Press Releases

February 8, 2011 - Simply Audiobooks Donates Funds to Books for Kids Charity

During the past holiday season, Simply Audiobooks raised enough money for the Books for Kids charity that allowed an entire Books for Kids library to be restocked with new books. The campaign enabled customers to choose the option of donating to charity at checkout with the purchase of a gift certificate. Simply Audiobooks donated 10% of the gift value, on the customer’s behalf, to the Books for Kids charity.

The funds raised will not only restock an entire library, but will also allow Books for Kids to give away a collection of take home books for low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children served by that library. Simply Audiobooks is thrilled to give back to a charity that strives to promote literacy and help children who do not have adequate access to books.

As literacy remains a prominent issue, it’s vital that we address the fundamental value of literacy at a young age in order to protect the academic future of a child. With 85% of our core personality traits, our intellect, social skills, developed at the age of 5, it is crucial to support a child’s growth. Ian Small, Brand Manager of Simply Audiobooks, believes “the power of storytelling goes beyond solely being entertained by a good story. It is a well-known fact that those who are read too have larger vocabularies and even higher cognitive skills than their peers.”

Being a part of something that emphasizes the core values of literacy and having Simply Audiobooks customers feel the same way, highlights a special community that is dedicated to creating a solid foundation for future academic success. Simply Audiobooks is proud to be a part of this giving community.

About Books for Kids
Books for Kids is a charitable organization that promotes literacy among all children with special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and partners up with literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life. Books for Kids is located in New York, New York.

About Simply Audiobooks
Simply Audiobooks provides the best online audio book rental service, which includes books on CD for sale and download. Simply Audiobooks Inc. launched in 2003 and since then has revolutionized access to audio books by offering rentals to both the United States and Canada. Simply Audiobooks is a privately held company with offices in Toronto, Buffalo and Las Vegas.

Media Contact:
Alessandra Paola
(905) 469-5638

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December 16, 2010 - The Gift of Audio Books - Simply Audiobooks Launches a Rewarding Holiday Campaign

In the spirit of giving, Simply Audiobooks has launched a holiday campaign that can turn any purchase into a charitable one. From Dec. 1st until Dec. 31st, when an eligible gift is purchased, purchasers can choose to have Simply Audiobooks donate 10% of the gift value to charity.

With the potential funds raised being donated to multiple charities, Simply Audiobooks is looking towards their purchasers to help select the charities that mean most to them.

A survey will be sent out at the end of the promotion, for those who chose the charity option at checkout, to determine what charity buyers would like Simply Audiobooks to donate to.

“The holiday campaign is really about giving,” says Lee Chesworth, Simply Audiobooks CEO. “Whether it’s giving to the less fortunate or giving a little something extra to yourself or to someone you know. It’s an opportunity to rediscover the joy of giving and sharing great stories.”

With the season’s holiday bonus being all about giving back, gift purchasers can opt to choose a free gift for themselves. They can choose to receive a free one month rental or download gift subscription that they can personally keep or send to someone special.

About Simply Audiobooks
Simply Audiobooks provides the best online audio book rental service, which includes books on CD for sale and download. Simply Audiobooks Inc. launched in 2003 and since then has revolutionized access to audio books by offering rentals to both the United States and Canada. Simply Audiobooks is a privately held company with offices in Toronto, Buffalo and Las Vegas.

Media Contact:
Alessandra Paola
(905) 469-5638

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June 1, 2009 - Simply Audiobooks Named in the 21st annual PROFIT 100

TORONTO, ON -- (June 1, 2009) –Simply Audiobooks, North America’s top source for audio books, is pleased to announce that it has been ranked 48 in the 21st annual PROFIT 100 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by PROFIT Magazine.

Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the PROFIT 100 profiles the country’s most successful growth companies. Published in the June issue of PROFIT and online at, the PROFIT 100 is Canada’s largest annual celebration of entrepreneurial achievement.

PROFIT reported that Simply Audiobooks’ revenues increased over 1590% during the five-year period reviewed by the magazine. This remarkable rate of growth reflects Simply Audiobooks’ position as a market leader in the audio book industry.

“We’re excited to be recognized on this list in our very first year of eligibility,” says Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. “With us reaching the Profit Hot 50 list and our Ernest & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in recent years, this is our ‘hat trick’ for a Canadian entrepreneurial company.”

“The PROFIT 100 are an inspiration to entrepreneurs at all stages of growth, from startup to major corporation,” says Ian Portsmouth, editor of PROFIT. “Their business practices and product innovations are exemplary of how businesses can succeed in uncertain times.”

Be sure to check out the short sidebar about Simply Audiobooks’s unconventional and engaging hiring practices, also featured in the 21st annual PROFIT 100 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by PROFIT Magazine.

About PROFIT Magazine:
PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success, is Canada’s preeminent publication dedicated to the management issues and opportunities facing small and mid-sized businesses. For more than 25 years, Canadian entrepreneurs across a vast array of economic sectors have remained loyal to PROFIT because it’s a timely and reliable source of actionable information that helps them increase their revenues, boost their profitability and get the recognition they deserve for generating positive economic and social change. Published six times a year by Rogers Publishing Ltd., PROFIT is distributed almost exclusively to the chief executives of companies with 5 to 250 employees and annual revenue of $1 million to $25 million, reaching 306,000 readers across Canada. Visit PROFIT online at

About Simply Audiobooks:
Simply Audiobooks is North America's top audio book source, offering the most comprehensive range of online services with unlimited rentals, sales and direct downloads. Launched in 2003, the company offers the world’s largest audio book rental program. It was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees. Simply Audiobooks now offers direct downloads in MP3 and encrypted WMA files. The company has offices in Toronto,ON, Buffalo, NY and Las Vegas, NV. Learn more at .

Media Contact:

November 21, 2008 - How To Get Audiobooks On The Cheap

Simply Audiobooks is the answer for the avid audio book enthusiast on a budget.

In today's current financial environment of doom and gloom the majority of us are very mindful of our expenditures. Simply Audiobooks is too. That is why they have always been a forerunner in the industry, providing audio book enthusiasts a way to save money while still enjoying the audio books they love.

Since the launch of Simply Audiobooks in 2003, it has become the largest pure audio book company in the world. The company's offerings extend further, offering books on tape and compact disc (CD) as well as titles that can be downloaded.

No other audio book company offers as many options for obtaining audio books.

Rental: Compact disc.

Purchase: Compact disc, Download, Cassette.

Download: Mp3, DRM free.

Renting is Cost Effective

Renting is a very popular option for many as it is the most cost-effective method of listening to audio books on a regular basis. Subscribing to the rental club allows you to choose from over 11,000 titles. This means you will be able to listen to an unlimited number of audio books every month for less than the average purchase cost of just one audio book at regular price.

Save Even More - Prepaid Membership Option

Simply Audiobooks has now introduced another option to reduce the cost of renting audio books. If you prepay your membership you will be able to enjoy a substantial savings over the monthly recurring cost. This is an investment that will pay you back with more audio books to enjoy at a lower price!

Rental Club (Audio Books Mailed to You)

Books at a Time Annual Plans* Monthly Plans Savings / yr.
1 $15 $17.98 $35.76
2 $22 $26.98 $59.76
3 $34 $37.98 $47.76
4 $43 $47.98 $59.76

Download Club

Books / Month Annual Plans* Monthly Plans Savings / yr.
1 $13 $14.95 $23.40
2 $22 $24.95 $35.40
3 $28 $31.95 $47.76

Download Club for Instant Gratification

There is nothing like the instant gratification of having something when you want it. That is what you will get from the Download Club. Simply choose your titles and with Simply Audiobooks accelerated download times (CDNetworks’ content delivery services) you'll be listening to your next book within 10 minutes in most cases!

Simply Audiobooks download section is the second largest source for downloadable audio books. It boasts in excess of 8000 titles with more being added daily. A large and growing component of the audio book content catalog is now in a DRM-free format. That means there are no use restrictions, which frees up the variety of digital media playback devices you can use to play the audio books. This includes any mp3 player, iPhone, smart phone, iPod, and etc. to mention but a few.

Rest Easy - No Penalties if You Cancel

Prepaid members may cancel their subscription at any time without penalty. Cancellation during a month will be recalculated at the monthly rate and any remaining money on a prepaid membership will be fully refunded.

Rental plans also allow you to listen to as many books as you wish. The only caveat to this is the number of titles allowed out at any one time, which will vary with each individual plan.

When you have finished listening, return the titles to Simply Audiobooks, using the prepaid return packaging supplied, and your next audio book will be shipped to you immediately.

Non Members Benefit from Periodic Promotions and Discounts

Non subscribers to the downloaded and rental services are also entitled to periodic promotions and discounts for select books, services, and giveaways!

No Formal Agreements

With both the Unlimited Rental and Download Clubs, there is no requirement to enter into any formal agreement whatsoever. You may cancel your subscription plan at any time.

Simply Audiobooks has demonstrated its ability to grow and expand by constantly improving its services while maintaining the best prices on the best selection of audio books available. With 20,000 unique titles in 30 different categories and a myriad of various options for buying, downloading or renting, the company has grown rapidly and has fast become a major force in the industry.

Reviewed by Michelle Murillo of CommuniCreations, a team of award-winning corporate copywriters for print, broadcast, digital and the Internet. They also specialize in special projects and web design where creativity is key.

September 18, 2008 - CDNetworks Accelerates Simply Audiobooks-- 10 Times Faster Downloads

San Jose, CA – September 18, 2008 – CDNetworks (KOSDAQ: 073710) a top-three global, full-service content delivery network (CDN), today announced that Simply Audiobooks has selected CDNetworks to provide 10 times acceleration in the fulfillment of book downloads for its e-commerce website. CDNetworks is providing accelerated file download and content delivery security with its robust Media Authentication service.

