I got into audio books a little while after my Aunty Sue gave me a book about an Australian story on CD, I had just started working for an e-commerce company who had a contract with Amazon, and as part of my research for the company when I first started, I was just perusing everything that amazon had on offer… and stumbled across audible.

The first book I ever listened to through audible was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Presents Earth: a visitor’s guide. Earth_cover

This was part of the free audio book sign up kind of thing. 1 free book trial of 30 days… or whatever it was.  I think that’s a great marketing tool by the way.

The benefits of an audiobook over a normal book

I think being able to appreciate the story without having to actually sit down and read, is fantastic.

Cooking- listen to a book;
Eating your lunch- listen to a book,
Driving- listen to a book
Working on something very basic- listen to a book.

These are all things that you normally need your hands for, but now you can appreciate a book at the same time.  I find it fantastic.

There’s also other things, like reading a book before you go to sleep, and actually having to hold it up, worry about falling asleep with the light on, putting on reading glasses, and all of that.

Well not with the audio book.

The other thing, is production values.

If it’s a normal book like the kind of ones I choose, then normally its read by a narrator, however this will be a narrator chosen by the  publishing company to give the story the best feel it can have.  They will be narrators / voice actors, so all the different characters will have  a different accent, different pitch and a different way of speaking.  It really brings the story to life.

And then if it’s something like a Star Wars audio book or something, then you’ll also get a whole bunch of background music as well, so you will be able to hear the light-sabers humming in the air, the sound of metal breaking when a ship gets shot down, the official Star Wars music and everything.  It’s fantastic!

Listening via the audible app.

Anyway, normally when you listen to an audio book it is on CD, or via iTunes…and then you have only the option of listening through iTunes… or maybe the whole audio book is just 1 big audio file, it’s not separated out or anything.

Audible though?
The app that they have is absolutely fantastic, everything is split up into manageable chapters, you can add bookmarks in case you hear a particularly interesting thing.  (very good for non-fiction books)
You obviously have all the normal functions any player has, play, pause, fast forward, fast forward 2x, skip chapter.

View ChaptersBookmarks

It also has some nifty functions such as a button that allows you to go back or forward 30 seconds; a sleep timer… for if you want to listen to a book before you go to bed, but you don’t want it continuously playing…and then having to go back and find the spot again.
A button-free mode…for which I’ve never used.

MainAppScreenSleepTimerNarration Speed

You can select the speed of the playback, anyway up to 3x the normal rate, and ½ as fast as the normal rate.  And it works on a sliding scale too…  so you can choose 0.85x if you want or 1.15 x as well, if you feel the narrators voice is just a little too slow.

Also not all your titles have to be kept on your device, you 1st download them from the cloud (your whole audible book library) and then put them on your chosen device.  So if you wish to clear up memory on your phone or whatever, you don’t have to worry about not being able to listen to a book again….downloading it to your device means that you can listen to your book offline.

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And the online shop is so easy to use as well, to navigate your library, add items to your wish-list, check-out, everything is very intuitive.

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The audible program is just such a well-worth-it program, so much so that I got a 1 year subscription for my mum for her birthday 2 years ago.

We combined it into a family account so that she can listen to my books, I can listen to hers. But also so dad or my brother can listen if they want.

I also got it for a French friend’s wedding gift. I think something like that provides an ideal gift because its allowing them to discover new, and also allow them to choose what they want to listen to.

For each account, you can have as many as 3 devices or something that use the account.  Which obviously its meant to mean you can use it over multiple devices but in reality it also allows family members to use it.

So you can compare books you read with them very easily. Not having to send a book overseas or anything like that, or wait until 1 person has finished the book before another can start it.

Audible.com also has what’s called a ‘great listen guarantee’ where you’re allowed to return a book no questions asked.

http://audible.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4592/~/what-is-the-great-listen-guarantee%3F

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I think I’ve done this twice or 3 times for the 78 books I’ve bought.

Wow, that’s a lot of books in fact. But every so now and then, you need a bit of escapism.. and the majority of books that I’ve chosen are just absolutely fantastic.

