Amazon adds Audible Channels, some audiobooks to Prime benefits.

audiblechannels-cropBack in July, Amazon’s Audible launched a new ad-free, short form audio service called Channels. The service offered short form listens that included comedy, news and more. The service was originally offered to Audible subscribers for free and then as a separate subscription service for $4.95 per month.

Today, Amazon has announced free, unlimited access to the Channels service for U.S. Prime members. Also included is a rotating selection of over 50 audiobooks. If you don’t have Prime, Channels is also available to purchase for $4.95 per month ($59.40 yearly).

Programming includes:

  • Presidents are People Too!, a series that transforms U.S. Presidents into real-life people complete with quirks, flaws, triumphs, scandals and bodily ailments, hosted by former “The Daily Show” head writer Elliott Kalan and American historian Alexis Coe

  • Bedtime Stories for Cynics, inappropriate children’s stories for adults only, presented by Nick Offerman of “Parks and Recreation” fame

  • Hold On with Eugene Mirman, in which Mirman pauses funny live stories and gets his special comedian guests, including Jim Gaffigan and “Weird Al” Yankovic to divulge new details

  • Limelight, highlighting the best new standup performances from comedy clubs across the country, with rotating guest hosts such as T. J. Miller, Ron Funches and the Sklar Brothers

  • Lectures from The Great Courses

Channels will also be offering new original programming in the coming months, with some previews and pilot episodes available now:

  • The Butterfly Effect, hosted by Jon Ronson, which explores the question, what happens when we expect things for free?

  • Ponzi Supernova, a fascinating look at Bernard Madoff, the man behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history, featuring exclusive jailhouse interviews with Madoff himself

  • Damned Spot, a series that examines the afterlife of places defined by tragic events

  • West Cork, a true crime series about an unsolved society murder, set on the south coast ofIreland

  • Extra Credit with Neal Pollack, in which the author, musician and comedian takes his 13-year-old son’s education into his own hands, and hilarity ensues

The 50 rotating audiobooks will be offered across nine Prime-exclusive channels. Contents will include:

  • Top-rated audiobooks across a range of genres, such as Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl, Karl Marlantes’ What It Is Like to Go to War, Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook, Anne Lamott’s Stitches and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Alive

  • Celebrity-narrated classics, such as Scarlett Johansson’s performance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Rosamund Pike’s narration of Pride and Prejudice, and a full-cast recording ofDracula, starring Alan Cumming

  • Shared listening experiences for the family, including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Velveteen Rabbit

If you own an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap, you probably already know that Alexa can read audiobooks to you. While today’s press release does not mention Alexa specifically, I am betting that we will see an integration with Channels soon. In Amazon’s What’s New With Alexa newsletter last week, there was mention of two special audiobooks for Alexa to read in September. One of them was Scarlett Johansson’s performance of Alice in Wonderland, so that may hint that Channels my soon be available on the Echo devices.

In order to get Channels, you must a Prime member in the U.S and have the latest version of the Audible app installed.

As a longtime fan of Great Courses material, I really excited to see their content available as part of Channels. How about you? Are you excited about the service?

Amazon

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