Simply Audiobooks, called “the Netflix of Audiobooks” by the Boston Globe, offers 20,000 unique titles in 30 categories for customers to buy, rent, or download online. CDNetworks’ downloading service has dramatically improved the Simply Audiobooks end-user’s downloading experience compared to its previous CDN service provider. CDNetworks-accelerated downloads are ten times faster, improving download throughput by a factor 10. With a typical book file size of 75MB, the time for an end user at home to download a book has dropped from 100 minutes to under 10 minutes. In addition, the CDNetworks Media Authentication technology assigns access privileges that prevent unauthorized users from accessing the content.

"The key to providing great content is the speed at which you can deliver that content. Our members asked and we listened. We had a mission to deliver any audio book in under 10 minutes, and CDNetworks made this possible." said Vitaly Petritchkovitch, Director of Digital Technology of Simply Audiobooks. “CDNetworks’ content delivery services have dramatically improved the downloading experience for our customers, which will translate into a significant impact on our bottom line revenue. We’ve seen a 12% decrease in subscriber churn, relating to download technical issues and speed, in the past couple of months, which I attribute CDNetworks. In addition, CDNetworks’ technology has allowed us to streamline our delivery from the publishers to the customers, so that we can get products to customers faster, which keeps us ahead of our competitors.”

“Simply Audiobooks, the largest pure audio book company in the world and the second largest source for downloading audio books, is leveraging CDNetworks leading edge solutions to deliver both its commerce website and digital content downloading to online customers,” said Simon Lee, CEO of CDNetworks US. “We are excited about working closely with Simply Audiobooks to help them ensure the highest possible quality end-user experience for its online customers.”

About Simply Audiobooks :
Simply Audiobooks is North America's top audio book source, offering the most comprehensive range of online services with unlimited rentals, sales and direct downloads. Launched in 2003, the company offers the world’s largest audio book rental program. It was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees. Simply Audiobooks now offers direct downloads in open-standard and encrypted WMA files. The company has offices in Toronto, Buffalo, and Las Vegas.

August 5, 2008 - Simply Audiobooks Unveils New Audio Book Purchase Option

TORONTO, ONTARIO - (DATE) - Simply Audiobooks, the second largest source for download audio books, announced today that it is now offering audio books for sale from its online e-store at The new purchase option, available on over 8,000 download titles and 20,000 CD or tape titles, gives audio book lovers a new alternative to rentals or subscription-based downloads for gift-giving, or simply as a way to enjoy their favorite audio books over and over again.

To celebrate its new audio book purchase capability, Simply Audiobooks is offering purchasers 10% off all CD and cassette audio book purchases. The company will continue to offer its existing selection of audio books for download or CD rental or on a subscription basis, as it always has.

“Although our subscription-based rental and download programs are still the best option for the frequent audio book listener, we recognize some individuals simply wish to make a single purchase, either for themselves or as a gift,” said Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. “Our new purchase option allows audio book lovers to add personal favorites to their library, or to try an audio book with no further obligation. It’s an easy and reliable way to buy one, two, ten or more of the best audio book titles around, any time they wish.”

Depending on the selection, Simply Audiobooks customers may now buy each audio book in their choice of CD or cassette versions, or to download directly to their iPod or MP3 player. Purchasing is easy—just click on the “Buy” button from the company’s home page. Customers can toggle between the purchasing and subscription portions of the site from any page.

To make buying even easier, no Simply Audiobooks membership is required—although rental and download subscribers will periodically receive “members only” promotions or discounts on select books. Audio book purchase prices are competitive with bricks-and-mortar stores, with some beginning as low as $1.95 each.

As the largest pure audio book company in the world, Simply Audiobooks is the only retailer anywhere to offer customers multiple options through which to obtain audio books: rental, purchase and download. Currently the Internet retailer offers more than 12,000 audio books for rental, spanning over 100 categories. Thousands of those are also available for download over the Web.

Simply Audiobooks can be enjoyed via subscription-based download from $11.95 per month or as a CD rental from $15 per month. For more information, please visit

About Simply Audiobooks:
Simply Audiobooks is North America's top audio book source, offering the most comprehensive range of online services with unlimited rentals, sales and direct downloads. Launched in 2003, the company offers the world’s largest audio book rental program. It was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees. Simply Audiobooks now offers direct downloads in open-standard and encrypted WMA files. The company has offices in Toronto, Buffalo, and Las Vegas.

July 15, 2008 - Simply Audiobooks Takes Lead In Offerings Of DRM-Free Audio Book Titles For Any MP3 Device

TORONTO, ONTARIO - (July 8th, 2008) - Simply Audiobooks, the second largest source for download audio books, announced today that it will be offering a large catalog of audio book titles in DRM-free format. The new titles can be played on a wide range of devices, from iPods to smartphones, without embedded use restrictions. One thousand titles are already available and over 4,000 more are expected by the end of the summer, with hundreds of new ones being announced each week. Now users can download their favorite audio book title as an MP3 file and play it virtually anywhere in DRM-free format.

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, embeds usage limitations onto CDs and discs. Such limitations can restrict or prevent the use of digital files on a variety of digital media. The growing trend toward DRM-free formatting is changing this situation, extending audio book playback capabilities to any MP3 Player, smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile Phones), GPS receivers, satellite radio receivers from both Sirius (stiletto) and XM. DRM-free audio books can also be burned to CD and then played in a car stereo or CD player.

“DRM-free technology offers incredible versatility and compatibility with numerous player devices,” said Vitaly Petritchkovitch, Director of Digital Technology at Simply Audiobooks. “Since last year, Simply Audiobooks has been leading the charge in making DRM-free titles available to audio book lovers. With this exclusive breakthrough, listeners can play today’s most popular books on just about any device, anywhere.”

Petritchkovitch said Simply Audiobooks plans to continue releasing titles throughout the summer, with more than 6,000 DRM-free audio books in stock by the fall. “Initially the new DRM-free titles will be available exclusively to Simply Audiobooks Download Club members, but a-la-carte download sales should be available later this summer,” he added.

Petritchkovitch commented that Simply Audiobooks is committed to DRM-free audio book content, and encourages publishers to embrace the technology. “Consumers should have the choice of whatever audio book title they prefer as well as their choice of a playback device that suits their listening pleasure,” he stated.

As the largest pure audio book company in the world, Simply Audiobooks is the only retailer anywhere to offer customers multiple options through which to obtain audio books: rental, purchase and download. Currently the Internet retailer offers more than 12,000 audio books for rental, spanning over 100 categories. Thousands of those are also available for download over the Web. The company’s 8,000 DRM titles can be played on PlaysForSure compatible players ( and Windows Mobile smartphones. They can also be burned to a CD and played in CD players and car stereos.

Simply Audiobooks can be purchased via download from $11.95 per month or as a CD rental from $15 per month. For more information, please visit

About Simply Audiobooks: Simply Audiobooks is North America's top audio book source, offering the most comprehensive range of online services with unlimited rentals, sales and direct downloads. Launched in 2003, the company offers the world’s largest audio book rental program. It was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees. Simply Audiobooks now offers direct downloads in open-standard and encrypted WMA files. The company has offices in Toronto, Buffalo, and Las Vegas.

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Press Contact: Heather Boag, PR Associate

October 12, 2007 - Simply Audiobook’s new downtown Toronto Store opens in style

Toronto, Ontario — October 12, 2007. Simply Audiobooks made a splash in downtown Toronto last week with the grand opening of their first Canadian audio book store that featured a VIP party; a number of special guests and a book reading by award-winning science fiction writer, Robert J. Sawyer.

The new store, located on 350 Bay Street in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, was previously known as “Spoken Word Audiobooks”. After being acquired by Simply Audiobooks in 2006, it underwent a complete renovation before its re-opening last week.

At the VIP in-store reception, there was a diverse crowd in attendance which included Sean Neville, Simply Audiobooks’s CEO. The 1000 sq foot store made for great mingling, with guests able to peruse areas designated to business, comedy, self-improvement and biographical audiobooks. Robert J. Sawyer read from his new book “Rollback” while The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne, hosted a wine tasting event to celebrate their upcoming audiobook "One Sip At A Time" which will also be published by Simply Audiobooks later this year.

“This event proved to be an outstanding success and shows there is a growing interest in audiobooks,” added Sharron Jones, Retail Project Manager at Simply Audiobooks, “the new store offers consumers a venue to not only buy but also rent and download their favorite audiobooks.”

The Toronto store is the first of a number of retail outlets scheduled as part of future expansion, with the next Simply Audiobooks store due to open later this year in New York.

Next time you’re in downtown Toronto, be sure to check out Simply Audiobooks’s new Bay Street store, open Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 7:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

For more information, call us toll free at 1-888-776-5362

October 3, 2007 - Simply Audiobooks Named as One of Canada’s Emerging Growth Companies

Simply Audiobooks Named as One of Canada’s Emerging Growth Companies

Listed in Eighth Annual 2007 PROFIT HOT 50 Ranking of Fastest Growing Businesses in Canada

Oakville, ON — October 3rd, 2007 — For the second year in a row Simply Audiobooks has been named as one of Canada’s Emerging Growth Companies as part of the 2007 PROFIT HOT 50 ranking published each year by PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success. The PROFIT HOT 50 is the definitive ranking of Canada’s Emerging Growth Companies. Published in the October issue of PROFIT magazine and online at, the PROFIT HOT 50 ranks young firms by two-year revenue growth. Simply Audiobooks was ranked at #36 in the PROFIT HOT 50 list this year.

“The PROFIT HOT 50 companies point the way to start up success in Canada,” says PROFIT editor Ian Portsmouth. “PROFIT is proud to share their business strategies and celebrate their entrepreneurial achievements.”

