Working with a Brazilian publisher, we’ve created Áudio Venda, the first Portuguese audiobook available in iTunes (specifically that’s not a language learning book). It’s a lively guide about improving your sales technique that was converted to digital from an early-60′s vinyl album. While my Portuguese isn’t very good, I appreciate the good voice acting and retro music.
Although it’s a $0.99 app that could become swamped in a sea of book apps, it’s a small milestone for me. I’d been approached about creating custom “book-as-apps” before but had always refused because the iPhone couldn’t handle background audio from non-iPod sources. Bookmark version 1.0 didn’t background and that was such a huge request that I published version 1.1 shortly after for the sole purpose of adding background audio.
Now that backgrounding is an option for all audio-playing apps, I’m more than happy to create downloadable audiobook apps. Áudio Venda is the first of several Brazilian Portuguese apps we’ll be making and I’m open to working with other authors and publishers to get their books on the iPhone without having to go through Audible.
Below is a screenshot of Áudio Venda running in the background. You can access this “widget” by double-tapping the home button and sliding your thumb to the right. The icon on the left is used to lock the orientation of the phone to portrait (a feature I love). The sound control buttons are obvious, and tapping the book icon relaunches the app. The caveat is that only the most recent iPod Touches and iPhones (3GS and 4) support iOS 4 audio backgrounding (although they all support iPod backgrounding that Bookmark relies on).
Update: Apple just approved the second Portuguese audiobook on iTunes, O Gato Preto which is a translation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat.