The Sword and Laser discussion

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Someone explain the point of Audible?

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message 1: by Khet (new)

Khet | 4 comments Alright, first I understand /why/ someone would use it but as a person that doesn't want to subscribe to their monthly model I can't wrap my head around the reasons for using it. I'm all for paying a little extra for convenience but unless I subscribe to Audible, they want $61 for Elantris!

Asking nearly TEN times the normal price, I can't see the point of it.

So, is subscribing really the only way to ever use Audible? Is there any way around that model without having to pay extortionate prices?


message 2: by Aaron (new)

Aaron (scruffynerfer) You can pay a certain price for 12 or 24 books and not subscribe to the monthly fee. Either that or pay the membership, download Elantris and then cancel. I have done that before. Although I have a full subscription now


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 839 comments Actually for me subscribing to Audible makes sense in that it forces me to spend my credits. This seems a bit strange at first, but I've realized that I enjoy listening to audiobooks, but I usually go for regular books and forget to check whether an audiobook is available.

It's like subscribing to a DVD/BluRay renting service kind of makes me watch more movies.

You could argue that if I need to be forced to remember listening to audiobooks it could be that I don't really want to or don't like it, but that's not the case. It just rarely occurs to me and then it's nice to have some credits to spend.

As far as I know you can cancel your subscription at any time, so you could probably just subscribe for a month or two, get the books you want and unsubscribe.


message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 493 comments Audiobooks have always been stupidly expensive; I guess it's a production costs versus unit sales thing. Just looking at the space they take up in your local Waterstones or B&N shows what a niche market it is.

Audible aren't charging 10x the amount for not subscribing, so the question is really how Audible charge so little when you have a subscription. The same model as a gym, people signing up, using it or two months and never getting around to cancelling. Personally, I think it's a superb business model - and great value if you use it and can afford the regular outlay.

(And if the good folks at Audible want to give me any freebie for that plug...)


message 5: by Philip (new)

Philip (heard03) | 383 comments Explain the point of Audible? You might as well ask what's the point of chocolate chip cookies or ice cream.

Kidding aside, if you've never been a member you can join and get Elantris for free and then cancel your membership. A tiny bit of a hassle to set it up & cancel, but worth saving the $. Their customer service is excellent, too. It's not like trying to close a credit card account or something excruciating like that.


message 6: by Anne (new)

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 839 comments I recently moved from Audible.com to Audible.de because I wanted access to German audiobooks. It seems like Audible.de has most of the English audiobooks available, but not the other way round, so in the end I think I have more options now.

However, I couldn't just move my account as I'd hoped, I had to cancel the .com subscription and then sign up for a new membership on .de. Seems to be two completely separated systems.

Cancelling my account was no hassle at all. I only had to find two books to spend my last credits on (had 2 left), because credits are lost when you cancel the membership. I used them for the autobiographies of Tina Fey and Stephen Fry. Heard good things about the first one and in my world you can never go wrong with Stephen Fry.

Whatever, the point is: It was really, really easy to cancel the membership. No hassle, no nothing. The only disappointing thing was that in the "Why are quitting?" drop-down, they had no option that fit my reason and no free text field to enter it. I just wanted to tell them that all was fine and I was just moving to another domain.


message 7: by Khet (new)

Khet | 4 comments Hey thanks guys. Decided to take advantage of the promo and picked up Elantris and another book and canceled right away. I'll have tosee give them both a shot and see if the extra cost is still worth it. even with the monthly sub it's still nearly double a normal book price, though I guess if it has a lot of benefit it might be worth it.