“We are proud to be included again in the PROFIT HOT 50 rankings,” said Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. “Our success rests on our commitment to providing our customers with the most convenient access to a wide range of audio books at a reasonable fee, both for rental, download, and purchase.”

As the leading pure audiobook retailer, Simply Audiobooks offers the most comprehensive range of online services with unlimited rentals, sales and direct downloads. Launched in 2003, the company offers the world’s largest audio book rental program, and was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees. Simply Audiobooks now offers audio books on tape or CD for purchase, as well as direct downloads in open-standard encrypted WMA files.

The complete list of this year’s rankings: click here

About Simply Audiobooks Simply Audiobooks offers consumers the most comprehensive range of audio books, with unlimited rental, sales and direct download programs. Launched in 2003, Simply Audiobooks was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees (similar to Netflix’s DVD rental model). The company has offices in Toronto, Buffalo, Las Vegas, New York and Manchester. For more information visit

September 25, 2007 - Simply Audiobooks Now Supports DRM-Free Audio Books

Oakville, Ontario — September 25, 2007 — Simply Audiobooks, the second largest player in the audio book download market, after Audible/iTunes, today announced that they now support DRM-free (digital rights management-free) audio book content and plan to eventually become altogether DRM-free.

Making Simply Audiobooks DRM-free will greatly enhance the audio book experience for consumers who want to be able to load files onto whichever playing devices they may own. DRM can be a nightmare for consumers. Simply Audiobooks wants to give its customers freedom of choice when it comes to enjoying content on their audio book players.

This move comes on the heels of eMusic’s recent announcement that they have begun offering audio books in mp3 format that will play on all devices, with no DRM restrictions. This action taken by eMusic offers further evidence of a consumer-driven change in the audio book marketplace that Simply Audiobooks has already stepped up to meet.

“It’s exciting to see the audio book industry moving toward offering DRM-free content,” said Vitaly Petritchkovitch, Director of Simply Audiobooks Digital. “Simply Audiobooks has always been about access to more audio books, with our CD rental, tape, and download offers. DRM is a thing of the past, and our move toward DRM-free content will make audio books more accessible for everyone. We are glad to see that companies like eMusic are beginning to offer DRM free audio book content now.”

Petritchkovitch added that Simply Audiobooks’ competitors, most notably, are coming down on the wrong side of technological history by continuing to tie their service inflexibly to DRM audio files. “Being controlled like that is simply not what our customers want, and we are among the first to respond to consumers’ demand for DRM-free content.”

For further information about Simply Audiobooks, please visit

January 19, 2007 - Top-Shelf Audio Book Provider

One visit to the Simply Audiobooks website and it’s clear, this is a company that caters to the needs of its members and in doing so, has achieved enviable online success.

Launched in 2003, revolutionized access to audio books online by offering unlimited rentals to both the United States and Canada with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees.

The site boasts a clean, crisp, professional look, expertly organized into categories such as “Find Books,” “My Options,” and a sure-fire favorite, “My Rental Shelf.”

While navigating to information about the company is a real breeze, this information takes a back seat to the information members really want to access – such as information about the latest audio books, audio book reviews, their personal favorites and orders, and more.

Undoubtedly, this is just one reason why Simply Audiobooks now has nearly 35,000 members enrolled, clearly demonstrating that it is a top-pick on the Internet.

In fact, with offices now in Toronto, Canada; Buffalo, NY; Las Vegas, NV; and Manchester, United Kingdom, Simply Audiobooks has been named one of the Top 50 Retailers on the Net and recently ranked 6th on PROFIT’s “HOT 50” list of Canada’s fastest emerging companies.

The site’s virtual library of audio books has shelves stocked like no other, with more than 30,000 titles to choose from, in 30 different categories.

Additionally, members can choose from the Audio Book Rental Club (for less than $12 a month) or the Audio Book Download Club (for less than $10 a month) and can even opt to purchase audio books at reduced rates, further demonstrating Simply Audiobooks’ unwavering commitment to meeting its member’s needs.

Members can quickly and effortlessly find audio books by typing in the author’s name, book title, or even just descriptive keywords. The audio books are rated by other members, providing a great tool for users to rely on when they are undecided about ordering, downloading, or even purchasing a particular audio book.

And speaking of tools, members also have access to frequently updated audio book news, reviews, and even advice on how to start their own audio book club.

There are supporting articles on every topic imaginable and an engaging message board where members and non-members can access expert and amateur opinions about the best and the worst of audio book listening.

Even for those unsure about ordering online or maybe not so confident in their Internet skills, navigating around this site is a breeze and getting exactly where you want to go takes just a quick second or two even for “newbies.”

Check-out is a cinch and shopping online with is completely safe and secure.

In summary, the website is well thought out, well organized, and a dream come true for anyone interested in audio books.

Reviewed by Kellie Fowler, an award-winning professional Internet copywriter and owner of Kellie has written for Associated Press and reputable business magazines and regularly reviews websites, products, books and more, with her reviews posted on the Internet and published in print media worldwide. You can reach Kellie at

January 17, 2007 - Rental Audio Books Are Finally Taking Off

(Copyright © 2007 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved)

I like to keep up with all the new book titles coming out.

There’s not enough time in the day to sit and read a book. So, I walk and listen to a book. Or I drive and listen to a book. But instead of going to buy audio books, which cost more than the paper version, I rent them from a store in the Bay St. financial district, Spoken Word.

Recently, I found a brochure on the counter for Simply Audiobooks in Oakville.

“Why are you advertising a rival company?” I asked the owner, James Axworthy.

“They bought us out. Now we’re part of their business,” he said. “Its an interesting story.”

Sean Neville, who started Simply Audiobooks with Sanjay Singhal in 2003, was working downtown and renting audio books from Spoken Word. As a long distance commuter, he saw opportunity in the cars surrounding him on the highway. His idea was to rent audio books online, using the DVD rental model used by in the United States and in Canada.

For monthly fees ranging from $11.95 to $36.95, you get access to about 10,000 titles. Shipping to and from your home is free, with no due dates or late fees.

If you prefer to download books to your Apple iPod or MP3 player (or a CD you burn yourself), you can lower the fees to $9.95 for one download a month under an annual plan.

“Our effective price is about $5 per title”, says Singhal. “About 70 per cent of our customers are in their cars. They tend to listen a lot. As traffic and commutes get worse, we do better. But when gas prices got higher, we did worse. And car pooling is very bad for us.”

With 22,000 subscribers, Simply Audiobooks ships out 18,000 cardboard envelopes a week. Netflix Inc. has 5.7 million subscribers, according to its website, while Zip has 32,000 subscribers.

Increasing the awareness of audio books is a big challenge for Singhal and Neville, who both have MBAs from Cornell University.

The pair hadn’t seen each other for a long time when they met at a business meeting several years ago. The two exchanged cards and had lunch together.

Neville wanted to start a business renting audio books online. Singhal liked the idea and decided to invest.

“We became partners the same day,” he says. “We hired our first employees in April 2003 and put up our website by July 1.”

The company almost went bankrupt in its first year, however. Canadians simply didn’t rent audio books, except for free from the public library, and didn’t trust online commerce.

Many people weren’t even aware of books on tape. People thought the market was only for the blind and visually impaired.

“We had to open an office in the United States. That’s what saved the company,” says Singhal, who is chair and chief marketing officer (with Neville as his chief executive officer).

Today, 95 per cent of Simply Audiobooks clients are in the United States, 4 per cent are in Canada and 1 per cent in Britain.

“Rentals are unheard of” in Britain, Singhal says. “We’re the first to enter the British market.”

The company had sales of $4.1 millions (U.S) in 2005 and just under $6 million last year.

The company ranked sixth on Profit Magazine’s list of 50 fastest growing companies, published last October, with revenues increasing by more than 2,000 per cent during a three- year period.

Singhal boasts that his firm is bigger than all its rivals combined (such as and

Spoken Word on Bay St., which is keeping the old name until the landlord allows a change, has 18,000 subscribers on record. About 2,000 rent steadily from month to month.

“Business titles are consistently about 15 per cent of what we do,” says Axworthy, who has been with the store since it opened 12 years ago, and bought out the original owner, Graham Coxon.

“Fiction is big, and classics are huge, such as new translations of the Odyssey and the Iliad. Poetry, history, and biography are also popular.”

Why did he sell?

“I wanted to see what people with business minds would do,” he says. “I have a liberal arts degree and a degree in architecture. How I ended up selling audio books I don’t know. I figured I could learn a lot from the MBAs, and they could learn a lot from someone who is a fan of the medium.”

Can niche market turn into a mass market? Can online book rentals catch up to DVD rentals? Simply Audiobooks, with offices in Toronto, Buffalo, Las Vegas, and Manchester, will be there to help speed the trend.

Ellen Roseman’s column appears Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Credit: Toronto Star

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

September 27, 2006 - Simply Audiobooks a Top 10 Company.

Toronto, ON (PRWEB) September 27, 2006 -- Simply Audiobooks, North America’s top source for audio books, is pleased to announce that it has been ranked 6th on PROFIT’s seventh annual “PROFIT HOT 50" list of Canada's fastest emerging growth companies in 2006.

PROFIT reported that Simply Audiobooks’ revenues increased over 2000% during the three-year period reviewed by the magazine. This ranking reflects Simply Audiobooks Inc.’s position as a market leader in the audio book industry.

The PROFIT HOT 50 is the definitive ranking of emerging Canadian companies. The PROFIT HOT 50 ranks emerging firms by growth rates during the time period of 2003-2005 based upon revenues, revenue growth during the period, profit margin and employees in order to establish their rankings. The rankings demonstrate the efforts and entrepreneurial spirit of Canada’s young companies.

Simply Audiobooks, a Toronto-based company, saw it’s revenue soar from $170,000 in 2003 to nearly $5 million by the end of 2005.

