Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Audio books for children: the list that's hard to find

Audio books are more effective than sleeping gas for quieting our kids in the car. Since I figured out how to use iTunes and Missing Sync for BlackBerry to put AAC files on my wife's Pearl I want to buy some more.

Of course I can't go to audible.com or the iTunes store or any of the obvious sources. The DRM makes these options unacceptable. I need a CD.

Surprisingly, Amazon doesn't have a unique collection. Google didn't help much either, though it pointed to a nice Kidsreads.com review.

Meaning, I had to actually think of a source rather than using Amazon and Google. I guessed a competing book seller might have taken a more thoughtful approach.

The great answer is the Barnes and Noble Children's Audio Collection. Today it shows 733 items, linking together the printed, CD and cassette versions.

So why'd Amazon miss this one? Is it because they have a growing business selling DRMd audio books? Is it because they rely too much on automated algorithms? Is it a sign that they've moved so far from their bookish origins that their original market is in play?

I clearly need to pay more attention to the B&N web site. Competition is good.

1/31/08: Amazon just bought Audible. I suspect their lack of an "audio book" CD catalog was not related to this acquisition, but it doesn't give them much incentive to push CD audio books.

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