Amazon.com announced Wednesday that it will purchase Brilliance Audio, the country's largest independent audiobook publisher, for an undisclosed sum. Brilliance Audio sells books on audio or MP3-based CD formats and as digital downloads. The purchase follows Amazon's agreement last week to offer DRM-free music downloads. Amazon, which also sells downloadable movies, currently offers about 100,000 audiobooks on its site, of which 1,000 were produced by Brilliance Audio. Amazon's CustomFlix subsidiary, which ships CDs and DVDs, will support audio book formats, allowing publishers to add titles without having to pay up-front inventory costs and to keep books in print that might otherwise have disappeared. Amazon plans to work with publishers to increase the number of books published in audio formats. Last month, Amazon reported a more-than-doubling of Q1 profit as sales surged 32%. Amazon shares hit a 52-week high of $73.31 Wednesday but closed up only $0.12 at $69.00.
Stocks/ETFs to watch: Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN). Competitors: Audible (ADBL), Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS), eBay Inc. (EBAY), Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL). ETFs: Internet HOLDRs (HHH), First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index (FDN), Rydex S&P 500 Pure Growth (RPG)
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