“The past three years have been very exiting for our team," says Simply Audiobooks CEO, Sean Neville. “We have provided unprecedented convenience and access to audio books for consumers throughout North America, and the response has been overwhelming. We are very grateful for their continued confidence in us as North America's leading source for audio books. Combined with our product offering in the United Kingdom, we believe that the hyper-growth will continue as we evolve into to the worldwide source for audio books.”

“The PROFIT HOT 50 companies represent the ambition, sophistication and immense contributions of Canada’s entrepreneurial sector,” says Ian Portsmouth, Editor of PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success. “PROFIT is proud to celebrate the success of these businesses and to share their growth strategies.”

The seventh annual PROFIT HOT 50 ranking is published in the October 2006 issue of PROFIT and is available online at

About PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success
PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success, offers news, strategies, tips, interviews and other resources to the CEO’s of Canadian growth companies. Each year PROFIT, which currently reaches more than 370,000 readers nationally, hosts a number of events that bring together business leaders in the fast-growth segment and champions the interests of those leaders. PROFIT was founded in April 1982 as Canada’s first national magazine geared to entrepreneurs. Visit

September 4, 2006 - Simply Audiobooks Removes Controversial "Bush" Billboards

Toronto, ON (PRWEB) September 4, 2006 – Simply Audiobooks, North America’s top source for audio books, announced today that it will be pulling its “George Bush – Don’t Read Enough?” campaign from billboards throughout Toronto. The campaign was designed to underscore the convenience of audio books, using tongue-in-cheek humour. However, Sanjay Singhal, Simply Audiobooks’ Chief Marketing Officer states, “The campaign was intended to be humorous. It was never intended to be an international political statement, and when a few people began interpreting it that way, we decided to stop the campaign.” Singhal further explains, “We did restrict the campaign to Canada; however, the media and bloggers have managed to extend the reach of the ads into the US, and we quickly realized we had to pull the billboards to minimize the potential for offending our friendly neighbours to the south.” While the majority of the response to the billboards (which appeared solely in Toronto) was positive, a small number of consumers took offense to the tongue-and-cheek ad concept – especially since Lakehead University launched a similar campaign shortly after the Toronto audio book retailer. “The Lakehead posters took us completely by surprise, which was when we made this decision,” says Simply Audiobooks CEO, Sean Neville. “We didn’t want to create the impression that Canadian businesses have a political agenda, or are ganging up on the Bush administration.” The company has already stopped the ad campaign, but it may take a week or more for all the billboards to be physically removed from their locations throughout the city. The company has also said it will not be printing any additional poster sized versions of the ads, which were popular at its Toronto retail location at 350 Bay Street. --- About Simply Audiobooks Simply Audiobooks is North America's top audio book source, offering the most comprehensive range of online services with unlimited rentals, sales and direct downloads. Launched in 2003, the company was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees. Simply Audiobooks now offers audio books on tape or CD for purchase, as well as direct downloads in open-standard encrypted WMA files. The company has offices in Toronto, Buffalo and Las Vegas. For more information, visit

June 12, 2006 - Simply Audiobooks partners with innovative video production company

TORONTO – June 12, 2006 – Simply Audiobooks, North America’s top source for audio books, announced today it has partnered with Expanded Books, an innovative California video production company, to provide free video clips of author interviews on selected books on tape titles at

Hosted by actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther on the award-winning sitcom Friends, the Expanded Books video clips allow readers to become more intimate with a book through an honest, in-depth discussion with the authors themselves. In the videos, Tyler and his team of hosts encourage authors like "Crazy Busy" creator, Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, and "Prior Bad Acts" author, Tami Hoag, to candidly express the various forces that brought their books into being, focusing on what inspired the story and the main message of the title.

Simply Audiobooks CEO, Sean Neville, was enthusiastic about the partnership because it adds an entirely new layer to the company’s current audio book rental, sales and download offering.

“Our partnership with Expanded Books is something to get excited about because it allows book lovers to become more connected to a work through a visual dimension that neither the print, nor audio book version can offer,” said Neville. “Once again, Simply Audiobooks is pushing the boundaries of the traditional book.”

With years of experience producing network comedy and entertainment television, the production team behind Expanded Books brings a high level of expertise to each video production.

“We use an original, entertainment style in our videos that has never before been used for books,” said Todd Stevens, executive producer at Expanded Books. “With our unique approach, our videos have the potential to reach younger, tech-savvy audiences who have turned to alternative media sources. We are happy to expand our distribution network with Simply Audiobooks - it's a natural partnership.”

Stevens is a veteran TV producer of Emmy Award-winning "Friends", and sitcoms “Joey” and “Major Dad”, among others.

About Expanded Books
Expanded Books uses the power of the Internet and video to reach millions of potential book buyers, attract new readers, and boost book sales. Their videos are an affordable and cost-effective alternative to print advertising, traditional publicity and promotional campaigns, and are used by all the major publishing houses as well as smaller publishers. The company’s entertaining style has never before been applied to books and broadens both awareness and the market for featured titles. For more information visit

May 11, 2006 - Simply Audiobooks CMO speaks to online marketing experts

TORONTO – May 11, 2006 – Sanjay Singhal, Chief Marketing Officer at Simply Audiobooks, spoke at the Marketing Sherpa ContentBiz Summit 2006 in New York this week, on the company’s growth in the audio book marketplace through innovative paid search techniques.

Presenting insights gleaned from a series of paid search tests, Singhal joined experts from TIME magazine, Reuters, and who all shared their expertise in growing subscription based internet businesses.

“This was an insightful conference,” said Singhal. “It was enormously valuable to meet and learn from the best in the business. Being recognized as an expert in growing a subscription based business helps to develop business alliances and increase the value of the company overall.”

The largest audio book company offering books on CD rental subscriptions, books on tape sales, and audio book download subscriptions, Simply Audiobooks has been able to capture a growing online market through sophisticated online marketing management.

May 9, 2006 - Listen up parents, summer audio books come teacher approved

TORONTO – May 9, 2006 – With summer fast approaching, Simply Audiobooks has sifted through popular lists of teacher-recommended children’s books and cross-referenced them against top audio book orders placed through schools at The result is a fun and educational Summer Listening List for parents, teachers and students.

The Simply Audiobooks Summer 2006 Listening List

Ages 2-6
Audio books with the read-along text are always popular with the little ones. Teachers can’t seem to get enough of Peggy Parish’s series of "Amelia Bedelia" titles, or Marc Tolon Brown’s delightful "Arthur” series. Listening to "Dr. Seuss" stories read by award-winning actors Dustin Hoffman and Kelsey Grammar is a treat, and certainly helps to inspire a love of learning, listening and reading at a tender age.

Ages 7-8
Wilbur will always be “Some Pig!” and E.B. White’s beloved "Charlotte’s Web" is simply some book. White’s "Stuart Little" also consistently tops Simply Audiobooks’ request list for children in this age group. Boys can’t get enough of the hilarious "Hank the Cowdog" by John R. Erickson, and many young girls are still enjoying Judy Blume’s "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing".

Ages 9-10
Beginning with "Hatchet", continued in "The River" and "Brian’s Winter", and wrapping up with "Brian’s Return" and "Brian’s Hunt", author Gary Paulsen’s coming of age series tells the tale of how a young man finds his true path in life, and where he really belongs. One teacher wrote to share how much her students enjoyed “Hatchet.” “My students and I listened to this together. We loved it. They even gave up some of their recess time and asked to have lunch in the room a few days so they could listen to the story.”

Ages 11-12
C.S. Lewis’ classic series "The Chronicles of Narnia" is hugely popular once again, thanks to the recent release of the movie version of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". Kids of all ages are delighted by Jim Dale’s masterful and award-winning audio performances in J.K. Rowling’s enchanting "Harry Potter" series, and Tim Curry’s narration of several of the "Lemony Snicket" books comes highly recommended by youthful audio book fans.

Older Teens/Young Adults
Older teens and young adults can work their way through their summer reading lists by listening to unabridged versions of classics like George Orwell’s "1984", Ray Bradbury’s "Fahrenheit 451", F. Scott Fitzgerald’s "Great Gatsby", Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", and Ester Forbes' "Johnny Tremain".

Studies show that children who read during the summer months can further develop the skills learned during the school year, allowing them to perform better when school resumes in the Fall. But many parents find it difficult to make reading a priority during the summer holidays, especially when kids have more appealing distractions like playing outdoors, television, video games, and surfing the Net.

Kathryn Kennedy, who fosters relationships between Simply Audiobooks and schools across North America, advises parents that the beauty of adding audio books to their child’s reading list is that it allows kids to listen to great books while doing other things. “Families can listen to books on tape or CD while taking a road trip, doing a summer arts and crafts project or playing in the pool,” said Kennedy. “Audio books offer a creative and effective way to include reading as part of a child’s daily summer activities.”

Parents can visit "Simply Audiobooks" to peruse over 1,600 narrated children’s stories, and reserve their copies now. Teachers may call Juliane or Christine at 877-554-4332 for more information on payment via school Purchase Order and/or available school discounts.

April 19, 2006 - Feeding the demand for audio books

TORONTO – April 19, 2006 – Audio books are in high demand and Simply Audiobooks is making it easier to get them, announcing today it has reduced prices on its highest usage plans for audio book rentals and downloads.

After performing a series of internal surveys over a three-month period, the company dropped its price points on its most advanced audio book rental plans and, as forecast, has seen a dramatic uptake on these specific plans as a result. To get these results, the company reduced its prices by as much as 20 per cent on the plans used by the most prolific audio book consumers.

“We know from sales figures on revenue throughout the industry, library reports and our own company’s success, that demand for audio books in all formats is steadily increasing,” said Sanjay Singhal, VP of Marketing at Simply Audiobooks. “Peoples’ appetite for audio books is growing and we are doing all we can to get them the audio books they want at prices they can afford.”

