Earlier this month, I decided to sign up for Audible.com’s free trial. During the trial, you can get a one-month membership — including one audiobook download — for free. Of course, you need a credit card to get in on this, and you have to remember to cancel otherwise you’ll be automatically billed for the lowest membership level once the trial is over. On the plus side, since Audible is owned by Amazon, your sign-in can be linked, making the process very quick and easy.
Audible has apps for both Apple and Android devices, so I got the one for my iPhone. Once I did that, I was able to browse for and select a book for the free trial. I decided to go for a very long book (I don’t really see the point of listening to short books on audio), as well as one that sounded like it would be difficult to plod through on my own. Once I found a suitable title that was more than 24hrs long, I downloaded it via the app and started listening.
The great thing about listening to books via Audible is that you can increase the speed of the narration. Sometimes readers are so slow that books take unnecessarily long to finish. But with the Audible app, you can listen at 1.25, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 X the original speed, which makes a HUGE difference. HUGE. This is akin to skimming when you’re reading on your own, and really helps make the boring parts fly right by. Also, if you come across a narrator that is reading too fast for your liking, you can slow the pace down to .5 speed. I haven’t needed to do that yet, but can imagine it being helpful for more difficult books.
So there was no problem with the app, the downloading, or the interface. Next, I wanted to test Audible’s no-question return policy, where you can return an audiobook for any reason (including the fact that you just didn’t like it) for one store credit (since all books “cost” one credit, this basically amounts to an even exchange between titles). And sure enough, the return process worked without a hitch — even on the free trial membership book (which I sincerely loathed anyway). The fine print on the return policy says Audible reserves the right to cancel your return privileges if they feel you are abusing the program or not using it in the spirit in which it was intended. Fair enough.
After listening to my second book of the free trial, which was much more to my tastes, I went ahead and decided to cancel my membership. Again, this was mostly to see how easy the process would be, and also because I had a sneaking suspicion that I would get some kind of special offer to continue on. Sure enough, before my cancellation was submitted, I was asked to join for 3 months at a reduced rate of $7.49 per month (approximately 50% off the regular Gold Membership plan of $14.95/mo.). I accepted.
So that’s where I stand now. By the time my 3 months is up, I will have received 5 full-length audiobooks (mine to keep no matter how I finish in the game) for $22.50, or $4.50 each. Not bad at all!
But this was not just some elaborate scam to score a handful of cheap audiobooks. The truth is that I love Audible and plan to upgrade to the Platinum membership (24 books per year for $229) as soon as this discounted Gold membership runs out. I listen to audiobooks all the time, and though my local public library has a pretty good selection, it doesn’t come close to what Audible offers. And Audible is MUCH cheaper than iTunes. If I ever want to purchase books outside the limit imposed by my membership, I can do so at far lower prices than I could get anywhere else. I’m sold — and I haven’t even touched on the Whispersync features that allow you to continue reading on your Kindle when you don’t want to listen anymore!
Anyway, the bottom line is that Audible is definitely worth the money for me!