Amazon buys audio book publisher Brilliance

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SEATTLE -- Amazon.com said Wednesday it has acquired audio book publisher Brilliance Audio Inc., with the goal of expanding the number of CD or digital audio books it sells.

The companies did not share financial terms of the deal.

Brilliance Audio, a Grand Haven, Mich.-based company, produces audio recordings of books for consumers and libraries, resellers and other book publishers. Its titles are sold on audio or MP3-based CDs and as digital downloads. The company publishes 12 to 15 titles a month, according to its Web site.

Amazon said it will work with the publishing community to increase the overall number of books in audio formats. Currently, Amazon offers about 100,000 audio-format titles on its site, about 1,000 of which are produced by Brilliance Audio.

The online retailer also said its CustomFlix subsidiary, which ships out custom-made CDs and DVDs after consumers place orders, will support audio book formats. This lets publishers and authors add new titles without investing money in inventory up front, and continue sales of titles that would otherwise go out of print.

Amazon spokesman Sean Sundwall said the acquisition is unrelated to the soon-to-launch digital music store the company announced last week.

Amazon said Brilliance Audio will continue to operate independently. Publisher Michael Snodgrass will remain at the helm.

Shares of Amazon set a 52-week high of $73.31 in Wednesday trading, but ended the day just 12 cents above the previous day's close, at $69.



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