Guess it's just one of those "try it for yourself" kind of things.


message 8: by Joyce (last edited Nov 21, 2011 05:29PM) (new)

Joyce (eternity21) | 178 comments you can also check to see if your library has it to download. I have been a charter member of audible and so love it. I often like to listen to the book after reading it.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2898 comments The subscription is a much better deal than buying books at listed price, or even half price. I can easily handle one audio book a month (although right now I have 2 credits to spend and I'm only 2 hours into a 33 hour book....)


message 10: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments Khet wrote: "I'll have tosee give them both a shot and see if the extra cost is still worth it. even with the monthly sub it's still nearly double a normal book price"

Guess it depends what books you're getting. I'm admittedly on a legacy membership (been a member since early '05) so I think I pay a little less than current rates, but on my plan, it comes out to $11 per book...even for new releases; this can be a savings if the book is hard to find in print or if it is brand new.

Audible also quite often does Member's Only sales. Some of them are pretty good, like $4.95 books or half-price books. I've grabbed a ton of books through these sales.

I love audiobooks. Audible makes it really easy to buy them, download them, and manage them (they have all of my purchases available for re-download). I listen pretty often. I also like that iOS devices (not sure about Android devices) let you speed up the playback, too. For some narrators, that is a must.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2898 comments Oh yes, the speed options are lifechanging on Audible. Also the bookmarking - it lets you make notes too, which if you are like me, you need!


message 12: by Nick (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments I agree with Jenny and Terpkristin. Being able to speed up the narration is a great feature. And yes it is a feature available on android.


message 13: by Andrew (last edited Nov 21, 2011 07:58PM) (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Agree with all the comments above, Audible actually made audiobooks affordable for me. I joined back in ~2003 so I'm on a legacy plan like terpkristin and pay a little less. I think I even use it was a Diamond Rio MP3 player and thought bookmarking was unreal :). I think each book is ~$10 for me(depends upon exchange rate). When I joined (and likely even now) an audiobook CD could be anywhere up to $100 for some multi CD productions. Even buying the books full price through Audible compares well to physical copies of Audiobooks, and I've only done that on a few occasions normally using credits or taking advantage of sales such that there is normally something in my library to read. Best feature they introduced was the next listen system such that I line up the next books to use my credits on in case I forget. I know in the early days I missed using all my credits on a few occasions.


message 14: by Joyce (last edited Nov 22, 2011 08:34PM) (new)

Joyce (eternity21) | 178 comments Andrew wrote: "Agree with all the comments above, Audible actually made audiobooks affordable for me. I joined back in ~2003 so I'm on a legacy plan like terpkristin and pay a little less. I think I even use it w..."

Oooh remember the Rio MP3 player... I thought I was soo cool when I had one. LOL. My how times have changed. Listening to the books is very addicting. The narrators are almost all really good. I usually start the book at regular speed but once I get the characters down and the tone of the book I speed up to 1 1/2 or even sometimes 2 x


message 15: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Joyce wrote: "Oooh remember the Rio MP3 player... I thought I was soo cool when I had one."

Yeah I had the Rio 500, which I think was their second generation device. A whooping 64mb of internal memory, with a 64mb SD-Card bringing it to a grand total of 128mb - how far we've come. Beyond that however it was pretty nice. Small, backlight, bookmarking, and support for audible.


message 16: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2521 comments If your looking for physical copies of audiobooks, try looking on EBay. Most seem to sell for around $10 which is a great deal. And of course, you can resell them.


message 17: by Don (new)

Don McDonald (dmmacs) | 114 comments I love my audible account. Although I understand not wanting another monthly bill. In addition to the montly credits, the members only sales including credits for about $10 have made the membership more than worth it for me. I've found some $4.95 deals that I probably would not have used one of my monthly credits to read but were definitely worth the time. The faster playback is essential especially on the some of the long books. The android app just recently received the faster playback. I usually use my iPod nano for listening and there is no bookmarking in that version. My only complaint is that you can't sync playback between multiple devices like you can with Kindle.


message 18: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1612 comments I had an audible subscription for a couple of years, but had to drop it when I started listening to too many podcasts. The great thing, is that I still have all those books in my Audible account, and you don't have to have an active subscription to access them. I still have a few I haven't even downloaded yet.