Audio book download plans have also been reduced, with the Two at a Time plan dropping from $21.95 to $19.95 and the Three at a Time plan dropping from $32.95 to $28.95.

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) estimated the size of the audiobook market at $832 million in 2003. Singhal estimates the market to be at least twice that, based on the company’s own internal data.

With the unbridled success of the Harry Potter audio books, publishers are now simultaneously producing audio formats with new print titles, and it is a standard industry expectation that the audiobook version of a new title will account for 15 to 20 per cent of a book’s overall sale.

Another factor driving demand is, literally, driving. Consumer studies show that the number-one place people listen to audio books is in their cars. Longer daily commutes have inspired avid readers to use audiobooks as a way of reclaiming their diminishing reading time.

The continued proliferation of broadband, reduced cost of listening devices such as MP3 players, and the overall availability of downloadable content have made digital downloads of audiobooks an increasingly important factor in the audio book media mix.

April 7, 2006 - Simply Audiobooks announces 'Free Download of the Month' Program

TORONTO – April 7, 2006 – Whoever said ‘you can’t get something for nothing’ never visited Simply North America’s largest online source for audio books announced today it is giving away a free downloadable audio book every month, beginning with the autobiography of GoodLife Fitness Club CEO, David Patchell-Evans’ “Living the GoodLife.”

The Free Download of the Month program offers Simply Audiobooks members and non-members a featured audio book free each month for an indefinite period of time.

“Our goal is to make audio books easily accessible to anyone who enjoys reading, but can no longer find time to fit it into their schedules,” said Kathryn Kennedy with the Simply Audiobooks business development team. “Multitaskers are particularly attracted to downloading audiobooks as it is the most time-efficient and convenient means of accessing the books they want to read.”

This month’s free download, "Living the GoodLife" was written and narrated by the founder and CEO of Canada’s largest fitness company. A platinum member of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies list, and "Canadian Business"' Most Innovative Executive of 2005, Patchell- Evans offers helpful tips on diet, exercise and healthy living while chronicling his business and personal story. The audio book features an exclusive interview foreword with respected Canadian journalist, Jim Reed (not available in print version).

Simply Audiobooks also offers free content through podcasts, thanks to a partnership recently formed with "AudioFile Magazine", the only subscription magazine devoted exclusively to audio books. The magazine’s “Audiopolis” audio book reviews are available as free podcasts hosted on the Simply Audiobooks web site.

Through its AudioFile partnership, Simply Audiobooks is also giving away a free download exclusively to its members. Simply Audiobooks subscribers will receive a free copy of "AudioFile Magazine's" digital edition (PDF format), simply by providing their email address and verifying their account.

March 16, 2006 - Gardening secrets: From color schemes to books on tape

TORONTO – March 16, 2006 – Tending a garden will improve more than just your property value. Physical and psychological benefits abound, and can be further enhanced by pairing gardening with a mental stimulant like books on tape, announced Simply Audiobooks.

Today, the act of gardening is being used for educational, therapeutic and recreational purposes. Termed “Horticultural Therapy,” this recent area of study examines the curative effects of gardening through the stimulation of sensory perceptions.

“We often get feedback from our members indicating the deeply relaxing effect of listening to audiobooks while they are out in the garden,” said Sharron Jones, manager of Member Services at Simply Audiobooks. “Having a pleasant voice tell you a story while you engage in a nurturing activity seems to intensify the experience.”

Preliminary research at the University of Florida has shown that walking through a botanical garden significantly reduces perceived stress levels, while professors at the University of Vermont are examining stress relief through home gardening.

Experts recommend engaging as many senses as possible while gardening, to achieve the maximum therapeutic benefits. Incorporating an aural component heightens the intrinsic value of gardening’s mental and emotional connection to nature. The sense of hearing can play a significant role and many gardeners listen to audio books or music to enhance their experience and further decrease stress.

For those who wish to feel a closer connection to Mother Nature while tending to their perennials, Jones recommends listening to nature-themed audiobooks such as Writer in the Garden and A Walk in the Woods. Both titles are available as books on tape, CD or MP3 at Simply Audiobooks and are appropriate for a variety of listening devices.

Visit Simply Audiobooks’ Guide to Gardening for Stress Relief for more information.

February 27, 2006 - Simply Audiobooks explodes into the blogosphere

TORONTO – February 27, 2006 – Simply Audiobooks announced the launch of Simply AudioBlog, Audio Book Review Podcasts and the Audiobook Discussion Board today, creating a roster of outreach tools to enhance the experience of current members and increase resources for audio book fans everywhere.

“We are providing a forum where Simply Audiobooks members can voice their views, seek others’ opinions and follow discussions on topics related to audio books,” said Aileen Corr, Simply Audiobooks marketing communications manager. “Our goal is to promote a sense of community within our membership so our users can share meaningful information easily.”

Fittingly, the Audiobook Discussion Board is a space where those who rent audio books on CD can talk to each other, share recommendations, and express their views. Members can exchange opinions on their favourite books and find others with similar tastes. The Discussion Board is also a new avenue for member support, with a two-way dialogue between staff and curious visitors, both active Simply Audiobooks members and non-members.

“Most audio book listeners are somewhat isolated in their fandom. Though the industry is growing in popularity, it’s not likely that the guy in the next cubicle will be able to make small talk about Grover Gardner’s latest performance,” said Corr. “The same way the Internet improved access to audio books, it is now making it possible to talk with people who share your interests.”

The Simply AudioBlog includes, but is not limited to, audio book discussion and comments from a variety of management and employee authors. The blog is a journal of the life and times at Simply Audiobooks and offers members a colorful insider’s view of what goes on behind the scenes.

The company’s Audio Book Review Podcasts offer quick, one-minute audio reviews of popular audio book titles. “We are dealing with an audience that wants to cut straight to the point -- no muss, no fuss, and no wasted time, and that’s what we’re delivering,” added Corr.

Geared toward audio book fans who would like educated and insightful commentary on a selected title, but who do not have the time to read a lengthy review, these podcasts can be downloaded for listening on mobile devices and personal computers.

February 10, 2006 - Inspiring audiobooks: Self-help audiobooks grow in 2006

TORONTO – February 10, 2006 – Simply Audiobooks makes self-help books on tape and CD more meaningful for its members by including titles that touch on real experiences from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

“It is vital to our business, especially our books on CD rental service, to stay closely attuned to our reader’s demands,” said Simply Audiobooks CEO, Sean Neville. “Traditional self-help audio books like How to Make Friends and Influence People and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are still popular, but our members are looking for a broader and more colorful range of voices in 2006.”

One such title is Marcus Parker’s audio book, The Product. An unconventional autobiography told as a self-help story, The Product explores Parker’s spiritual and physical journey as he attempts to overcome insurmountable odds. Hailed as the African-American version of “The Purpose-Driven Life”, Parker’s message, communicated on his audio book and accompanying hip hop album, is that adversity and spirituality supersede materialism regardless of what cards we have been dealt across the table.

“A writer is anyone who has something to say,” according to Parker, who was born into an environment of poverty and addiction, raised by an albino mother and a man who was, unbeknownst to Parker, not his biological father. “[I have] a lot to say, specifically about rising above your circumstances, whatever they are, and going at life full speed ahead.”

Recent successes like James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces have demonstrated how much there is to learn from another’s story of overcoming adversity, whether the story is non-fiction or a more loosely written memoir.

December 8, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks plugs into the holidays with direct downloads

TORONTO – December 8, 2005 – Offering holiday shoppers and book lovers alike yet another option to access their favourite books, Simply Audiobooks announced today the launch of its Download Club, the latest expansion to its extensive online audiobook service.

Simply Audiobooks now offers spoken word content as downloadable Windows Media (WMA) files, which can be played on handheld digital devices (MP3 players), computers or burned to compact disc. The WMA files are open-standard, and therefore compatible with the greatest possible range of MP3 players.

“Downloadable audiobooks are the hottest thing in publishing since the Gutenberg Press, and Simply Audiobooks is poised to become a premier source for listeners,” said Steve Sorge, Chief Operations Officer at Simply Audiobooks. “With the addition of downloads, we are now the only company in the business offering everything audiobooks.”

Having pioneered the unlimited CD audiobook rental model in 2003, Simply Audiobooks met further success with its expansion into direct sales earlier this year. The company’s latest service expansion into downloadable talking books allows members to join the original unlimited CD rental program, the flat-fee monthly Download Club, or purchase individual audiobooks on cassette tape, CD or as a download.

To kick off its Download Club, Simply Audiobooks has re-launched, making navigation easier and more intuitive than ever before with new search and browse options. An added function sorts titles by rating, allowing members to see the top-rated titles first in any search. Members are able to browse through more than 19,000 unique titles and choose the best plan for their audiobook needs.

While overall sales in book publishing have flat lined in recent years, spoken word content has gained significantly in popularity among North America’s multitasking professionals. Digital audiobooks are already one of publishing's hottest sectors, with sales nearly quadrupling between 2001 and 2003, to more than $18 million, according to the Audio Publishers Association.

November 14, 2005 - Gridlocked NYC motorists prescribed commuter cure

TORONTO - November 14, 2005 - New York City motorists traveling to work via the Holland Tunnel got a dose of commuter relief this morning as teams of doctors broke through gridlock to deliver audiobooks as a cure for the dreaded commute.

Drivers caught at the intersection of Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas encountered a group of actors dressed in scrubs and stethoscopes, toting a succession of signs that read “Sick of your commute today?” and “Cure your commute up ahead”. Sponsored by leading online audiobook provider Simply Audiobooks, the doctors were sent out to catch morning commuters at their peak point of pain.

