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My Year in Audiobooks: Jumping on the Audible Bandwagon

My Year in Audiobooks: Jumping on the Audible Bandwagon post image

This week is Audiobook Week over at Devourer of Books. Even though I’m a little late, this is my response to Monday’s discussion topic: My Audiobook Year.

My audiobook life took a giant step forward this April when I finally signed up for Audible, a digital service for buying and downloading audiobooks. For the moment, my membership to Audible is an experiment. I don’t listen to a ton of audiobooks, but I’ve always wondered if I would listen to more if had better and more convenient options.

In the past, all of my audiobooks have come from the library. I listened mostly when I had long car rides planned, and chose books at random depending on what the library had in stock when I went to visit. I was too lazy to copy the CDs to my computer so I could put them on my iPod, so I was stuck only listening when I was near a CD player (hence, my car).

I tried maintaining that system when I moved last year, but ran into a few problems — my new library has a rather limited audiobook selection and I am not in the car as much for commuting or for long car trips. I started a few audiobooks on trips to visit my parents (about three hours each direction), but ended up abandoning more audiobooks than I enjoyed. If I wanted to listen to audiobooks, I would need to find a different system.

I started thinking about joining Audible back in January when I was trying to exercise (walk/run) more regularly. I found that I really loved listening to podcasts rather than music during those activities, but quickly ran through most of the podcasts I usually listen to and needed other spoken word options.

After going back and forth for a long, long time, I finally just decided to take the plunge and sign up for Audible in April. I didn’t look into many other services, since I know a number of people who use Audible and recommend it. Plus, it seemed like the most cost-effective service I could use to pay for audiobooks.

After looking at the various membership options (and ensuring that I could cancel if it wasn’t working for me), I decided to sign up for the most basic plan — $14.95 per month for one audiobook credit each month (most books can be purchased for a single credit). I also get 30 percent off titles that I want to buy without credits. If I cancel my membership, I will still have access to all of the audiobooks I previously purchased.

After just two months being a member, I’ve already seen a few benefits:

1) I’m listening to more audiobooks. In 2011, I listened to only five audiobooks over the course of the entire year. Since joining Audible two months ago, I’ve finished two audiobooks (one was Catherine the Great — almost 24 hours) and am starting on a third. The monthly option, so far, seems just about right for my listening pace.

2) I have more audiobook choices. I really think that having more options for audiobooks makes me want to listen more. I can pick books that I WANT to read, rather than just choosing from the options in front of me. I hope the quality of books I’m going to listen to will increase.

3) I can listen to audiobook digitally. This is a huge selling point for me. With the Audible app for my Android phone, I can listen to audiobooks whenever I want without any effort on my part. I’ve also listened to books on both my work and home computers using Audible’s digital download services. It’s been awesome.

4) I can listen to audiobooks more economically. I know Audible isn’t as inexpensive as the library, which is free, but in general my membership is a much more cost-effective solution than buying books individually. Audible also has a decent rolling selection of books on sale, or options to buy more credits for a reduced rate, so I don’t think I will ever run out of reasonable options.

So far, I’ve used my membership to pick up three books, and bought a five more as part of various sales. In total, I’ve spent about $56 and have eight audiobooks in my collection. I know the cost per book is going to go up eventually, but for now I think that’s more than reasonable.

Certainly, I’m still in the honeymoon phase of my relationship experiment with Audible, but for now I’m absolutely sold. It’s fun for me to spend the month thinking about what book I’m going to use my credit for and finding more time in my day to listen to my current read. Washing dishes has never been as fun! (I kid, I kid…nothing could make that chore not awful, except a dishwasher.)

I don’t know that I’ll ever be a voracious audiobook listener, but for a pretty nominal price (and a regular exercise in self-restraint), I’ve been able to find a way to listen to audiobooks that is, so far, working well for me.

Disclosure: I signed up for Audible myself and am paying it for myself. I haven’t received any benefits from Audible to write this post. Just FYI. 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick June 28, 2012, 6:43 am

    I signed up for Audible earlier this year and love it! It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying full price on iTunes, along with more options than the library. It’s also much easier to download than the library (which, by the way, I hate to say that about the library since I love them), but Audible has been such an amazing thing for me. I have been running for the past couple of weeks, which I never thought I’d enjoy, and I know it’s because I’ve decided to forego music and instead go with a book. Much, much better!

