This is pretty exciting. Amazon’s giving away free audiobook versions of 20 different books. There’s an Agatha Christie mystery, the original Dracula (and Frankenstein), plus audiobook versions of 17 more classic books. You can find links to the audiobooks when you browse their free ebook versions at tinyurl.com/FreeKindleAudiobooks
And the readers for these books aren’t just professional audiobook narrators. Some of them are actually Hollywood movie actors! For example, the audiobook version of Heart of Darkness is performed by Kenneth Branagh, who’s been nominated for an Academy Award five different times. And there’s also an audiobook version of Agatha Christie’s first novel with her character Hercule Poirot — narrated by David Suchet, the actor who actually played Hercule Perot on public television’s Mystery Theatre!
Amazon’s even giving away a free version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz read by Anne Hathaway, an actress who’s appeared in everything from The Princess Diaries to The Devil Wears Prada. There’s also a free audiobook version of Gulliver’s Travels read by David Hyde Pierce, who’s won four Emmys for his performance as Niles Crane on the TV show Frasier. With Halloween coming up, you might also want to download the free audiobook version of Dracula by Bram Stoker. It’s read by a long list of narrators that includes Tim Curry — who played the lurking evil in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s It, and starred as the crazed libertine scientist in the The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Why is Amazon doing this? To show off a brand new feature they’re making available for audiobooks that’s called “Whispersync for Voice”. Now if you’re reading the text of an ebook on any Kindle, you can instantly switch over to its audiobook version on your Kindle tablet (or in a Kindle app). And the audiobook’s narrator will continue reading right where you left off!
“Most people I know believe that if they only had more time to read, they would be more imaginative, more interesting, and more successful,” the founder of Audible.com said in a press release. “Whispersync for Voice directly addresses that need. The ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between reading text on any Kindle and listening to the same title in audio on your smartphone [or on your Kindle Fire tablet]– and always pick up where you left off — means that the story can continue during those times of the day when you cannot look at a screen.” It’s a feature that’s exclusively available on the Kindle, with specially-enabled ebooks that are sold through Amazon’s Kindle Store.
On the Audible web site, there’s a video showing a young woman enjoying The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and then continuing to listen to it on her headphones as she commutes in to work. (You can watch the video at audible.com/wsv, which also includes a demonstration of the technology using The Hunger Games.) This new Whispersync for Voice feature is now already available for nearly 15,000 different Kindle ebook/audiobook combinations on Amazon.com, according to their press release, and Audible’s founder drove home the point that it’ll make life easier for Kindle owners. “We think that Whispersync for Voice can help us all enjoy more books, which is good news indeed.”
And Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s own founder and CEO, added “Anyone who wants more time to read, or never wants to put a great book down because it’s time to drive to work or exercise, will love Whispersync for Voice – it offers our customers the profound gift of more time to read.”
Below is a list of the 20 ebook/audiobook combinations which Amazon’s giving away for free “for a limited time.” Only 18 of them are listed at tinyurl.com/FreeKindleAudiobooks. The other two free combinations are The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (narrated by Simon Prebble) and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (which T.S. Eliot described as “the first and greatest of English detective novels”).
But the 18 ebooks below are all also available for free (with free narration) at tinyurl.com/FreeKindleAudiobooks
Dracula by Bram Stoker with a list of narrators that includes Tim Curry (As well as Alan Cumming, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley, and James Adams)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (narrated by David Suchet, who played Hercule Perot on public television’s Mystery Theatre)
The Sign of the Four, a Sherlock Holmes mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (narrated by Patrick Tull)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (narrated by Anne Hathaway)
Gulliver’s Travels (narrated by David Hyde Pierce)
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (narrated by Kenneth Branagh)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (narrated by Simon Vance)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville (narrated by Frank Muller)
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (narrated by John Lee)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (narrated by Elijah Wood)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (narrated by Simon Vance)
David Copperfield (narrated by Simon Vance)
The Wind in the Willows (narrated by Shelly Frasier
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (narrated by Nathaniel Parker)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (narrated by John Lee)
House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (narrated by Wanda McCaddon)
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (narrated by Davina Porter)
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (narrated by Scott Brick)
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (narrated by James Langton)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (narrated by Simon Prebble)