My first MP3 player was the Riovolt. It was a CD based player so you could have as much music as you wanted (in 700MB chunks) and it still played regular CD's as well. It also was smart enough to only spin up when it needed more data, so it was pretty good on batteries. The only thing was, it was a bit bulky, and you had to carry around a handful of CD's if you wanted more then about 150-200 songs.


message 19: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1713 comments Mod
Andrew wrote: "Joyce wrote: "Oooh remember the Rio MP3 player... I thought I was soo cool when I had one."

Yeah I had the Rio 500, which I think was their second generation device. A whooping 64mb of internal me..."


I had the RioVolt SP550!


message 20: by Steve (new)

Steve Davies (one47) | 15 comments I completely understand the O/P asking the question - I am in the UK, so have a lesser choice of books from Audible.co.uk (mostly because RandomHouse appears to be absent from their catalogue) This makes the value proposition of the subscription so much lower, and still the per-book prices without a subscription are way too high!

This is further compounded by presence of the excellent amateur and semi-professional audiobook market. I could regularly donate to several audiobook sites, get quality fiction and still spend less than the lowest Audible subscription rate. In fact I could get the same fiction completely free!

Places to look:
http://escapepod.org - Sci-Fi/Laser
http://pseudopod.org - Horror
http://podcastle.org - Fantasy/Sword
http://podiobooks.com - All sorts.
http://www.starshipsofa.com - SciFi Magazine
http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com - SciFi Magazine
http://www.fantasy-magazine.com - Fantasy magazine (link broken?)

By the time you've added them to your reading/listening list, you will have no time for Audible!

Alternately - I do not want to discourage Amazon from providing the Audible service, I know several people who have visual issues that rely on them for "commercial reading material" it simply is not for me at that price. I can (and do) spend the money on a Kindle or dead-tree books instead.


message 21: by Andrew (last edited Nov 25, 2011 05:36AM) (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @Steve: living downunder I totally sympathise with the available range limitations. At least you have your own .uk site :)

Also thanks for the list of free fiction sites. I wasn't aware of all of them. I will say however that whilst the selection of amateur audiobooks and readings out there are great, I'm not sure on the whole that they compare to quality productions by good narrators and producers. You are rather limited in what is or has been read.

I do have a different view on the value proposition though. With some of the audiobooks being up to 40hrs the entertainment value of an audiobook is pretty good to my eyes, particularly through the subscription plans. The book for this month Elantris I think is ~30hrs, and the 1 book subscription I believe is now $15. ~50c an hour doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Yes books are cheaper, but they are a different medium with different market dynamics.

Also for those with costs concerns, library's normally do a good job with audiobooks. Particularly for those who rely on such (at least they do locally), so they are always a viable avenue.


message 22: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (sweeneyowns) | 43 comments Hey I have been a member of audible for a little more then a year now, and absolutely loving it. I didn't know they had such great plans making it cheaper the longer you have had it. when does that kick in?


message 23: by David (new)

David I absolutely love audible and have been a member for 10 years now, long before it was an amazon company. I was given a month subscription by father when I turned 25 and have loved it ever since. The thing I like best about audible is the ability it gives me to "read" a book as I was walking to class in college or while I am grocery shopping. For me it has been an excellent investment.


message 24: by Joyce (new)

Joyce (eternity21) | 178 comments Podiobooks has some great listens. I really like them. I've even donated for a couple of them because I liked them.


message 25: by Steve (new)

Steve Ko (stko) | 3 comments Another advantage of Audible is the excellent audio quality of the audiobooks. A free alternative to Audible is to borrow books from your local public library (via Overdrive), but I've found the audio quality to be so bad as to be practically unlistenable.


message 26: by Hunter (new)

 Hunter (hunterthestarwarssaga) | 14 comments Ryan wrote: "Hey I have been a member of audible for a little more then a year now, and absolutely loving it. I didn't know they had such great plans making it cheaper the longer you have had it. when does th..."

