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BMW integrates books to go, with bookmarks and Kindle synching

BMW integrates books to go, with bookmarks and Kindle synching

It’s amazing what you can find out from an auto show. This year, in the course of covering the New York International Auto Show, we came across some exciting electronics news: Readers no longer need commit to a book format the whole time they’re reading, even when behind the wheel.

Audible.com, now owned by Amazon, has teamed up with BMW to develop an in-car app that works with BMW’s iDrive system to give drivers an easier way to control their audio books. BMW drivers will now be able to access content from Audible, Pandora, MOG radio, Stitcher, Rhapsody, TuneIn, and Glympse, by plugging a smart phone into a dock connector available for all new BMW models or by plugging the device into the car via USB. Access to BMW apps comes standard on the 5, 6, and 7 Series, and on the X5 and X6. It’s a $650 option available on most other BMWs.

In the course of presenting and demonstrating the app, Audible CTO Guy Story announced that his company’s audio books will now work with Amazon’s eBooks to bookmark the last place you were reading or listening, even when you change formats and devices. The companies call the bookmarking technology Whispersync for Voice.

Visit our 2013 New York Auto Show special section for photos, videos, and profiles.

You have to buy both the Kindle eBook and the Audible book, but if you buy the eBook first, you get a deep discount on the Audible book, Story says. Many Audible books cost an additional $5 after the discount.

For example, if you buy Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” from Amazon, you can get the audio book, narrated by Claire Danes, from Audible for $4.99.

Whispersync for Voice works with the Audible app on Android and Apple devices, and with any version of the Kindle or Kindle app. With integrated smart-phone apps proliferating throughout the automotive landscape, expect such native abilities to appear in more cars in the near future. (Read: “New York Auto Show: BMW adds Internet radio to new and recent cars.”)

Being able to listen to the same book in the car that you’re reading at home, without interruptions to find the page you were listening to, should make it easier to keep up with your latest reading list. (See our e-book reader buying advice and Ratings.)

See our complete 2013 New York Auto Show coverage, plus highlights at CRCars.tumblr.com.

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