“People listen to audiobooks in their cars because it allows them to turn a negative experience into a positive and productive one,” said Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. “And with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we want NYC drivers to recognize that listening to a good book in the car will not only help them survive that long drive to Grandma’s house, it will help them enjoy it.”

More than 1000 samples of audiobooks were prescribed from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the busy intersection. Included on the CDs were excerpts from acclaimed bestsellers like Laura Hillenbrand’s "Seabiscuit", Michael Lewis’ "Moneyball," and Rick Reilly’s "Who’s Your Caddy."

Simply Audiobooks’ goal in running the morning’s Cure for the Common Commute was quite straightforward: To offer motorists a readily-available, physical cure for the boredom and frustration they feel day in and day out.

According to 2003 American Community Survey (ACS) data released earlier this year by the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spend more than 100 hours commuting to work each year, with the overall national average at 24.3 minutes per one-way commute.

At 30.4 minutes, New York reigned supreme in a ranking of states with the longest average commute-to-work times. In fact, four of the five counties that comprise New York City experienced the longest average commute-to-work times, according to the ACS. New Jersey (28.5 minutes), Illinois (27.0 minutes) and California (26.5 minutes) were also among states with some of the longest one-way commute times.

According to the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest long distance travel period of the year, with the number of long-distance trips increasing by 54 percent during the six-day holiday. The NHTS reveals that although media focus is usually on crowded airports and bus and train stations, nine out of ten travelers actually use personal vehicles.

Last year at Thanksgiving, AAA estimated that 37.2 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home, a 3.1 percent increase from the previous year’s 36.1 million travelers. This year’s forecasts are due out on Tuesday, November 15.

October 25, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks partners with Chautauqua Institution

TORONTO – October 25, 2005 – Simply Audiobooks, North America’s top source for audiobooks, announced today it has partnered with the Chautauqua Institution and Digitell Inc. to provide recorded lectures and sermons from many of the world’s most talented and respected minds.

The content partnership allows Simply Audiobooks members to rent live recordings of lectures and sermons delivered at the distinguished Chautauqua Institution, an internationally renowned center for education, the arts, religion and recreation, founded on the belief that everyone has a right to be all that he can be - to know all that he can know.

“We are honoured to be partnering with such a reputable educational body as the Chautauqua Institution,” said Steve Sorge, COO of Simply Audiobooks. “In providing our members with access to the rich quality of education presented at Chautauqua, we are giving them the opportunity to engage in life-long learning.”

Produced and digitally mastered by Digitell Inc, a leading archive solutions provider, the audio recordings are taken from the Great Lecture Library, a comprehensive online library comprised of more than 1,200 lectures and sermons. The Library encompasses 45 major categories of interest, including art, business, history, religion, government, healthcare, the environment, family and ethics.

“Chautauqua Institution is delighted that Simply Audiobooks will be making our lectures available to its members,” said Michael Sullivan, Director of Institution Relations. “The Chautauqua lecture platform is central to Chautauqua’s mission to be a resource for the enriched understanding of the opportunities and obligations of community, family and personal life by fostering the sharing of varied cultural, educational, religious and recreational experience in an atmosphere of participation by persons of all ages and backgrounds. Our partnership with Digitell and Simply Audiobooks furthers that mission,” said Sullivan.

Jim Parker, president of Digitell, who has been producing Chautauqua’s lectures in audio format for 20 years said: "This educational collection of lectures will be an outstanding addition to Simply Audiobooks' existing content. We are providing their members with the ability to educate themselves while they are doing other things, like driving in traffic or working out.”

Among the 275 selections now available through Simply Audiobooks’ unlimited audiobook online rental service are Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson Sr., Dr. Jane Goodall and Roger Rosenblatt.

About Chautauqua Institution
The Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit organization that serves as a community, a center, and a resource where the human spirit is renewed, minds stimulated, faith restored and the arts valued. It has performance venues, hotel, golf, tennis, and educational and recreational facilities. For more information visit

About Digitell Inc.
Digitell, Inc. is a leader in conference recording and CD-ROM/Web product development. The company specializes in producing multimedia educational content and currently offers its clients cutting edge products for educational retention, non-dues revenue generation and promotion and marketing applications. For more information visit

October 12, 2005 - Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2005

TORONTO – October 12, 2005 – Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks, was awarded the Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005 award for the Ontario region at a gala ceremony recognizing Canadian entrepreneurs for their business leadership skills, determination and vision.

“The award is the Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year but it should be the Emerging Entrepreneurial Team Of The Year because I would not be here today if not for a team of hard-working and dedicated people,” said Neville referring to his family, business partners and staff. “We have worked together to make this small idea into a growing business and success.”

An audiobook fanatic, Neville conceived of Simply Audiobooks while sitting in traffic on Toronto’s busiest highway. Determined to find a convenient and affordable way to access audiobooks, he developed the idea of unlimited online audiobook rentals.

Along with his two partners, Sanjay Singhal and Steve Sorge, Neville launched Simply Audiobooks in 2003. Together, they grew the company to become North America’s largest online audiobook rental provider in less than two years. Recently adding sales to its offering, Simply Audiobooks employs more than 40 people in three facilities and two countries.

Neville is dedicated to creating ongoing partnerships between Simply Audiobooks and the communities it serves. Along with regular donations to schools and non-profit community organizations, the company has committed $50,000 in audiobooks to Southern Ontario hospitals.

Before starting Simply Audiobooks, Neville explored a variety of high-profile positions, from trading at Goepel McDermid and UBS Warburg to VP of Sales and Marketing at Concept Plastics. He holds an MBA from the Johnson School at Cornell University, a BAS from York University, and he has completed graduate studies at IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program was founded by Ernst & Young to celebrate great entrepreneurs and heighten awareness of the economic impact of entrepreneurial ventures. The awards honour entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, risk taking, company development, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

The program is nationally sponsored by Global Television Network, National Post, La Presse, RDI and Roynat Capital. The Ontario sponsor is Goodman and Carr LLP. To learn more about the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005 awards, visit

October 6, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks breaks through Toronto traffic to cure commutes

TORONTO – October 6, 2005 –Toronto drivers heading north on Spadina off the Gardiner Expressway had an unexpected visit from the doctor this morning when they encountered a succession of medical teams handing out audiobooks as a cure for their commute.

Determined to catch motorists at their point of pain, Oakville-based Simply Audiobooks outfitted a team of actors in scrubs and stethoscopes and took to the streets with a series of signs that read “How was your commute today”, “Honk if you hate traffic” and “Cure for your commute up ahead.”

“We wanted to get drivers to make the connection between audiobooks and long commutes and this is one creative way we thought we could do it,” said Sanjay Singhal, VP of Marketing at Simply Audiobooks. “We simply offered motorists a readily available, physical cure for the boredom and frustration they feel day in and day out.”

In total, 1000 audiobook CDs were prescribed from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Upon receiving their cure, appreciative motorists honked their horns in gratitude and continued their drive to work.

According to the Audio Publishers Association, the most popular place to listen to an audiobook is in the car. In fact, 70 per cent of Simply Audiobooks’ subscribers use audiobooks to help make their commutes bearable.

The company plans to run subsequent Cure for the Common Commute promotions in New York, Los Angeles and other heavy commuter cities.

September 30, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks announces the dawn of direct sales

TORONTO - September 30, 2005 - After pioneering the unlimited audiobook rental model and rapidly becoming the largest online audiobook rental company in North America, Simply Audiobooks announced today it has expanded its service offering to include direct sales.

The company will now sell audiobooks on conventional CD and cassette tape, in addition to renting books on CD. The company will be aggressively pricing sales, as it has done with rentals, and expects to make significant gains in market share in 2006.

According to Simply Audiobooks CEO, Sean Neville, entering the sales market is just one of several initiatives planned for the company this year.

"Our online audiobook rental model was only the beginning," said Neville. "We recently began acquiring content licenses and now we have entered the physical sales market. We are also beta-testing consumer direct download of audiobooks, which will give us the broadest product base of any audiobook company, online or offline."

Estimated at over $2 billion, the audiobook sales market is one of the fastest growing segments of the publishing industry. Sales increased 14 per cent from 2002 to 2003, according to the Audio Publishers Association.

Along with its commercial initiatives, Simply Audiobooks' contributions to industry growth include online and offline promotional campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the audiobook industry. The company has also brought audiobooks to libraries, schools and hospitals through its philanthropic efforts.

August 16, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks offers exclusive author interviews

TORONTO - August 16, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks, North America’s largest audiobook rental company announced today it has partnered with, bringing intelligent content to its members with exclusive in-depth author interviews.

Hosted by Tara of the radio show PROFILES, top-selling authors like Jack Canfield, Barbara De Angelis and John Gray share their personal views on society, politics, family life and more. Presented in a candid and engaging forum, members can now hear if Zig Ziglar actually does have conversations with his dog and what inspired Marlo Thomas to run her own race.

Gloria Marinescu of the Simply Audiobooks Business Development group said of the company’s foray into exclusive content acquisition: "This is the first of many content partnership announcements for Simply Audiobooks. We are working with a number of individuals and organizations in the industry who, like Tara, can provide our members with valuable content."

"I am excited to be partnering with Simply Audiobooks as it allows me to expand my audience and share the insights I have learned from interviewing these fascinating guests," said Tara. "These interviews are educational as well as entertaining and they will bring a new kind of listening experience to Simply Audiobooks' members."