I think the "legacy" plan people mean that they signed up before the rates got higher, so they were grandfathered in with the old price when they renewed. I doubt your price will ever go down.


message 27: by Anne (new)

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 839 comments Hunter wrote: "I doubt your price will ever go down."

But you can hope for the price to go up and then not apply to your plan. :)


message 28: by Dennis (new)

Dennis | 90 comments I've always wondered how Audible are able to sponsor seemingly hundreds of podcasts and all the Revision 3 shows. Do they have that many people who subscribe and never use their credits?


message 29: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments I know I mentioned it before, but boy do I love Audible sales. In the last month they've had a 50% off sale on tons of titles and then over Thanksgiving weekend they had about 100 books on sale for $4.95. In addition to the two credits per month that I normally use, I ended up buying something like 5 extra books. They're such good deals, it's frightening..


message 30: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (sweeneyowns) | 43 comments Anne wrote: " Hunter wrote: "I doubt your price will ever go down."

But you can hope for the price to go up and then not apply to your plan. :)"


O man, I got excited for a second, I thought they might give deals to loyal customers, o well I can live with the $14.95 per month


message 31: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments I generally buy 1 book a week from audible in addition to the 2 credits a month, sometimes more if there's a sale on. Generally if it's under $20 I buy it, if it's over I use a credit. I wish they had more plans, with as many books as I buy, I'd be willing to pay $45 a month for 4 credits.


message 32: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @Snokat: boy I wish I could get through 2credits + 1 book a week worth of listening. Envious :)


message 33: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Andrew wrote: "@Snokat: boy I wish I could get through 2credits + 1 book a week worth of listening. Envious :)"

I'm a truck driver. got to listen to something while driving 10hrs a day: audiobooks, podcasts, xm radio, etc. 8-D
Depending on the length of the books, I generally listen to 2 or more books a week. Audible isn't my only source of audiobooks, but it is the main one.


message 34: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @Snokat: Ah. That explains it. That's some serious listening time. You must be a real bouffant of knowledge with all that you're consuming.


message 35: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Depends on what you want to know. How to hide from an international assassin? Best spell to use against a goblin horde? How to hide a body on a space station? 8-D

Don't read much non-fiction, generally find it boring.


message 36: by Noel (new)

Noel Baker | 364 comments Andrew wrote: "@Snokat: Ah. That explains it. That's some serious listening time. You must be a real bouffant of knowledge with all that you're consuming."

Bouffant of knowledge? Don't you mean quiff or beehive of knowledge?


message 37: by Tina (new)

Tina (javabird) | 717 comments I tried Audible once, but I found using the books in iTunes unwieldy and had lots of issues with the software--it didn't seem worth it for the price, and I didn't like having to use a separate player app on my iPhone just for Audible books. But I love listening to audiobooks during my daily commute on the bus-- so I've really enjoyed using the Overdrive books from the library (the quality has been great for me). When they're not available, I've borrowed the CD's from the library, but I prefer Overdrive for the convenience.


message 38: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments I absolutely love Audible. I was a member from the beginning. It saved me from the drudgery of diapers and baby talk when I had my child. For some reason, they have not increased the pricing, so I still get 2 audiobooks for $16.95/mos. It really is great pricing when you consider how much audiobooks cost. They also keep everything for you online, so you don't have to clog your computer memory with audio files. They are also the first to have any new audio releases. They work great with my iTunes, iPhone/iPod. I like the convenience of the audio starting from where I left off no matter what I did with my iPhone. The other audios always go back to the beginning if I go to other audio. It's a pain to have to find my place.


message 39: by Aloha (last edited Dec 26, 2011 07:59AM) (new)

Aloha | 919 comments That reminds me, they gave me 3 3 mos. memberships to gift to people, with no credit cards needed.


