ONLINE RETAILER Amazon has given the printed book another slap in the face and made a deal with audiobook company Audible to take the actual reading out of the Kindle experience.
Whispersync is a further link between the two companies that sees certain Kindle titles bundled with an audiobook that can take over reading when the user has had enough.
The feature is new to the UK, and the news comes to us via Twitter. A splash webpage on the Amazon UK website glows enthusiastically about it.
"We are pleased to announce Whispersync for Voice, a new way to enjoy your Kindle books," it says.
"You can now read a Kindle book and pick up exactly where you left off with the professionally narrated audiobook from Audible. With more than 25,000 audio companions to choose from, you'll never have to put a good book down."
Amazon is offering a number of titles for free to give users a chance to try it out. We downloaded a version of Dracula by Bram Stoker for the Kindle. Once we had done this we were offered another link to the Audible version.
We were asked what device we would be listening to the content on, and were offered a choice of Kindles, tablets and smartphones. Selecting a smartphone offered a link to the Kindle app on the relevant marketplace, in case we needed one.
Amazon said that there are some 25,000 titles available with an Audible companion. This means that some are not. In many of those cases the audiobook option is the more expensive of the two.
"We're working hard to help customers find more moments each day to enjoy a great book," said Jorrit Van der Meulen, VP of Amazon Kindle Europe.
"Integrating professional narration into our Kindle apps means you never have to put down a favourite book-start reading at home, get in the car and simply tap a button to continue listening without losing your place." µ