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Audible is the leading Internet audio information and entertainment service. The company sells audio content such as audio books, audio editions of print publications, radio broadcasts, lectures, speeches, performances, study materials and other audio. Specific examples of audio information and entertainment services are daily audio editions of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Forbes, as well as audiobook services by authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham, and William Shakespeare. The company has more than 144,000 hours of audio programs from more than 530 content partners with over 40,000 titles. All of the programs are available for computer-based playback, burning to audio CD, and on-the-go listening via a portable music device. An hour of spoken audio downloads to a listener's computer in approximately 10 seconds using a high-speed Internet connection, and less than 30 seconds to transfer the content from the computer to an AudibleReady player. Its customers have the choice to purchase content a la carte or to join one of three AudibleListener categories, a monthly membership service. The AudibleListener basic subscription costs $9.95 a year and members receive a 30% discount on all Audible's digital audio products, as well as six free audio programs weekly. The AudioListener Gold subscription is $14.95 a month or $149.50 a year, and includes everything in the basic membership category, plus one audio credit a month (good for any product) and complimentary subscriptions to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal's audio content. The AudioListener Platinum category costs $22.95 a month, or $229.50 a year, and includes everything in the Gold membership, except that it includes two audio credits a month instead of one. The company has started a special introductory offer for AudibleListener Gold membership at $7.49 per month for the first three months. This offer has attracted a larger number of premium plan members who contribute more marginal profits to the company compared to basic plan members.
Audible uses its AudibleManager software for downloading, managing, scheduling and playing audio selections. AudibleManager enables customers to download and listen to spoken audio content and transfer it to AudibleReady players for mobile playback. The AudiblePlayer software enables users of hand-held PDAs to control and customize their listening experience. These applications are available for download for free. The Apple iTunes jukebox software incorporates AudibleReady features to enable owners of Apple Macintosh computers and the Apple iPod or the Audible Otis to download and listen to spoken audio from audible.com. Audible is the exclusive provider of digital audio for Apple iTunes Music Store and Amazon.com's spoken word products. The company has created a strategic alliance with best buy and launched a boutique with a retailer that is available from www.bestbuy.com.