The exclusive TalkToTara author interviews are available in compilation CD format through the Simply Audiobooks online rental service. Additional information on can be found at

About features audio interviews from Profiles, an Internet radio talk show featuring in-depth interviews with authors on a majority of non-fiction topics, celebrities, and relevant "names in the news". Presented in an intelligent forum, the interviews are designed to be informative as well as entertaining. Host Tara goes beyond chat to focus on the core interest of her guest, allowing them to speak freely on matters that concern them and providing her audience with an experience they can learn from. To listen to TalkToTara interviews in downloadable MP3 format visit

August 15, 2005 - Potter spells no match for Patterson's thrills

TORONTO - August 12, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks announced today that James Patterson’s suspense thriller "Honeymoon" retained its number one spot on the Top 20 Most Requested Titles list, against the immensely popular release of J.K. Rowling’s "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince."

The much-anticipated addition to the Potter series was expected to dominate the company’s top 20 list, but missed the mark, according to the online audiobook rental company’s latest statistics on member requests.

“I was surprised that 'The Half Blood Prince' did not take the top spot here,” said Rachel Hitchcock of the Simply Audiobooks Operations group. “We were expecting Harry to rule the bookshelf queues when we released the audiobook to our members, but the wizard’s Top-Spot-In-The-Queue spell proved ineffective against Patterson’s 'Honeymoon'."

Potter fans can take comfort in knowing that "The Half Blood Prince"’s unprecedented second place debut had the effect of moving all previous Potter audiobooks up on the Most Requested Titles list, and is expected to rule the list for many months.

The Simply Audiobooks rental service allows members to browse through an online library of 5,000 titles. Members request books for their personal bookshelf and selections are then shipped in order of availability and position on the list.

Following is the complete August top 20 list.









Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince*



Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking



Chasing the Dime



Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy



7 Habits of Highly Effective People**



Short History of Nearly Everything



King of Torts



Broker (uab)



3rd Degree



Benjamin Franklin: An American Life



How to Win Friends and Influence People



Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix



8th Habit



Daily Show with John Stewart



4th of July (Women's Murder Club)



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire



DaVinci Code



Deception Point




* Debut **Top-selling audio book of all time

July 8, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks CEO finalist for Canada's premier business award

TORONTO - July 8, 2005 - The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Awards, Canada's most prestigious business accolade, has named Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks, as an Ontario finalist in the Emerging Entrepreneur category for 2005.

Neville is one of 40 best-in-class Canadian entrepreneurs chosen for their business leadership skills, determination and vision.

"A healthy Canadian economy can hinge on a healthy Ontario economy, and the province's economy is certainly linked to the incredible contributions made by our entrepreneurs - the men and women who through inventive hard work and bold risk-taking build successful enterprises from the ground up," said
Joe Telebar, national and Ontario director of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program. "Entrepreneurs fuel our economy and we are proud to recognize their achievements," said Telebar.

Upon hearing the finalist announcements, Neville enthusiastically commented: "All we have ever tried to do is grow fast, make money, and have fun doing it. It is great to be recognized by a prestigious organization like Ernst & Young for doing something you love," said Neville.

Now in its 12th year, The Entrepreneur Of The Year program was founded by Ernst & Young to celebrate great entrepreneurs and heighten awareness of the economic contribution of entrepreneurial ventures.

An independent judging panel composed of distinguished Canadian business leaders and previous award recipients selects the finalists. The panel assesses potential award recipients based on the following criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, integrity, influence on market/industry, track record of financial results and contribution to community.

Winners will be announced at a gala evening on October 6, 2005 with one candidate being named the overall national Entrepreneur of the Year.

The program is nationally sponsored by Global Television Network, National Post, La Presse, RDI and Roynat Capital. To learn more about the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005 awards, visit

About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to restoring the public's trust in professional services firms and in the quality of financial reporting. Its 100,000 people in 140 countries pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism, providing a range of sophisticated services centred on our core competencies of auditing, accounting, tax, and transactions. Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at Ernst & Young refers to all the members of the global Ernst & Young organization.

June 8, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks brings comfort, entertainment to ailing patients

TORONTO - June 8, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks launched a charitable campaign at Princess Margaret Hospital today, aimed at bringing the joy of reading to Ontario health care patients. The Oakville-based audiobook rental provider has committed $50,000 in audiobooks to be shared between 10 Southern Ontario hospitals.

Speaking to an audience of patients and staff gathered at a concert for the Princess Margaret Hospital's Diversional Activities Program, Simply Audiobooks CEO Sean Neville kicked off two weeks of donations by explaining the important role literature plays in enriching patients' lives.

"Books are vehicles that transport their readers to new worlds where the imagination comes alive. They stimulate the mind and can take you away from your stresses. Hospital patients in particular can benefit from the positive effects of a good read, especially with books in audio format," said Neville.

Heather Hardie, Manager of Volunteer Services who coordinates the Diversional Activities program at Princess Margaret accepted the audiobook library. "A simple gesture such as offering audiobooks to pass the time can mean so much for patients. They tell us how much it helps fill long days, and how much easier they are to use than holding a printed book," said Hardie.

Neville will personally deliver ten audiobook libraries to the following hospitals throughout the region over the next two weeks. Each library is valued at more than $5,000 and includes electronic listening devices to help the hospitals make the donations more easily accessible to their patients. Hospitals to receive the donations are:

Toronto:Princess Margaret and St. Michael's Hospitals
Barrie:Royal Victoria Hospital
BramptonWilliam Osler Health Center
Burlington:Joseph Brant Memorial Hostpital
Guelph:Guelph General Hospital
London:St. Joseph's Health Care
Mississauga:Credit Valley Hospital
Newmarket:Southlake Regional Health Centre
Oakville:Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital

This is not the first time Simply Audiobooks has taken a proactive stance on community relations. In January of 2005, the company answered a call from New Jersey State Assemblyman Bill Baroni, delivering $10,000 in audiobooks to members of the New Jersey National Guard serving overseas. Simply Audiobooks counts servicemen and women in the United States as an important part of its member base, regularly delivering audiobooks to personnel overseas through Army Post Office addresses.

Simply Audiobooks also donates regularly to school charities and fundraising events on a case by case basis.

June 3, 2005 - 'Fun'ctional website takes online customer satisfaction to new heights

TORONTO - June 3, 2005 - Reaffirming its commitment to excellence in customer service, Simply Audiobooks today announced the launch of its newly designed web site with an emphasis on creating an enjoyable online experience for existing and potential members.

After carefully monitoring browser trends and member feedback since its last site facelift in June 2004, the popular CD audio book rental provider has developed specific improvements to cater to its time-conscious user demographic. Focusing on improved functionality, ease of navigation and creative ways to offer information, the company aims to turn visits to into memorable experiences.

"As an online company, we recognize that our website is our main communications medium and the primary point of contact for our customers. We want their visit to be an experience that fits their needs, keeps them entertained and engaged, and makes them want to return," said Simply Audiobooks CEO, Sean Neville.

Features that help create that experience include an overall improved look and feel to the site, convenient tools like the custom calculator, which helps prospective members choose the right plan, and availability bars that show members when they can expect to receive their next selection.

Interactivity is also a large component of the redesigned site. Members are encouraged to submit original book reviews, contributing user-generated content for use as a resource to other members. Reviews are often humorous and engaging, offering entertaining insight on audio book titles offered by the company.

Taking user interaction to another level, Simply Audiobooks has also added a unique element of creativity with its new Haiku Page Translations. Users are given the option to read select page content in haiku poetry to stimulate their literary senses.

According to Simply Audiobooks web specialist Tim Borden, some of the key factors in re-developing were improved functionality, usability and site performance.

"Our primary goal in designing the new site was to improve online customer satisfaction that would ultimately result in higher conversion rates," said Borden. "Members now have more options to manage their accounts on their own schedule, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year."

The new site launch comes just in time to announce Simply Audiobooks' latest contest promoting their Refer a Friend Program. Members who refer a friend to the service are awarded free plan upgrades and chances to win trips to famous audio book settings like New York, Napa Valley, Paris or London.

April 22, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks promotes UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day

TORONTO - April 22, 2005 - In celebration of UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day, Simply Audiobooks challenged North Americans today to find creative ways to bring reading back into their busy lives.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), less than half of American adults currently read literature, a number that has been in steady decline for the past 20 years. The study, entitled Reading at Risk, suggests that literature now competes with a variety of electronic media and that the presence and availability of these alternatives are drawing Americans away from reading.

"At a time when traditional reading must compete with more convenient and attractive entertainment options, the onus is on the book lover to explore alternative reading formats to complement his or her lifestyle," said Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. "Everything from downloadable e-books to audio books on MP3 CD is now available and this kind of choice is actually good news for the modern day book lover."

One of the media formats that is actually increasing access to literature is the audio book. The ease and convenience of audio books is driving a current phase of enormous growth in the $2-billion industry, with sales increasing 14 per cent per year. The Audio Publishers Association reported roughly one in five American households listened to an audio book within the last year.

A symbolic day for world literature, April 23 was chosen by UNESCO in 1995 to recognize the cultural and educational importance of books and their authors. World Book and Copyright Day encourages people of all ages to discover the pleasure of reading and honor the contributions of writers around the globe.

March 29, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks opens new Las Vegas fulfillment center

TORONTO - March 29, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks, the largest online provider of audiobook rentals in North America, today announced the opening of its newest fulfillment center in Las Vegas, Nevada, the first step in a major multi-phase expansion plan.

"Our continuous growth has created an exciting opportunity for us to expand operations geographically and enhance Simply Audiobooks' superior customer service," said Steve Sorge, Chief Operations Officer of Simply Audiobooks.

Leveraging its partnership with the United States Postal Service, Simply Audiobooks expects the new fulfillment center will expedite shipping and improve overall efficiency to Simply Audiobooks members in the Western United States.

"The United States Postal Service has a world-class letter distribution system serving all communities and delivery points in the United States and its territories. The Postal Service looks forward to being Simply Audiobooks' primary shipping partner in the United States," said David M. Patterson, District Manager for the Postal Service's Western New York District.

