February 2012 update: The 84th edition of the Annual Academy Awards is almost here. Some of this year’s nominees are based on books. You can get them in audio format from Audible by clicking on the links below:
Do you like reading? Is it too hard for you to find time for it? You are not alone. I also love to read but can’t always do it. On the other hand, there’s so much time “wasted” every day with household chores, commuting or waiting in line at the bank or at the post office, or wherever else there are too few clerks for so many customers. That’s a time when your mind is not solicited to think. You could read if you only had a spare pair of eyes and a third hand. This is where audiobooks can help you. I can listen to audiobooks while cleaning the stove, sweeping the floor or ironing dresses. I would listen to them in my car during rush hours. Just think of a situation in which you need to wait and do nothing and you got an excellent occasion to listen to one more book.
Downloading audiobooks is cheaper than buying them on CD
By the time I discovered audiobooks, internet was slow and expensive, so I didn’t even think to check if there were any downloading websites available. I used to buy new titles on tape or CD for amounts between $20 and $30. It may not sound expensive, but believe me, it adds up in no time. There are cheaper options these days. I’m not thinking anything illegal here. I believe people who worked to make an audiobook deserve to get paid for their work. I’m talking about membership sites where you pay a monthly subscription and you get access to a list of titles which you can download either for free, as part of your subscription, or for a discounted fee. One of these sites is Audible.com. It features over 85,000 titles, across a wide range of genres. This how The New York Times described it: “Audible.com offers digital ‘books on tape’ for the intellectually inclined”.
How Audible.com works
All books in Audible’s online library can be downloaded and played on your Apple iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android phones or any other similar devices. Titles are grouped in broad categories such as Classics, Fiction, Romance, Business, Health & Fitness and so on, then each of these categories is divided into smaller classes, making it very easy to find what you’re looking for.
There are two ways you can download audiobooks in Audible. You can download them one at a time, without having to subscribe. In this case, you’ll pay the full price which is displayed on the site. The second option is to become a member.
Members pay a monthly or a yearly fee, which gives them a number of credits depending on the subscription type they choose. They can use these credits to download whatever titles they want from the library. Should they need more downloads than the ones their membership allows, they get a 30% member-only discount on everything that exceeds their plan. If you don’t want to become a member, you can buy any audiobook you want, but you’re going to pay the full price. It’s still a good deal, but not as good as a membership. Taking into consideration that you can cancel your subscription any time, it’s a good idea to subscribe, get the title you want, then cancel. With the current promotional offer, the first three months of membership are only $7.49 a month. This entitles you to download one audiobook for each of these months. There are only a few titles that are worth more than one credit, so you’ll probably find a book you’d like without having to pay extra.
The first things you see when you start browsing the audiobooks are the Best Sellers and the New and Notable. Here are only a few of the titles in those sections. If you want to see more, just click on the images below:
All audiobooks feature little samples available for free. It’s not much, but you get a feeling of what you’re going to buy. Each book has details about the publisher, the length of the narration, the release date and the audio formats available. The customer review section is cool. You can see the rating of the book, the number of people who rated it and you can read customer reviews. I’ve chosen a review excerpt for Tina Fey’s Bossypants:
Absolutely awesome audiobook. It’s almost always better when the author narrates their own book and in this case Tina’s narrative definitely makes Bossypants one of the most enjoyable books I’ve listened to/read so far.
Audiobooks can be downloaded wirelessly on the iPad, iPad 2 or iPhone. For the time being, iPads don’t have a dedicated app. You can use the Audible app for iPhone which is available in iTunes App Store. The latest Kindle devices allow shopping directly for Audible Audiobooks. There’s a dedicated node for that. There’s an Audible application in Android Market, as well as one for BlackBerry smartphones.
Last but not least, Audible has this special offer: you can get the first 3 months at Audible for $7.49/month. That’s half of the regular membership price and you can cancel it any time, be it within the three months or after.
The offer applies only to the AudibleListener® Gold Membership Plan. One thing you should take care of: when you subscribe, you’ll get billed monthly and the billing goes on even after the first three months. Starting with the 4th month, the monthly fee is $14.95. If you don’t want it, you need to cancel your membership. You can do it at any time. I’m sure they hope some people forget to cancel, but the offer is good, so it’s worth taking.
In addition to audiobooks, Audible also provides podcasts, stand-up comedy, magazines, radio shows and speeches from various personalities in business, culture or politics.
If you want to know more, click here to see all Audible plans and current promotions.