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July 20, 2013

My Experience with Audible - @Audible_com

As a multi-tasker, I enjoy audio books because I can keep up with my reading and get other stuff done. I typically get my audio books from the library, particularly the digital download library. However, there aren't many MP3 files so I couldn't listen in the car because my Android phone doesn't play WMA files. I've been going back and forth about whether to get an Audible membership. So when I was contacted about doing a review of Audible, I jumped at the chance.

My Experience:

First, I didn't know you could use Audible without a membership, but you can purchase a la carte from Audible. If you have an Amazon account, you can use the log-in to establish your Audible account (Yay! Not another log-in to remember!). Establishing my account was quick and easy. The next task was a bit harder - choosing a book to buy. 

Audible was kind enough to provide me 2 credits in order to play with their system for this review. All the audio books were showing a list price (most audio books looked to be around $20 - $30) and I wasn't exactly sure what a "credit" would get me. I went looking for an FAQ or help link and I couldn't find it. 

When I did finally find it (I hovered the cursor over "Hi, Donna"), I learned a credit is equal to 1 audio book (a few exceptions apply).

So now I was back to trying to decide what I wanted to listen to. There are a number of categories and ways of narrowing down the choices. I didn't find the "Trending" list to be helpful - there was a 1 star review being promoted in the scrolling list. Since this was the first time I was using Audible there was no buy or search history for suggestions based on my reading tastes available. I thought since Audible is an Amazon company it would have been able to pull at least my buying history to help make recommendations. 

Thanks to my friends on Facebook and Twitter, I had a few titles to research which led me to other titles. I quickly decided on The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Gailbrath (buy at Amazon) - I figured now that it had been leaked that it is actually J. K. Rowling, I won't be able to get a copy from the library for a while. The second book choice was harder. Like on Amazon, when you look at one title you get "people also bought" suggestions. This led me to The Never List by Koethi Zan. (Buy at Amazon)

The Never List was just released and had no reviews. Again, I wish Amazon and Audible were connected and reviews from Amazon were visible. I had to go over to the Amazon site to read a few reviews.

With my books chosen, I checked out and figured out how to listen to them. Downloading the AudibleManager for my PC was relatively easy. I did have to go to Help again to find out why I couldn't activate a device. Speaking of activating, I'm impressed with the number of devices you can connect to your account - 3 of any one kind of device. That means 3 computers, and 3 iDevices, and 3 Androids could all be connected. Additionally, you can burn your book to CD. 

Installing the Audible App on my phone was even easier. I love that I could see what chapter I was on and not just how much time was left.

I was excited to see syncing between devices was possible. My biggest dislike for audio books I get from the library is that I have to remember where I am when I change devices. I might, at work, be listening on my computer, but then I want to listen in the car on my smartphone. And of course when I get home I want to listen on my laptop.

I had listened to my book on my phone during the day, but when I got home I wanted to switch to my laptop because I needed to do some work around the house and didn't have pockets to keep my phone with me.I fired up AudibleManager and tried to figure out how to sync it. And this is when I become less pleased with Audible. There was no "help" about syncing computer and Android device. Actually there is little in the way of Android device help, though a lot for iDevices. The Android video tutorial was even marked as a private video.  (I have an Android phone and an Android tablet, so not having help with these devices is a big bummer). I never did figure out a way to sync my phone and computer.

Since the Audible app on my phone told me what chapter I was on, I thought I could find my place that way. No can do. There was no way to see chapters in the AudibleManager. When I use Overdrive for my digital downloads from the library I can get a list of parts so I can quickly choose where I am in the audio book when changing devices. This didn't appear possible with AudibleManager, either. I had to fast forward 5 hours to get to my place.

My Recommendation

While I'm not sure I will purchase audio books in the future, I know if I do I would more than likely use Audible. I really like how so many devices can be connected. My mom and I have similar reading tastes and it would be nice to be able to share audio books I purchase with her in the same way we share physical books. The failed attempt to sync my phone and computer and the limited options of AudibleManager is keeping me from whole-heartedly recommending Audible. 

The selection is huge and probably anything I wanted to listen to would be available. 

Should you purchase a la carte or sign up with a membership?

If you are an avid audio book listener the membership is a great savings. With the basic plan of $14.95, you get one credit per month. For most titles that would mean $5 - $15 savings. Audible prices are already lower than the CD price at Amazon (remember you can burn your own CD copy). 

Like your phone minutes, credits roll over each month as long as you continue with your membership, but they have an "expiration" date so to speak. With the basic $14.95 plan, you can have up to 6 credits on your account at a time. The good news: you can put your account on hiatus. If you haven't purchased an audio book in 6 months, you can put your account on hold for up to 3 months to give you time to use up your credits before more are issued. However, you can only do this once every 12 months. 

Final Thoughts and Special Offer:

Overall, I liked Audible and definitely recommend it to anyone looking to purchase digital audio books. If you would like to try out Audible without the membership commitment, Audible has a special offer for my readers.

Get a FREE download at Audible 
(must use this link)

If you need some audio book recommendations, check out my recent reviews.

Girl Who Reads received free credits in order to provide an honest review of No other compensation was received. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the links above. 

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  1. I've been an avid Audible user for years. I actually buy the Platinum Membership and some years have to renew early. I love the ease of being able to drive, clean, cook, and whatever other chore I must do while "reading." Perhaps because I've been using them for so long, I find Audible quite easy to use. Like anything else, it takes a while to get used to. Audible has incredible customer service and will accept returns on any books, no questions asked. I wish they'd let me review for them.
    But I think more of us need to get our books on there because there really is a big market for it and people really do use it.

    1. It was really easy to use. And if I was really into buying audio books I would sign up.

  2. Thank you so much for this informative post. I usually get my audio cds from the library. I've been thinking of using Audible but I didn't want to pay...maybe I'll try a la cart every once in a while.

    1. I saw a few audio books listed below $10 so I'll probably see what they have for bargain books and do the a la carte method too.

  3. I've been an Audible member for nearly 10 years (when I'd load it onto my Palm Pilot!) and I have to say I like it a lot more since Amazon took over. I agree that the Audible Manager for PC is not nearly as easy to use as the other apps and I'd bet that's because it's barely been updated since I first started with Audible. I hope they plan to bring it up to speed with the other apps because it's so glaringly bad compared to the rest.

    1. I liked the Android app so it would be great if they did some updating to the PC manager.