The Las Vegas facility complements Simply Audiobooks' existing U.S. fulfillment center in Buffalo, New York, making Simply Audiobooks the only online audiobook rental provider to operate multiple fulfillment centers in the United States. A third facility located in Toronto, Ontario, serves the company's Canadian members.

As part of its expansion strategy, Simply Audiobooks recently completed an additional round of financing through the issuance of Preferred stock. The company expects this latest round of financing to help lever its current business model and build on the rapid success Simply Audiobooks has enjoyed to date.

"Simply Audiobooks is now poised to establish itself as a dominant player in the North American audiobook industry," said Sean Neville, Chief Executive Officer of Simply Audiobooks. "The addition of our Las Vegas facility is just one of the exciting expansion initiatives planned this year, made possible by recent financing. We are committed to being the most convenient and affordable audiobook rental service in North America."

Richard Earle, CEO of Sea Change Corp. and the lead investor in the financing, praised the Simply Audiobooks team. "We look to invest in businesses that can scale rapidly, have market dominance potential and a strong management team. Simply Audiobooks fits that profile. Simply Audiobooks enjoys a strong leadership position in the audiobook market, and we expect they will further strengthen their leadership as they expand their offerings within the online audiobook market and across popular media formats," said Earle.

Simply Audiobooks' second round of financing was backed by a group of Canadian and American private investors. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt served as legal advisor to Simply Audiobooks.

January 17, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks gives U.S. troops $10K post-holiday surprise

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ - January 17, 2005 - Simply Audiobooks, the largest online audiobook rental company in the United States and Canada, today announced it has donated $10,000 in books on tape and CD to Assemblyman Bill Baroni's efforts to support U.S. troops abroad.

Simply Audiobooks CEO, Sean Neville, personally presented the donation to Assemblyman Baroni and the New Jersey National Guard at the Lawrenceville National Guard Armory. "We are pleased to support the men and women of the New Jersey National Guard who are serving abroad," said Neville. "Listening to audiobooks will not only provide them with an opportunity to relax and decompress, it will also help ease the time spent away from home."

Major General Glenn Rieth, Adjutant General of the New Jersey National Guard, graciously accepted the donation. "On behalf of all the citizen-soldiers of the Garden State, and especially those who will have the opportunity to enjoy this very generous and thoughtful demonstration of support, I thank Simply Audiobooks & Assemblyman Baroni for this particular donation. It will be greatly appreciated by the men and women of the New Jersey National Guard and their families."

An advocate of literacy and improved education and a dedicated supporter of the men and women in the U.S. armed services, Assemblyman Bill Baroni was pleased with the Simply Audiobooks donation. "Thousands of troops are stationed overseas, thousands of miles away from friends and loved ones, serving our country," said Baroni. "Now more than ever, we must show our gratitude for our troops and let them know how much we appreciate them. This donation from Simply Audiobooks is extraordinarily generous and I am certain it is one our troops will enjoy."

Simply Audiobooks currently provides its U.S. Armed Forces customers with CD audiobook rentals through the APO address system. Based on feedback received from these customers, the company recognized a wider need for audiobook content within the Armed Forces community and decided to lend a hand. "We have a mandate to give back to the communities we serve and this is one way we can do just that," said Neville. "This donation is the first of many philanthropic initiatives for Simply Audiobooks this year."

November 22, 2004 - Simply Audiobooks adds MP3 CD audio books for Thanksgiving

TORONTO - November 22, 2004 - Simply Audiobooks, the largest online CD audio book rental company in the United States and Canada, today announced it has added MP3 CDs to its current collection so customers will have increased access to audio books as they brave the Thanksgiving holiday drive.

"We have been planning to expand our conventional CD collection to include the new format for customers with MP3 CD compatible devices," said Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. "With the upcoming Thanksgiving traffic rush, people are going to need something to help them pass the time in their cars, so we thought we would use the opportunity as a trial initiative for the MP3 CD format."

Most audio book users listen to audio books in their cars, allowing them to make the most of otherwise unproductive time. With the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) predicting this Thanksgiving to be the busiest in five years, Americans can expect to spend a lot of time in their vehicles this year. "This Thanksgiving will be the busiest holiday season in terms of traffic congestion, so be prepared for slow traffic and back-ups everywhere. Allow a lot of time to get where you want go," said Liz Neblett, NHTSA spokesperson.

"There is no better way to ease the frustration of bumper-to-bumper traffic than to pop in a good book and escape the highway chaos," said Neville. "We recognize there is a growing demand for MP3 CDs in the audio books industry and we believe this format could complement our core offering of conventional CDs, the most popular audible format for books today. This is simply our way of testing demand so we can continue to stay on top of our customers' needs."

MP3 CDs can store up to 16 hours of audio content onto a single disc, which is good news for unabridged audio book lovers who enjoy listening to books in their entirety. Classics like Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," the latest MP3 CD addition by Simply Audiobooks, would normally be recorded on 10 conventional discs, but are now available on one MP3 CD. With the new format, customers do not have to change discs as often and they can take advantage of carrying and storing fewer CDs.

October 19, 2004 - Simply Audiobooks and contest winner help local Toronto library

TORONTO - October 19, 2004 - Simply Audiobooks, Canada's largest online CD audio book rental company, donated $500 worth of brand new CD audio books to the Yorkville branch of the Toronto Public Library today.

The donation was made as part of the Simply Audiobooks Take the Tower Contest, held recently at Toronto's Word on the Street Festival, where the popular audio book rental company gave away $1000 worth of audio books, half to the winner of the draw, and the other half to the winner's favourite library.

The winning entrant was Gwenlyn Setterfield of Toronto, an avid book lover and audio book listener. When asked why she chose the Yorkville Branch of the Toronto Public Library as the donation's recipient, Ms. Setterfield said, "My daughter used to go there when she was in school and I wanted to show my support. It's nice to have a small branch downtown where kids can go."

Sean Neville, president and CEO of Simply Audiobooks, presented both collections at the Yorkville branch today. "Simply Audiobooks recognizes the need for more audio books on CD at our local libraries and we are excited to help provide a more colourful selection to the patrons of the Yorkville Branch," said Neville. "We are also grateful to Ms. Setterfield for her generosity and cooperation in this special event."

Pat Bull, Acting District Manager at the TPL Yorkville Branch, received the donation on behalf of the Yorkville branch.

A market worth more than $2-billion annually in North America, audio books are popular with avid book lovers who see them as an ideal way to keep up their reading in their fast-paced, modern lifestyles. In fact, Simply Audiobooks counts commuters and travelers as their most loyal customers.

"Audio books are ideal for commuters," said Neville. "The average one-way commute in North America takes 24 minutes, which means a commuter can listen to one audio book (about four hours) in five days of commuting."

June 10, 2004 - Simply Audiobooks expands distribution facilities in North America

TORONTO - June 10, 2004 - Simply Audiobooks, the first company to offer online CD audio book rental to both the U.S. and Canada, today announced expansion of both its Canadian and U.S. distribution centers as it strives to keep up with rapid growth.

"We are increasing our staff and inventory faster than expected and we have outgrown our current facility," explained Steve Sorge, Simply Audiobooks chief operations officer. "By tripling the available space at our headquarters in Oakville, we can give our staff some much-deserved breathing room."

Officially launched in Canada in the Summer of 2003, the company began as a four-person team in a small office in downtown Toronto. A few months later, the Simply Audiobooks team launched its U.S. operations with shipping out of Ithaca, New York. By 2004, due to overwhelming consumer demand for the audio book rental service, U.S. shipping moved to a much larger facility in Buffalo, New York and the Canadian office expanded to its current Oakville, Ontario location.

Currently, the company handles more than 10,000 CDs per day at their Canadian and U.S. distribution centers. Logistics in the U.S. continue to improve as shipping processes become more sophisticated and efficient. "We have got the most advanced packaging and shipping technology in the audio book industry and it is helping us cope with high demand," added Sorge. "But as our subscribers grow, so must our operations."

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) estimates audio book popularity will continue to grow rapidly with increased media attention, longer commutes due to traffic congestion and various changes in lifestyle trends such as the need to multi-task and maximize time consumption. Considering these predictions and the current growth in subscriptions to its online service, Simply Audiobooks estimates it will double in size by year end 2004.

October 1, 2003 - Simply Audiobooks launches CD rental service in U.S. and Canada

TORONTO, October 1 - 2003 - Simply Audiobooks today announced it will be the first company to offer unlimited online CD audio book rental to both the United States and Canada.

"Now audio book fans in both countries have access to the best service, product and price available in the audio book rental industry," said Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. "We even deliver to the U.S. Army Post Office, ensuring armed forces personnel who are stationed abroad have unlimited access to much needed books on CD."

Using an unlimited rental model which allows members access to a wide variety of popular titles on CD for one low monthly subscription, Simply Audiobooks attracts customers who might otherwise purchase their audio books at a retail outlet or borrow from their local library. Currently, 37 per cent of audiobooks are purchased at the retail level, while 38 per cent are borrowed from libraries. Audio book rental accounts for six per cent, but that number is steadily growing as high purchase prices and limited availability at local libraries create large opportunities for the rental market.

According to the Audio Publishers Association (APA), 23 million households listened to audio books in 2001, compared to 21.4 million households in 1999. In fact, roughly one in five American households listened to an audiobook within the last year. With annual sales of $2-billion, the audio book industry is growing rapidly and consumer demand for better price, selection and service are becoming primary selling points.

Convenience is also a major factor influencing trends in audio book usage. As people search for efficient ways to maintain their demanding lifestyles, traditional means of acquiring products and services are being replaced by more modern options. In the past year, 80 per cent of audiobook listeners have accessed the Internet. With online rental providers like Simply Audiobooks offering unlimited rental and door to door delivery, more and more consumers are seeing the benefits subscribing to the service.