Amazon has a functionality with some of their Kindle books and the associated audiobooks is called Whispersync, and I am a big fan. First off, let me explain what Whispersync is.
Whispersync is a coordination function that allows synchronization between a Kindle e-book and it’s associated Audible audiobook. So, for example, if you read your e-book and are at page 50, and then get in the car to go to work and want to continue the story, you can start up the audiobook and it will remember where you left off reading. It will start at page 50. No more trying to figure out where you were. I typically read a book and then, after I’ve finished, listen to the audiobook while I’m in the car, driving to work or running errands. Because of this, the functionality to keep my place isn’t that important to me. Some people only listen to audiobooks and do not read text books, so again, this feature wouldn’t be attractive.
Another feature is that when you buy the e-book, the price of the audiobook is drastically reduced for a Whispersync qualified title, and this is more important to me (as a reader and as an author) than synchronizing page number. Put plainly, it can save you money, and everyone likes to save money.
Let me use my book Vibrations as an example. The e-book is $3.99, the normal price for the audiobook is $24.95, and the reduced price for the Audible audiobook is two or three dollars (it seems to change, for some reason). If someone wanted only the audiobook and not the e-book but bought it anyway, they would still save about $18 over just buying the audiobook by itself ($6 or $7 vs. $25). Because I have no control over pricing of the audiobooks for my books, this is great for me because people can read (and listen) to my book for less money. As a reader (and listener), this is great for me, too because whenever I buy an e-book, I always pick up the audiobook if it has Whispersync. I’ve never paid more than $3.99 for a Whispersync audiobook, so adding it is a no-brainer.
One other reason I like Whispersync is that in order to qualify, the audiobook has to keep a pace that allows it to synchronize with the e-book. That means the cadence of the narration can’t be too jerky, can’t speed up and slow down, which can be distracting. I know that titles qualifying for Whispersync have smoother narration that those which can’t qualify and that is an important piece of information for me.
So, whether you are a reader first and listener second, solely a listener, or a hybrid consumer of stories in text and audio formats, I think Amazon’s Whispersync is a good program. I’m a fan of anything that will allow readers to experience the books I write in varied ways and to do so without spending too much money. Both of the titles I have out right now, Vibrations and Gray Man Rising, have Whispersync functionality, and I plan on making sure all subsequent titles have it as well. I am already planning for the audiobook for Harmonics, the second book in the Harmonic Magic series, the e-book and print copy due out this month. Let me know what you think. Do you like Whispersync, too? If so, why?