Kindle Fire Immersion Reading and Audible Audiobooks

Experience Immersion Reading

I’m trying to find out more information about the Immersion Reading program being touted for the new Kindle Fire HD family.  I suppose I will be able to experience it more today, now that I have my hands on the new Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet.

Immersion Reading is being advertised as listening to an audiobook version of whatever novel you have selected while seeing it highlighted on the screen of your Kindle Fire HD tablet.  I am guessing that Whispersync for Voice and Immersion Reading are one and the same on the Kindle Fire HDs.  Again – great marketing to Amazon to basically advertise 2 for the price of 1 when it is really 1 for the price of 1.

There is a good (and short) 47 second You Tube video on Immersion Reading.  Oddly enough, it is almost identical to the Whispersync for Voice You Tube video. About 30 seconds into the video, it shows the user clicking a button for $3.95 (for the chosen book) to ‘Add Narration for $3.95.’  On my current Kindle Fire, that link is not available and I cannot find a similar link on either the Audible.com site or Amazon.com site – so this option might be only on the Kindle Fire HD.

Possible Benefits of Immersion Reading (and a few concerns)

Many, many years ago, when I was working on my first Bachelor’s degree at BYU, I was a Reader for the Blind for two years.  I was paid to read all the classnotes and textbooks that my students needed for their classes.  This was very valuable to them and I learned first hand the benefits of not only reading a book, but reading it aloud.  My first semester in this program, I was able to arrange for my students to be in my general ed classes. Thus, I got paid to read my own books. First semester I earned straight A’s in every class.

When my children were young, I spent countless hours reading aloud to them.  Many of those hours were spent with me underlining each word as we read.  My children both inherited my love for reading and were reading at above High School level in first grade.

Immersion Reading can give you the benefit of reading and hearing the book simultaneously.  I don’t know that I will have too many uses for this – but can see it being a much more interesting way of reading/listening to a new release while running on the treadmill and allow me not to have to turn pages by hand.

For challenged readers and students that are learning to read, this will give them a way to hear and see a book at the same time. This is great.  We can use more good readers out there because books are so much richer than movies for helping us to learn and grow.

Concern 1: Busy parents will use this as an excuse to avoid reading aloud to their children.  I hope not.  I think that time is so valuable for teaching children to love reading and for bonding between parent and child.  However, what a great “reward” for an accomplishment if this could be used for supplemental reading.

Concern 2: Reading speed.  Will users be able to speed up and/or slow down the reading speed?  How much distortion will that cause on the audio portion?  My audiobooks allow for some adjustments – but I really dislike any of the faster or slower options.  So, if the child is actually trying to read along and the narrator is cruising at normal speed, will the child (or any person learning to read better) just get lost and quit watching the text and only listen?

I will be interested to see if this can be used for dual language immersion.  I am going to try to find out if I can get a novel in Italian and an audiobook in Italian (might be a few years in coming) and get my Italian conversation level back up to fluent.

Audible Audiobooks

Audible.com is a subsidiary of Amazon.  Now, they are linked even tighter.  I first started downloading audiobooks when I took up marathon running in 2004. Then, in 2006 when I got divorced, I became and Audible subscriber and got montly credits.  These audiobooks provided me a much needed companion when I was lonely.

I recommend you check out Audible.  I plan to do more research into the new book prices to see what the best deals will be.

If you like to listen to audiobooks, I highly recommend purchasing one of their plans.  It makes the books much cheaper.  As an example, I downloaded Delusion in Death this week. This audiobook would cost $27.29. Becoming a member reduced the price to $19.10 or 1 credit. I am currently a Gold Member and pay $14.95 a month to get one credit a month, so the audiobook cost me $14.95.  There are various packages available.  Several times a year members are offered great prices on audiobooks or 2-for-1 deals and such and it costs even less.

With the latest Amazon announcement, it now appears that Amazon and Audible will offer some great prices on the audiobooks if you already own the Kindle Book version.  I did get two of the Hunger Game audiobooks last night for $3.95 each.  This did not show up at first at Audible.com until I got to the payment stage, so make sure you don’t click the final purchase unless it is the price you expected.

There are several news blurbs on both the Audible.com and Amazon.com websites to show some of the Whispersync/partnership details.

My complaint: After the press conference last week, I logged in to Audible.com and they asked me if I wanted to enable the Whispersync features.  I said yes and then was prompted to change my Audible.com username and password to my Amazon.com username and password.  I had no problems with this.  However, I have listened to audiobooks on my iPhone for several hundreds of hours with the free App and had earned all sorts of cool “trophies and awards”. When I went to look for my new audiobooks, I could not get them until I logged in to the app again with my Amazon username.  This took away all my trophies and awards.  It is not a big thing (okay – I’m still pouting a little) – but I would think that if they were able to merge my online account so easily, they could do the same on the iPhone/iPad app.

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