Amazon’s Whispersync for voice was always an interesting curiosity: You can read a book on your Kindle, seamlessly switch to the Audiobook version, and then switch back again, all without losing your place. This works thanks to the fact that Amazon owns Audible, the biggest audiobook seller around.
The service just got a lot easier to use, thanks to a doubling of compatible titles, and a new Matchmaker service which automatically pairs up any books you already own, and lets you grab the audio version for a big discount.
The best way to see how this works is to visit your Matchmaker page and take a look. Any titles you have purchased that have an audiobook version is listed, along with the upgrade price to buy it. For me these vary between a couple of bucks (Stephen King’s Guns) and around $15 (Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic).
The obvious fault here is that you’ve probably already read all of these, but I guess for unfinished books or future purchases it’ll be more useful.
There’s also a ¢99 section of public domain titles, and a monthly freebie (currently a Sherlock Holmes title). I tried the free offer and it’s as easy as buying the book as normal (for $0.00) and then picking the free “Add Narration” offer that pops up after purchase.
Reading works on any Kindle device or app, and listening can be done on Kindle Fires, on older e-ink Kindles (the Paperwhite has no speaker) and in the Audible app on your iDevice.
I really like this feature, as I listen to audiobooks when cooking or walking, and read the rest of the time. But I think I’ll stick to separate titles for different purposes: after all, an autobiography is fantastic when read by the author, but a thriller is a little too stressful when you’re trying to cook something tricky.