Whispersync for Voice: The Marriage of Kindle and Audible

by on October 22, 2012 · 22 comments

We all wish we had more time to read. Even if you love to read, you may struggle to find time to sit down with a good book. You may have discovered ebooks and audiobooks, but there are times when it’s better to listen while other times it’s better to read.

Whispersync for Voice gives you the best of both worlds: the convenience of both an ebook and an audiobook. Amazon recently introduced Whispersync for Voice, a syncing service that lets you sync back and forth between Audible audiobooks and Kindle books on many devices, so you can pick up where you left off between the two formats.

Whispersync was formerly just for Kindle books, you could start reading a Kindle book on your Kindle, pick up your iPhone and continue reading on your Kindle app where you left off reading on your Kindle. Now the feature has been expanded to include Audible audiobooks. Amazon has over 15,000 Kindle books available with Whispersync for Voice.

When You Might Use Whispersync for Voice

You’re listening to a gripping audiobook on the way to a doctor’s appointment. You arrive in the parking lot just as you get to an intensely good part. You would love to continue listening but you don’t want to be late for your appointment. You know that you’ll be stuck in the waiting room for a while but you won’t be able to listen to your audiobook for fear that you won’t hear your name being called.

You’re reading an amazing novel on your Kindle but you have to leave for your morning commute to the office. You don’t want to be late but you know you’ll be distracted until you find out what happens next in the book.

You wake in the middle of the night, eager to learn what happens next in your audiobook. You can’t listen for fear of waking your partner.

You’re engrossed in your favorite book but it’s time to exercise. You wish you could read “on the go.”

Here are some other ideas of when Whispersync for Voice might come in handy:

Audible and Kindle

With Whispersync for Voice, now Audible and Kindle books can sync with each other. If you start reading a book on a Kindle, you can pick up listening where you left off in an Audible book. Similarly, if you’re listening to an Audible book, you can pick up where you left off on a Kindle book.

Suddenly, your time available for reading just expanded exponentially.

Whispersync for Audible

Whispersync for Voice can also be used with Audible audiobooks between different devices. You can pause an audiobook on your iPhone and start listening to it on your iPad where you left off on your iPhone. This is great news for fans of Audible who previously had to find their place manually on audiobooks if they were going to listen to a book on more than one device.

Wait a minute! Won’t I have to buy the book twice?

In some cases, it may be less expensive to get a Kindle book along with an Audible book. Amazon is offering many free books enabled with Whispersync for Voice on Kindle and Audible. Amazon is also offering reduce prices for many Audible titles if you buy the Kindle book first.

If you’re considering getting an audiobook, check to see if it’s is available as a free or discounted Kindle book before you buy the Audible book. Even if you never look at the Kindle version, you may save quite a bit on the Audible version by buying the Kindle book first.

For example, The Hunger Games as a Kindle book is available to borrow for free through Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or on sale for $5.00 to purchase. The Audible list price for The Hunger Games is $27.97, but if you buy the Kindle version first for $5.00, the Audible version is $3.95, saving you $19.02 over the Audible list price.

You can get many Kindle books for free or at a significant discount. If you’re an Amazon Prime customer, you can use Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to borrow a book for free (not all titles are included for Kindle Owners’ Lending Library). Whether or not you’re an Amazon Prime customer, you can take advantage of Kindle Daily Deals, Kindle Library Lending, and Kindle Lending (borrowing a Kindle book from a friend). Amazon also offers monthly deals on 100 Kindle books for $3.99 or less.

 

What You Need to Know

1. Only certain books have the Whispersync for Voice feature enabled. When you go to buy a Kindle book or an Audible audiobook, you will see whether the feature is available in the listing.

2. As discussed above, some Audible books with Whispersync are discounted if you already own the Kindle book. If you want to use Whispersync for Voice, make sure to look at the Kindle book first to see if there is a discount on the Audible book. You may save quite a bit off of the Audible list price by buying the Kindle book first. But if you are an Audible member, you may find that using a credit can save you more than using the Whispersync discount. Compare prices.

Amazon has a list of Whispersync-ready Audible books at reduced prices.

Unfortunately, the discount doesn’t work in reverse: Kindle books are not discounted with Whispersync if you already own the Audible version. I’m hoping that Amazon adds discounts for Kindle books for those who already own the Audible book.

3. Whispersync works retroactively. If you already have purchased the Kindle and/or Audible book, you don’t need to purchase the books again or update them. The feature will be active.

4. You can even sync between Audible and Kindle on a single device. For example, if you’re listening to an Audible book on your iPhone, you can switch to the Kindle version and open the book in your Kindle app exactly where you left off in the audiobook.

