Whispersync for Audio

I was happy to learn Audible books could now be synced across devices. That is, the “read to” location can be synced. I’ve been waiting for this. Coinciding with that new feature is Whispersync for Audio. Since Amazon owns Audible they’ve enabled syncing the “read to” location between Kindle ebooks and Audible audiobooks.

This has to be enabled for the title in order to work. Amazon claims over 15,000 titles are enabled. While not specifically called out, I did expect there to be an incremental cost, if not a requirement to pay full retail for both.

So I went looking for a book to buy. I found one Audiobook I already owned was enabled and in that case it was full retail for the Kindle edition. The purchase is supposed to start on the Kindle book side, but it was easier to find the enabled books at Audible.com since they were being promoted. Then I searched for it on Amazon. There is an incremental cost for “professional narration”. It varies by title but is significantly less than the full audiobook price. I found a book that was only 3 cents more for both the audiobook and ebook than it would be for the audiobook alone. (“Swarm” by B.V. Larson)

After buying the Kindle edition I was given the option to add “professional narration” for $1.99. The audiobook was currently selling at a sale price of $5 and has a regular member price of $13.96. I clicked through to buy the audiobook. I was brought to the Audible shopping cart where the book was listed to be purchased with an available Audible credit. The cash price was $13.96, no mention of the $1.99 price. So I unchecked the “use credit” box and sure enought, the price to be paid became $1.99 and I completed the purchase.

Using the sync was a bit wonky, but sync often is. I used the Audible app on my iPhone and the Kindle app on my iPad. I started off reading the ebook then fired up the Audible app. (I made sure I had the recent update first) It started at the beginning. I went back to my library and hit the “Refresh” button and things synced up. I’ve had to manually refresh the library in all my testing. The Kindle ebook seems to sync OK but does prompt me to approve the sync each time. I wouldn’t call it seamless, but it wasn’t burdensome either.

I’m not sure how much I’ll use this feature. I mostly listen to Audiobooks these days, while driving. The sync may make me use the Kindle more but I’m not sure I’ll be buying both editions up front. Nice feature. I’ll probably never use it.

Anyone looking forward to syncing audiobooks and ebooks?

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