Audible.com: Caveat auditor

I have been sold on the value of books on tape for a long time now. But sadly my old standby BooksOnTape.com stopped renting and then, as an added insult, decimated their collection down to bestsellers. No sign of a long tail here. They seem to have some deal with Audible.com, so I took my business there to give it a try.

Actually, even the phrase “books on tape” has become something of an anachronism these days. Now I download books to my iPod in seconds via Audible. It’s a pretty good service, but Audible’s site is maddening. The design makes browsing for titles painful and slow, and the implementation is so JavaScript-heavy that you can’t pop open multiple tabs. The site logs you out after what seems like 30 seconds of inactivity, forcing you to restart your session if you aren’t a Type-A hard-driving online shopper. And if you pay for a subscription that entitles you to one book a month (as I do) your book credit is use-it-or-lose it: if you forget to download your February book in February, they get your money, and you get Jack Diddley Wiener. Overall the service is good enough to keep using, but I sure wish it were better.

At this point, people who are not too lazy to visit public libraries sometimes observe that I need not be spending lots of money for my audible fix. As I understand it, piles of entertaining books can be had at these “libraries” for free. But I have not yet personally verified the veracity of this outrageous claim. Now where did I leave that Visa card…?

4 thoughts on “Audible.com: Caveat auditor”

  1. Actually, you can compile a list of books you plan to listen to and put them in your “My Next Listen” section. Then at the end of the month, if you’ve forgotten to pick a book, Audible will draw from that section for you and you won’t lose your credit.

    Mark

  2. Thanks for the advice. Since my post mostly complained about Audible, I should mention here that I sent Audible a note with my concerns spelled out, and they sent me a pleasant and helpful reply, including your advice here. I’ll use “My Next Listen” in the future, but I still don’t get why they can’t just keep my credit on record. I understand their (financial) motivation but I don’t see how they expect to convince me their behavior is reasonable.

  3. I know this post is old and you may not be a member any longer, but I just received an email today from Audible stating that they’re removing the “My Next Listen” feature to make room for other things – apparently “we sometimes have to retire features to make way for new ones”. I’m baffled by this – this is a step backwards and the only purpose I can see for removing it is to cheat people out of their money and credits.

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