Kindle And Audible's Whispersync For Voice Review: The Best Of Both Worlds
I'm happy to purchase both the Kindle and the audiobook of the same novel if I like the book enough. The problem is, unless you're an Audible subscriber, the price for audiobooks a la carte isn't cheap. You're probably looking at at least $20 for a popular novel at Audible. It depends on the book, but the audiobook for a full novel is usually pricey by comparison to the cost of a paperback. Tacked onto the cost of a Kindle book, which could run $10 or more, reading could prove to be an expensive habit. (Example: A Casual Vacancy is $14.99 for the Kindle edition, and $26.95 for the Audible version - that's without WfV since it's not an option for that book). I'm not sure I could justify spending $30 or more for one book, unless I really loved it and planned to read it numerous times. But for a new release that I haven't read yet, no way.
Whispersync for Voice sets the cost of the audiobook (or "add narration") at a discounted rate, which makes the situation much more reasonable. You buy the Kindle book, you have the option for the discounted audiobook. In the case of Horns, it was $9.95 to "add narration." And I just did the "Add narration" option for Ally Condie's Matched for $3.95 after purchasing the Kindle version at $9.99. $14 for both versions of the book is a great deal. Practically a steal, in fact. Of course, we'll see how I feel about the purchases once I've read the book, but even so, it's a fair price.
Availability and Usability
So I'm happy with the feature and the price is reasonable. Those are both wins. But as I mentioned, I've been an Audible subscriber on and off for ten years and over that time, have collected a number of audiobooks. I've since purchased the eBooks for some of those books. I will never get tired of reading Stephen King's It, for example, so I'm glad to have both the Audible audiobook and the eBook. Does Whispersync work with It? No, because the feature isn't available for that book (yet). But again, hopefully in time, older books will be updated to carry the feature.
Whispersync for Voice should work with previously purchased Kindle books and Audible audiobooks, according to Audible.com. So if you previously owned both the audiobook and the Kindle version of a book that now offers the WfV feature, it's supposed to work with it. I tried to test that on The Hunger Games and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since I own both versions of both books.
I downloaded both audiobooks with the Audible app, but had some trouble with the syncing. I was able to get the Kindle to sync to where I was in the audiobook, but I didn't have much luck getting the Audible app to sync to catch up with the Kindle. The fact that the Kindle devices synced suggests that the feature should work, but communication seems to be one-sided there. Could be an issue with the app (or just a delay), but it's working fine with Horns, so the problem seems to only apply to the older books, both of which I owned before this feature was available. Hopefully that'll be worked out soon (and if anyone with any experience with this situation has any advice, feel free to post a comment!)
Over all though, this is a great feature, and Amazon and Audible have made it reasonably priced, which is another big selling point. I wouldn't do it for every book I read, but I can definitely see the benefits of the feature.
Here are the Whispersync for Voice-ready books at Amazon.com.