message 40: by Don (new)

Don | 80 comments I listen a lot, sometimes more than 2 books a month, so I use the platinum plan: 24 credits for $230. You get all the credits at once. About $10 per book. Not bad at all, if you have the lump sum.


message 41: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2521 comments Alex wrote: "However, when I told them I was leaving, they kept coming back with deals. It took me quite a few clicks to finally quit! I think they gave me half-price for the next 3 months if I were to stay on. "

The 3 months for only $7.49 a month is on the main page. It seems they are offering that to all new subscribers.


message 42: by Elie (new)

Elie Harriett | 56 comments I've been with Audible since 2002 and because I always find myself in jobs which have a LOT of driving involved, Audible has been great for me. As things like Podcasts and interlibrary loans have become easier than they were in 2002, I find I don't use Audible for as much as I have in the past, however, and I now have their basic membership, which for me is great. I pay $10 once a year and get notice of sales and I always get discounts. Since I don't purchase audiobooks as much as I used to (see what I just said about podcasts and ILL), the $10 annual fee for a discount of books when I want it is the perfect match for me. I don't have a monthly fee, and Audible always finds a way to get me to come back to their site and see about purchasing books every couple of months or so.


message 43: by Andrew (last edited Dec 28, 2011 10:20PM) (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @AndrewP: Awww.. no fun Mr P. Now we can't have confusing Andrew on Andrew discussions ;)

Anyway $7.49 a mo. is a nice price to see if it is for you. Wish the gift subscription I got a family member for Christmas could have been at that price :(


message 44: by Chad (new)

Chad | 14 comments I joined audible this past July with the platinum account and absolutely love it. Truth be told, I don't have a lot of spare time to sit and read at night and when I do, I find myself reading my RSS articles or magazines. My commute to work is about 80 min round trip. Between that and listening a bit throughout the day I typically average 3 hours / day M-F. This would never happen at home. My 4 year old and 6 month old simply don't allow it :)


message 45: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I'm not just a spokes person for "the Hair Club for Men" I'm a customer....

Wait.. wrong thread... audibile?... ok...oops

(actually I've enjoyed Audibile for a few months now. I like the way they give credits (one per month) and will let some very expensive audiobooks go for a credit. One a month during lean times. I also like their 4.95 page where there are a lot of deals too. )


message 46: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2521 comments Okay, several people have mentioned that they listen to the Audible books at 1.5 or 2x speed. Doesn't that somewhat negate the production quality and skill of the narrator?


message 47: by Derek (new)

Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments AndrewP wrote: "Okay, several people have mentioned that they listen to the Audible books at 1.5 or 2x speed. Doesn't that somewhat negate the production quality and skill of the narrator?"

Depends on the narrator. I can't listen to anything at 2x speed, it's too fast especially if i'm doing anything else while listening, like driving. But I'll try most books at 1.5x speed to see if I can keep up. One series I don't try speeding up is when Will Patton reads James Lee Burke. Patton's southern drawl needs to be listened to a regular speed, it adds atmosphere to the stories.


message 48: by Warren (new)

Warren | 1556 comments My comment was meant as a joke.
I'm usually reading a books
and listening to another.
Audio books have their place.
Particularly during a long trip


message 49: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4203 comments AndrewP wrote: "Okay, several people have mentioned that they listen to the Audible books at 1.5 or 2x speed. Doesn't that somewhat negate the production quality and skill of the narrator?"

Depends. Also depends what works best for the listener. I can rarely listen to books when they're sped up (especially if the narrator has an accent), but I found Wil Wheaton's narration (Fuzzy Nation and Ready Player One) almost unlistenable (for me) without speeding it up.


message 50: by Warren (new)

Warren | 1556 comments I found that speeding up works with some narratives.
Not well on others.
Sort of like you can scan a newspaper
but not a physics book.
The voice also makes a big difference.
I enjoy listening to some more then others


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