July 15, 2008, 12:00 AM

Borders adds digital downloads to its audiobook offerings

Borders.com this week debuted Borders Audiobook Downloads, offering an initial 15,000 titles. The books, music and DVD retailer also is enabling digital audiobook purchases in concept stores.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Borders Group Inc. is moving its audiobook offerings into the digital age, now selling downloads in addition to CDs. The books, music and DVD retailer this week debuted on Borders.com Borders Audiobook Downloads, offering an initial 15,000 titles, including fiction and nonfiction bestsellers, classics, self-help, and children’s books, among other categories.

To introduce the service, Borders is offering a free download of Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild” between July 15 and July 19. In addition, 15 titles are being offered at the discounted price of $9.95 through July 22. These include: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote, “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury and “The Appeal” by John Grisham.

The multi-channel retailer plans to add hundreds of new audiobook titles every week. Digital audiobook distributor OverDrive provides both the inventory and the underlying technology for the new Borders.com service.

In addition to offering the new audiobook download service on Borders.com, the audiobook download service is now available in Borders’ new concept stores where it is provided via self-serve computer stations within specially designated digital centers in the stores. Borders will have 14 concept stores nationwide by the end of 2008; 10 are in operation now.

“With the launch of Borders Audiobook Downloads on Borders.com, the availability of the download service in our concept stores, and the option to buy audiobooks on CD, we are giving customers the ability to enjoy this form of entertainment in a variety of formats including the universally compatible MP3 format,” says Kevin Ertell, senior vice president of e-business for Borders Group.

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