the go. The iOS integration will be an available option in BMW and Mini vehicles. Drivers will be able to access their audiobooks through a screen on their dashboard simply by plugging in their iPhone via USB or audio dock.

Audible is a perfect example of a company that understood the power of mobile and modified their product accordingly. They invested significant efforts into research, both understanding their customer base and the direction of the market.