As a professional voiceover artist, you’d think I’d have been more up-to-speed on the audiobook market. I listen to spoken audio all the time — the majority of it coming from an extensive collection of tapes and CDs which I’ve manually converted for listening on my iPod.
I recently discovered Audible.com — and I’ve stepped into the future! Audible is like Amazon.com for audiobooks. The awesome thing is you download titles directly to your computer.
How It Works
Audible runs on a membership system; you select either the Gold or Platinum program, depending on how many titles you consume in a month. (Gold gives you one “credit” each month, which can be redeemed for one audiobook. Platinum gives you two.)
You can opt for a monthly or Annual plan, the latter of which gives you all of your credits for the year at once.
If you’re out of credits, you can always purchase additional titles. Audible’s prices are very reasonable, much less than what you’d pay to buy the same titles on CD.
Remembering the Past
I can’t help but recall how acquiring and listening to audiobooks used to be — particularly unabridged ones, which are the only kind true aficionados would ever bother with.
I used to get a paper catalog from a leading audiobook publisher. At that time, everything they offered was on cassette. Since an average-sized book can easily equal 20 hours of audio, that usually meant large clamshell boxes filled with tapes.
Most people wouldn’t buy a pile of cassettes they’d listen to once, so the company had a rent-by-mail program: You’d keep a set for as long as you needed, then ship it back in a postage-paid box when you were finished. It was cost-effective, but cumbersome and slow.
Of course, you could borrow tapes for free from your local library, though especially with the bigger sets, there was always a good chance that at least one would be missing or damaged.
Welcome to Now
Audible.com has over 75,000 titles, and their vast inventory is easily searchable. When you see a title you want, add it to your cart. When you checkout, Audible deducts the credits and starts the download.
There are currently five options for audio quality/file size. I always go with the “Enhanced” option, which delivers the largest file and the best sound. (It also takes longest to download.)
If you don’t want to wait, or have limited space on your iPod, you might select one of the lower-fi options. You can re-download a title at any time at a higher or lower bitrate.
A Great Deal
After that, if you decide to continue, you’ll be charged $14.95/month.
Audible also has a generous affiliate program you can join, so once you’re a member you can share your own impressions about the service and earn a 20% commission from anyone who signs up. (Will I receive a commission if you sign up through this article? You betcha!)
Click the box to the right to start enjoying the benefits of an Audible.com membership now!