5. You must own both the Kindle and Audible book for the syncing to work between the two formats. If you only own the Audible version, you can sync between multiple devices for the audiobook.

6. You must be connected to the Internet on both devices for Whispersync to work.

How It Works

It just works. There is nothing you need to do. Just stop reading/listening on one device and pick up the book on the other. You will be asked if you wish to continue reading where you left off. Say yes and continue on your merry way.

Syncing from Audible to Kindle is amazingly precise. The Kindle will sync to the very last word that was read on your Audible book.

Syncing from Kindle to Audible isn’t quite as exact, because the Kindle doesn’t know the last word you read. Instead, it syncs to the top of the page you were on, which can serve to refresh your memory about where you left off. If you find this annoying, you can always fast forward a few seconds.

My Tests

I tested Whispersync for Voice with an audiobook on my iPhone syncing to a Kindle book on a(n):

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Computer
  • Kindle Keyboard
  • Kindle Fire (1st Generation)
  • Kindle Fire HD
  • Android phone
  • Android tablet

The feature worked on all of these devices without any issues.

Bottom Line

Find more time for reading by switching between Kindle and Audible books without losing your place!

Have you been using Whispersync for Voice? Have you found the feature handy? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Also see, 3 Ideas to Improve Amazon’s/Audible’s Whispersync.

Comments on this entry are closed.

philip
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 7:28 am

Android users beware the app for whisperaynch has recenly been panned on the Google playstore reviews.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

Hi Philip, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! There actually is no app for Whispersync, the feature works on Kindle devices and apps and on Audible apps.

Some reviewers of both the Audible and Kindle apps in the Google Play store have had difficulty with recent updates to these apps. I tested the most recent versions of these apps on multiple devices and did not encounter any issues.

Thanks for your comment alerting us to these issues, Philip!
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Harleena Singh
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 7:33 am

Loved the information shared Carolyn!

Just the simple fact that now you can read and hear what you want, even while you are working or not being able to stop and read, due to whatever reasons – is amazing!

I’d never heard of Whispersync for Voice earlier than now, though you explained it all so very well here, and so was the video descriptive enough. I liked the fact that both Kindle as well as Audible are synced now, so you really don’t loose out listening or reading with Whispersync for Voice. Seems like all the more reason to go in for a Kindle now. :)

Thanks so much for sharing about yet another wonderful service with all of us. :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 22, 2012 at 10:48 am

Hi Harleena, My husband is a big fan of Kindle books while I prefer Audible audiobooks. I often wished that there would be a discount for buying the book in a second format. I also wished for syncing but never really thought it would happen because the formats are so different. So Whispersync for Voice is the answer to two of my wishes!

I was so excited about this new feature I wanted to write a separate article about it so that Wonder of Tech readers would know how handy this feature is and how easy to use.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us, Harleena!
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Josh October 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

That is a cool app. I haven’t done much with audio books but the experiences I have had have been pleasant. I remember losing my place once or twice. This is a nice way of not having to worry about that.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 22, 2012 at 10:52 am

Hi Josh, I started out with audiobooks reluctantly, a friend of mine kind of insisted that I try one. I thought I wouldn’t be able to focus on the story, but I found that wasn’t a problem.

Once I became hooked on audiobooks, I discovered Audible and found it was the easiest and least expensive way for me to listen to books. This integration of Kindle and Audible makes audiobooks even more convenient and affordable.

You’re right, its very handy to never have to worry about losing your place, Josh!
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Adrienne
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

That’s pretty cool and I know my nephew will love that. He loves his Kindle but I’m sure with him on the go a lot he would enjoy the audible portion as well.

You know me, I have none of that and I’ve only listened to one audio book. It was hard from me to concentrate because I like to highlight stuff so for now I just stick with good old reading.

Great news though Carolyn, thanks!

~Adrienne
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hi Adrienne, Yes, you can bookmark a passage on an Audible or Kindle book, but you can only highlight on a Kindle book, not an Audible book.

Thank you for sharing this with your nephew, Adrienne. If he is a fan of Kindle books, he may want to check out an Audible book that syncs with one of his Kindle books to see if he likes listening to audiobooks.
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Hi Carolyn,

Wow. This is almost too good to be true. It’s not that long ago that I discovered that I was syncing the Kindle books I was reading between the various devices, and I thought that was too good to be true. I read a book on the Kindle, and I continued reading it on the iPad where I left off, and I kept talking about it to my friends and family for weeks.