    • Kim July 11, 2012, 7:20 pm

      When I was running (or, more accurately, trying to learn to run), audiobooks were what kept me going. Music just wasn’t cutting it, which isn’t something I ever thought would happen to me as I was working out.

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) June 28, 2012, 7:19 am

    I generally have an audiobook on my phone and one in my car. I haven’t signed up for audible yet because I hate monthly bills like that.

  • susan June 28, 2012, 8:09 am

    thanks for the info. Audible does sound more reasonable than buying from iTunes. I will look into Audible

    • Kim July 11, 2012, 7:21 pm

      In general, I think it’s a little bit cheaper. I didn’t look into iTunes much before I signed up though.

  • Jen - Devourer of Books June 28, 2012, 9:01 am

    I still haven’t signed up for Audible because I tend to already have more audiobooks I want to listen to than time to get to them, but with the twins coming and not being able to get to the library as often I may have to give in.

    • Kim July 11, 2012, 7:21 pm

      If I had better options at the library, I probably wouldn’t have done it, but I’m so impulsive with my audiobook habits that the library just wasn’t quite cutting it for me.

  • Dorothy - The Alaskan Bookie June 28, 2012, 9:36 am

    I have an audible account and I still end up buying audiobooks. Two credits per month just isn’t enough! I keep checking for a bigger package!

    Dorothy – The Alaskan Bookie – Squeak
    Blog ~ http://alaskanbookie.blogspot.com/
    Twitter ~ http://twitter.com/AkChocoholic

  • Emma @ Words And Peace June 28, 2012, 10:23 am

    wow, that’s an investment. I don’t think I have ever bought an audiobook, actually I hardly ever buy any book, though I read/listen to about 100 books/year. I mainly get them all from my library. If you want new ones, the trick is to request them as soon as they are listed, that is, a few weeks before publication date. that way, I manged to get 1Q84 the day it came out in bookstores! and to plan ahead to get audiobooks through overdrive and click digital, the 2 databases available in my public library.
    i’ll tell more about my other ways to get audiobooks on tomorrow’s post, as it will be the topic.
    here are my answers for today: http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/06/28/what-makes-a-good-narrator-audiobook-week-discussion/

    • Kim July 11, 2012, 7:22 pm

      I think the library would work for me if I planned ahead better… but I just don’t, at least not with audiobooks. So, I think, at least for now, Audible is a good middle, even if it is an investment.

  • Lucy @ The Reading Date June 28, 2012, 10:28 am

    I like how quick and easy it is downloading audiobooks from Audible. Digital is my preferred format so audible is a time saver. And I love their sales! Happy listening 🙂

    • Kim July 11, 2012, 7:22 pm

      That’s been huge for me too — it’s much easier to listen digitally around my house than it is to use a CD.

  • Kailana June 28, 2012, 11:37 am

    I have looked at Audible but haven’t actually joined myself… My libraries audio section is depressing, so I really should join and see what happens!

  • Laurie C June 28, 2012, 8:50 pm

    It’s sad to see so many comments about the poor selection at the library! If you place holds online in advance, you can usually borrow from a whole network of libraries not just choose from the slim pickings that are on the shelf. I haven’t made the plunge into Audible, because I usually have more on hand than I can listen to as it is, as someone else said. I do transfers from CD (if your library offers MP3-CDs, those are a godsend!) to listen with an iPod.

    • Kim July 11, 2012, 7:24 pm

      Absolutely. My library is part of a network, and as a whole the network has a pretty good selection, but I don’t ever seem to plan ahead enough to get audiobooks when I’m going to want them — before this, for long car trips. So I’d go to the library the day before a trip to pick something out and only have my small library’s collection to choose from. A big part of Audible is paying for my own poor planning.

  • Sarah June 29, 2012, 9:19 pm

    Audio books don’t work for me, after 10 minutes the sound becomes background noise and I am not even hearing it anymore. Maybe if the first audio books I heard weren’t terrible I’d like them better, (I’ve heard some good ones too) but I think I’m a printed work person. That said, if it works for you, great!

    • Kim July 11, 2012, 7:25 pm

      I think you have to train yourself a bit. I used to only listen in the car — I had the same problem listening at home or doing chores or whatever. But I’ve gradually transitioned to being able to listen in more places as I get used to them. That’s not to say that will work for everyone, but it worked for me.