October 10, 2007, 12:00 AM

Audible and Harlequin torridly embrace audio romance

Web-only audio content retailer Audible.com and Harlequin Enterprises have launched a program enabling subscribers to download two romance novels per month.

Audible Inc., a web-only retailer whose e-commerce site Audible.com specializes in spoken audio entertainment, information and educational programming, and Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., publisher of series romance and women’s fiction, have launched the Harlequin AudibleListener Plan. Available at Audible.com/Harlequin, the plan enables subscribers to download two romance titles per month for $9.95, about the same as the paperbacks cost but without a shipping fee or leaving home.

The listener plan provides subscribers two new titles from the Harlequin Blaze imprint each month. Membership also offers access to more than 180 Harlequin audiobooks, produced by and available only through Audible, as well as access to sales on other romance titles and more than 140,000 hours of additional programs available at Audible.com.

The partnership marks the first time Audible, No. 125 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has created a branded subscription plan for a print publisher. As further incentive to join, Audible is offering a $79.99 MP3 player for $29.99.

Audible is a key partner in Harlequin’s strategy to provide stories to customers in the format they desire, says Brent Lewis, director of Internet & digital at Harlequin. “Audio is a great way for women to read more while juggling a busy life and stretch their reading time,” Lewis says.

The tales of love and lust can be downloaded to PCs, Macs and many handheld devices and smart phones, Audible says.

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