[Update, Saturday afternoon: After this story was published, an Amazon spokesperson contacted GeekWire to add to the company’s previous statement: “We are planning to bring this feature to Fire tablets in the coming months,” the company now says.]
As someone who loves listening to audiobooks and podcasts, I was excited to try out Amazon’s newest Prime benefit, courtesy of its Audible subsidiary. The company this week started offering Prime members free access to the Audible Channels original audio service, along with a rotating selection of Audible audiobooks. I’m a longtime Amazon Prime member, with an Amazon Fire tablet to boot, so I’m all set, right?
Nope — at least not yet.
Audible Channels, which initially rolled out in July, is available in the Audible app for iOS, Android and Windows 10, but it’s not available on Amazon’s own Fire tablets, as a GeekWire reader pointed out on our story about the new Prime benefit.
Amazon treats Audible audiobooks as native content on its tablets, letting users download them directly to the device, much as they download e-books to Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets. It makes for a more seamless and integrated experience, but it also means that there’s no standalone Audible app to serve as a delivery mechanism for the Audible Channels service, as there is on non-Amazon devices.
When I asked about the situation, an Amazon representative confirmed this week, “Currently, you can access Audible Channels on iOS, Android, and Windows 10. We don’t have additional details to share at this time.” (See additional statement above.)
Many people listen to books and podcasts via their phones anyway, and that’s what I ended up doing — downloading the Audible app for iPhone to access Audible Channels. The process was quick and painless. I signed in with my Amazon credentials, and the app recognized me as a Prime member, informing me that I was eligible for free access to Audible Channels, which normally costs $60/year.
So far, I’m really enjoying the Audible Channels service on my iPhone — especially the daily audio playlists of news articles, read aloud from publications including the New York Times, Forbes, CNet and the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post. The curated audiobooks offer a great selection of fiction and non-fiction titles, including classic children’s titles such as “Winnie The Pooh” and “The Wind in the Willows.”
Audible Channels is already competing for my attention with the excellent NPR One and Stitcher apps when I’m looking for something to listen to on my phone. Both of those apps are available for Amazon Fire tablets, by the way. Hopefully soon Audible Channels will be, as well.