September 19, 2008, 12:00 AM

Fast content delivery speeds Simply Audiobooks’ move into digital downloads

It used to take over an hour to download an audiobook, but that dropped to under 10 minutes when Simply Audiobooks employed the content delivery network of CDNetworks.

It used to take over an hour to download an audiobook, but that dropped to under 10 minutes when Simply Audiobooks employed the content delivery network of CDNetworks. Customer cancellation for poor performance fell 10%, and Simply Audiobooks attributes at least half that drop to the faster download times.

Simply Audiobooks, an online retailer that started out by mailing its spoken books to customers the way Netflix mails CDs, has moved into digital downloads of its content. But downloads used to take over an hour for a typical 75-megabyte file.

Since Simply Audiobooks switched its content delivery network to CDNetworks this spring that download time has dropped to under 10 minutes. Customer cancellation for poor performance dropped 10%, and Simply Audiobooks attributes at least half that drop to the faster download times, says Vitaly Petritchkovitch, director of digital technology at the e-retailer.

The change has also improved customer service. Previously, when a customer complained about a problem with a downloaded audiobook, it would take Simply Audiobooks more than an hour just to download a test file, and it would usually be at least a day before the retailer could reply to the customer. “Now within a half hour we can solve the problem,” Petritchkovitch says. “We can do it while they’re on the phone.”

Faster download speeds are important for Simply Audiobooks as it seeks to increase its download business. Downloads now make up 15% of the retailer’s volume, and it is increasing at a faster rate than the mail order business, Petritchkovitch says.

CDNetworks caches the retailer’s audiobook content on its distributed network of servers to speed the download to the customer. CDNetworks, based in South Korea, has about 450 client web site operators worldwide, of which under a third are retailers. The company is making a concerted push into the retail space, says Robert Gribnau, vice president of sales for U.S. and Europe.

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