Audible is launching its first Canadian dedicated service, marking the first time the Amazon subsidiary is launching a bilingual website.

Audible.ca is live as of today, Sept. 13, offering 300,000 audiobooks and other audio content, including 100 new titles from Canadian authors in English and French. What differentiates it from its U.S. counterpart, audible.com, is that now Audible is specifically curated for English speaking and French speaking Canadians.

“A tremendous amount of writers and authors come out of Canada, and we want to recognize Canada as a unique destination with multiple cultures,” said Chris Cooper, head of international at Audible, over the phone with IT World Canada. “We want to really service Canadians with an authentic Canadian approach.”

In order to do that, Audible has specifically curated both the English and French versions of the site so that users won’t just see a translated version of the same page. This is the first time curation by language is being offered in a market, and the company has earmarked $12 million CAD over the next three years to invest in Canadian writers and voices.

“You can go back and forth with ease and just recognize the other cultures. We want to be part of the social fabric and be respectful; be a respectful visitor and resident and realize that there are cultural differences,” said Cooper.

For those who already use audible.com, there won’t be any need to worry about losing any audiobooks that may have already been acquired when switching to the .ca site. And there really isn’t a reason to not switch over and take advantage of the Canadian pricing.

Canadians can get an audible.ca subscription for $14.95 a month that provides one free download each month. Of course, users can also still buy audio books individually. Amazon Prime members will find additional discounts as well.

And to support the new Canadian storefront, the company had brought over its audiobook rights marketplace and production engine called the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) to Canada earlier this summer. This allows authors and publishers to connect with professional actors and producers to create audiobooks, and since launching in June, ACX has added nearly 500 audiobooks from Canadian authors to Audible.

“We are recognizing the strong literary and unique heritage that Canada has. Recognize that it needs to be distinguished and different,” said Cooper.

The launch of a dedicated Canadian service comes at just the right time, as last week Toronto-based Kobo launched its own audiobook service that will feature audiobooks from a range of publishers that Kobo already works with on the e-books front. Similarly, Kobo members can buy audiobooks individually or by subscribing to a monthly service for one download per month.

“We welcome the competition and it improves the overall market,” added Cooper. “We are highly confident that we will bring the highest value and the best experience to all our local Canadian customers and future customers.”

Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn, in an email to IT World Canada said Audible isn’t really new competition since it’s been around since the 1990s. Besides, Kobo has already grappled with the competition posed by Amazon.

“Kindle was the only game in town for eBooks when we started, and yet we grew to be the dominant player in Canada by focusing on Canadian authors and publisher partnerships, and ultimately, Canadian readers,” he said. “We believe there is a huge playing field here for audiobooks.”

Audible.ca is available now. Audiobooks can be purchased individually and a monthly service of $14.95 per month provides a free download each month.

With notes from Brian Jackson



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