Audio Book Club Swallows Competitor Audiobooks Direct

Audio Book Club (AMEX: KLB), which sells audio books on its Web site and via direct mail, announced Monday that it has agreed to buy competitor Audiobooks Direct, a division of Doubleday Direct. Audio Book Club says Audiobooks Direct has a member file of more than 450,000 names, bringing Audio Book Club’s total member and customer database to approximately 2 million.

Companies Will Co-Market Products

Under the terms of the deal, Audio Book Club and Doubleday will created a co-branded site, co-market each other’s products, and cross-promote the other’s Web sites, including Doubleday’s Books Online page.

“We believe that today’s agreement provides both companies the unique opportunity to combine their expertise in order to reach new customers,” said Markus Wilhelm, president and CEO of Doubleday Direct. “In particular, we are delighted to join with Audio Book Club on the advancement of our Internet sales and marketing campaign and look forward to working together on the creation of what is certain to be a unique Web site.”

Audio Book Club Gets Access to Mailing List

The agreement also includes a joint marketing arrangement that gives Audio Book Club the right to solicit new members through Doubleday’s more than 30 consumer and professional book clubs. Audio Book Club says Doubleday has approximately 14 million members that receive book-club mailings.

This is the second major acquisition for Audio Book Club this year. The company purchased Columbia House’s audio books unit in January.

The latest move “marks the culmination of our recent efforts to become the central player in the audio book club industry,” said Norton Herrick, chairman and CEO of Audio Book Club. “The acquisition of Audiobooks Direct, coupled with our recent purchase of Columbia House’s audio book division, has positioned us as the world’s leading audio book seller via the Internet and direct mail.”

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