Anyway, what’s interesting is that the one’s that you return, you get your money back, but if you’ve already downloaded them to your device, then they will remain on your device.  (they won’t be deleted)

The only thing is that you won’t be able to write reviews for the book anymore.. which I find is a bit bad, because if you think a book is terrible, you want to be able to warn other as to its terribleness.

The secret is to write a review, then return the book I guess.

Oh and so this ‘no questions asked’ means that it works on a trust basis, meaning that essentially, if you really wanted to, you could buy a book, listen to it, keep it on your device, return it, buy another book…do the same until you’ve only paid for 1 book.

However, for my mind, audible is offering such a great service, and they’re choosing to bring the most interesting books to life that I’m quite happy to keep paying for the books provided that in my mind, they offer good value.

So how much does it cost for a membership?

Essentially how it works is that you pay for a subscription, each month its 14.95 and this gives you 1 credit.  For that 1 credit, you can purchase any book regardless of price.

It also allows you to get 30% off the regular price.

Also when you gift a book to someone, you pay the same 30% reduced price.

Now obviously if the books price is 3 dollars, and you’re paying 14.95 for the credit, which is exchanged for the book; then you should just buy the book with cash rather than using the credit, and you have the option to do that which is great.

audible benefits

There will be sales which are only open to members, like use 1 credit, get 2 books, or 50% off everything, or 50% off everything in your wishlist.

Plus, if you ever run out of credits you have the option to buy 3 more which end up costing around 11.95 per credit.

I’ve done that a few times in fact.

You can cancel your membership anytime you want, and your account remains open and active, so you can keep listening to all the books you’ve already bought.

It’s a bit strange though… because if you sign up to the USA version you will have access to all books, but if you sign up to the Australian version, then you will have a more limited access to books.. That being said it will be cheaper.

My advice is if you have an American address, use that because there’s nothing more annoying that choosing the book you’re wanting to get only to find out ‘this book is not available in your region’

I find it a bit stupid, because it’s digital material.  You’d expect you’d be able to take the digital material wherever you want. I’ve argued this with audible customer service people…but they can only state that licensing and publishing rights work for digital copies as well.

But anyway,

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You also get free access to special channels as well as news journals…. I haven’t used this feature very much, but its nice to have this as an option, plus it shows that they’re constantly trying to provide you better value.

http://www.audible.com/mt/member-benefits/ref=a_hp_ct4_tnaft_0?ie=UTF8&pf_rd_r=1RW74N6GE648RD8SKAX6&pf_rd_m=A2ZO8JX97D5MN9&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=5000&pf_rd_p=2803384282&pf_rd_s=top-nav-ftx

Audible customer service is Amazon customer service and its top notch. I always choose ‘Chat’ and am helped straight away.

Currently my Membership is the ‘Gold’ plan, which means 1 credit every month for the equivalent price of 14.95 per book.  But there are other options available:

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So all in all, would I recommend it?

Well I think you might have been able to tell throughout this giant article, that the answer is most definitely yes.

I have been a member since the end of 2014, and I have around 80 titles in my library.  I have given memberships to my mum, and as wedding gifts as well as individual gifting booked to colleagues etc.

I can’t recommend audio books, and in specific the audible.com program highly enough.

It has honestly changed my life.

Providing that extra bit of escapism is awesome, especially when you’re doing something monotonous like cooking or driving, you can enjoy a book that you wouldn’t normally get to enjoy.

One great example of this is for myself in the Netherlands, listening to a story book on the way to work, and then learning French with a colleague driving home from work.

I mean seriously, that’s pretty awesome.

From this you feel much more productive as you’re always learning something, or always discovering something new, even when you’re doing the same old same old that you have to do in everyday life.

I would say, sign up to audible for their free trial, get your 2 free audio books and try it out for yourself.

There’s meant to be an advert below which is a link for you to get 2 free audio books….if you can’t see it, ‘allow ads’ or ‘disable adblocker’  from your adblocker software on this website.  

Happy listening!

If not… then click this link:
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks