What’s So Great About Audible, Anyway?

March 19, 2012
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Think You Don’t Have Time To Read? Think Again.

As a busy, single mother of a young daughter and teenaged son, not to mention being an author and running several websites as well, I used to despair of ever again being able to read all those great books I kept hearing about. As my ‘to read’ stack of purchased hardcovers, paperbacks and Kindle books grew, so did my doubt that it would get any smaller before my youngest was in college. There was simply never enough time or quiet for me to indulge in the luxury of settling into a good book for a couple of hours. Oh, I’d give it the old college try, but soon enough I’d find outside distractions intruding so much that I’d be reading the same paragraph over and over again.

As a reader, I missed the simple joy of losing myself in a made-up world of fiction, or in a gripping or fascinating nonfiction book. As an author, I knew the lack of literature in my life was hurting my own writing.

Then I discovered Audible audiobooks. It’s no exaggeration to say it has changed my life.

“Isn’t Audible More Expensive Than Buying Regular Books?” NO.

Let’s just address this myth right up front. Despite what you may have heard, Audible makes economic sense. I pay $23 per month to get 2 “listener credits” per month under the Platinum plan, but there’s also a Gold plan that starts at $7.95 for the first three months, then goes up to $14.95. Each month, I’m allowed to “spend” my credits on any audiobook on the site—and the vast majority of books, even very lengthy titles like Stephen King’s The Stand (48 hours of quality listening!), only cost one credit each. In the three or so years I’ve been an Audible member, I can’t recall a single time I’ve had to spend more than one credit on a book—even brand new, NYT Bestselling releases.

Compare the $11.50 per book I’m paying for Audible books to the typical $12 cover price for a trade paperback, $24 cover price for a new hardcover, and $10-$15 for a mainstream Kindle bestseller, and you can see I’m paying the same or less for my Audible books as I’d pay for other formats. But most importantly, if I could only get books in those other formats, I wouldn’t be “reading” them at all.

Also, as a member, I can buy additional titles each month at a discount (typically 30%, sometimes more) if I’ve already used my credits.

Audiobooks Are Great For Multitaskers

Being a consummate multitasker, as most moms are, I was thrilled to find I could download books to my various devices—like my Fire!—and have them read aloud to me while I tended to mindless household chores, like washing dishes or folding laundry.

Audiobooks have made commute time a pleasure; I don’t mind being caught in traffic snarls when I’m engrossed in an entertaining book. Sometimes, I’m even disappointed to have reached my destination, and end up sitting in the car an extra 15 minutes or so to get to the end of a chapter! Likewise, waiting outside my kids’ schools for pickup in the afternoons—as parents know, you must get there early if you have any hope of finding a parking spot—no longer feels like a complete waste of time.

While it’s true that Kindle books with Text-to-Speech (TTS) enabled can be read aloud too, they’re basically being translated from digital print to digital audio by a computerized voice. It’s pretty good, but it can’t hold a candle to having a book performed for you by skilled actors.

Kindle TTS Books Are Read Aloud, But Audible Audiobooks Are PERFORMED

I’ve found myself gravitating to favorite narrators (like Tim Curry – highly recommended!) and in doing so I’ve discovered books well outside the genres I usually favor. Curry’s reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is so well-done, I found myself listening to it over and over again, from the beginning of December well past New Year’s Day. And better still, Audible provided it free of charge to Audible members as a holiday bonus! Free content is one of the benefits of membership, and I’ve found some real gems among the free downloads made available each month.

Full-cast performances, with different actors reading the various roles, are a real treat, too. I can hardly recommend the hilarious America: The Audiobook (from Jon Stewart and the cast of The Daily Show) highly enough, for example.

Why Not Give It A Try – For Free?

If you’ve never tried Audible, take a chance! New members can try the service out for free in a 30-day trial*. You may find, as I have, that you enjoy having books performed for you so much, it’ll become your preferred “reading” method. If you need more information or help with audiobooks on your Fire, there’s a help page here that should get you up and running in a snap.

 

*This offer will start you on a free, 30-day trial of an Audible Gold membership plan, which gives you one credit per 30 days. If you decide to remain a member at the end of the 30 day trial period, you’ll be billed $7.95 per month for the first three months, then your monthly fee will adjust to $14.95. At the end of those three months, or at any time after the initial, 30-day trial, you can upgrade to a Platinum membership, which gives you 2 member credits each month for $23 per month ($11.50 per book).

 

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One Response to What’s So Great About Audible, Anyway?

  1. Eric J. Krause on March 19, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I love Audible. It makes my walks so much more entertaining, and I’ve found some great books that I’m not sure I would have read otherwise. Plus they not only have really good sales ($4.95 for certain full-length books), but they have occasionally put $10 of credit in my account. Not bad at all!

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