Amazon lets you switch from e-book reading to listening with just a tap

Free Kindle software update might keep prying eyes from reading over your shoulder

If you ever wanted to switch between reading an e-book and listening to it being read -- maybe by a famous actor or the author -- Amazon now has just the thing for you.

Amazon on Tuesday announced a free software update to both Kindle for Android and Kindle for iOS that allows quick switching -- with just a tap -- between reading a Kindle e-book and listening to its companion audiobook from Audible.

Of course, you have to pay for the audio upgrade version, which runs from 99 cents to $3.99, with the top price going for the most popular bestellers in a series.

Professional narration is available for more than 45,000 Kindle books.

The update is designed to help avid readers never have to put down a favorite book, said Amazon Kindle Senior Vice President Russ Grandinetti. Avid readers can start reading at home, get in the car and tap a button to continue listening without losing their place.

Audible CEO Donald Katz said there are a growing number of Whispersync for Voice users who already switch back and forth between reading and listening, and the instant switching ability is expected to be popular.

The new version of the Kindle app is available in the App Store, Google Play and Appstore for Android. Amazon posted a Web page to describe the innovation, along with a cute video depicting a young woman reading a romance novel and then switching to the audio account to prevent another woman on her bus ride to work from reading over her shoulder.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is

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