I have been a member of Audible for a while, and I love listening to books while I’m walking. I need to test how this works with the Kindle. Thank you so much for sharing.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Hi Jens, That’s what I thought! In the back of my mind, I always wanted this feature but never thought that it would be a reality. This capability is so cool, I bet you will be using it a lot, Jens! :-)
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dadblunders October 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Carolyn,

Upon occasion I purchase an audible book (it is rare though) Generally, I will just purchase the title for the Kindle and read it. If I really like a title I will purchase it in hardback form. I guess I am old fashion that way and I really enjoy the feel of a book in my hands. Until I read your post I didn’t know they were offering some of the classic novels in a whispersync format. i can definitely see a benefit to it. I could have really used those back in high school and college…. lol

Aaron
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Hi Aaron, Yes, getting free classic books as ebooks and audiobooks would have been great when I was in school. I really enjoy both audiobooks and ebooks so combining the two is fantastic.

I have to agree, I enjoy the feel of a printed book. And the smell too. But I find that I need the convenience of a digital book because the times I find to read are not necessarily the times I have a printed book with me.

Nothing wrong with being old fashioned, Aaron!
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Nanette Levin October 23, 2012 at 4:13 am

This is such a great idea! Technology is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this news about Whispersync, Carolyn – and doing all the testing to confirm it works on multiple devices.

As an author, I’ve been trying to figure out how to provide audio versions of books to Amazon (and others). ACX seems to be the most noted resource, so I’m giving it a shot. What I haven’t figured out yet is how to make a product available that’s already in audio format (an MP3 file, for example). You wouldn’t happen to know of any tutorials on uploading an audio product to Amazon, would you?

Thanks for all you do. Your blog is one of my favorites!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 23, 2012 at 7:48 am

Hi Nanette, Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoy The Wonder of Tech!

I did some research and found this post that could be helpful for you in getting your audiobooks onto Audible/Amazon: http://askville.amazon.com/publish-audio-books-audible/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=9222392 The post lists quite a few resources that may be worth checking out.

Keep us posted if you get an audiobook published, Nanette! :-bd
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Nanette Levin October 23, 2012 at 8:54 am

Thanks for this, Carolyn. I hate to tell you how much research I did trying to find a way in. Your link was very helpful. My guess is Amazon is turning to aggregators on the audio side (I haven’t been able to figure out a way to do this through Associates either), which I suppose you can’t blame them for (few small publishers invest in the necessary equipment for good sound). Might be a UPC Code issue too. I appreciate your taking the time to look into this. I will keep you posted on the books. One of the e-booklets is in the final stages of recording and others are in varying stages, so it should be soon.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I wish you the best of luck with your audiobooks, Nanette. I’m sure it’s not easy to break into the fold.
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Mike Maynard
Twitter:
October 23, 2012 at 6:38 am

Hi Carolyn,

I like audible books. I wrote a children’t story for kids with cancer a few years ago and that was read and put on YouTube. It was a simple story, but that version was fascinating! I’m not too sure whether listening in the car would be distracting or not. Iisten to music, but often turn that off approaching a busy junction. I looked at a map showing where all the fatal accidents were on the roads last year near where I live. They were at the junctions and places I most complain about. Planners have no common-sense.

My art blog today features you photo. I hope you like it! :)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 23, 2012 at 7:31 am

Hi Mike,

Thanks so much for featuring my photo in your blog post today. I’m glad you found it worthy of your editing techniques. I really liked the edits you did!

I thoroughly enjoy listening to audiobooks when I drive, exercise, cook, etc. For some reason I don’t find them distracting but they do enhance my routine experiences in life. If I were driving on complicated, unfamiliar roads, I probably would not listen to an audiobook or even music, but would be concentrating very heavily on where I was going and how to get there without getting lost!
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Manickam Vijayabanu October 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Hi Carolyn ,
It’s very nice and really a useful tool. Since Kindle market is growing on uptrend, surely this would make their subscribers so happy importantly on the go. I believe you have nailed the right practical scenarios, where we could mostly stuck and surely this tool would help a lot such situations. :)

I hold HP touch pad and so far good with the features. Thanks for sharing the info Carolyn.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hi Manickam, You’re right, it’s great to get new features without having to buy new devices. I really liked that this feature works on all devices without having to do anything special.

The HP Touchpad is a great device, I’m glad your happy with it, Manickam. :-)

Samantha Bangayan October 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Too cool! This is exactly what I need for public transit rides that give me the hugest headache if I try to read. I used to listen to NPR on my iPod all the time and I imagine audiobooks on my Kindle would be similar. In fact, this would be ideal for traveling too. I always get nauseous trying to read in a moving vehicle. =P
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr October 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hi Samantha, You’re right, audiobooks are a great way to listen to books while you travel. I’m like you, I can’t read in a moving vehicle so audiobooks are the only way I can read a book on the go!

I hope you enjoy Whispersync for Voice, Samantha!
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