Does Audible just suck or am I doing it wrong?

My wife has been saying she wants to try Audible so she can listen to books while doing other things, so I got her a six-month subscription for Christmas. In the process, I got myself a trial subscription with two free books.

So … um … does this just suck balls or am I doing it wrong?

I was under the impression that the monthly subscription would grant access to some kind of library of books, but, no, it doesn’t seem to do that.

If I find a book, I have to pay $20-plus or use a “credit.” Well, I used up my initial introductory credits. What now? How do I get more credits? Do I earn one credit a month?

I also heard that I get a free book every month. Is that my one credit a month? There does seem to be some “monthly free originals,” but those are mostly trash.

Am I missing something? Because if this is all it is, I don’t know why I would pay a monthly membership to Audible rather than just buy audiobooks outright from some other source.

Also, their mobile app sucks ass too. You can’t buy books through it—you have to go back to the web browser—and it’s really hard to search for things.

Please, tell me if I’m doing this wrong.

Also, my first book, “The Perfectionists” by Simon Winchester was read by the author and was fantastic. The second book “Milk!” by Mark Kurlansky is read by some horrible drone. It’s really torture to get through this inept reading. Is this the quality I should expect? Half the readers are shit?

I love Audible and I haven’t run across any terrible VO people. You are correct that your membership only gets you one credit per month and that credit is your free book. You also get discounted audio books though they are still pretty expensive in my opinion though.

I tend to get a membership for a couple of months then cancel until I’m out of book then rejoin. I just canceled my membership after having it up for 3 months I’ve got about 60 hours of listening to do before I even think of kicking it back up and I normally go back and listen to some of my favorites before I resubscribe. Depending how much I’m traveling I typically subscribe 3-5 months per year.

I don’t think you are missing anything–you might not be the target audience.

I am a runner and I cannot run without having a book to listen to, so I have been a member of Audible for many years.

The app does suck, in the sense that it has had lots of little bugs over the years. It’s particularly annoying to be on a long drive and have your audiobook stall for no reason whatsoever, only to find at your next stop that the app is asking you to rate it. But once you figure out all of the quirks it is a pretty reasonable app. I use the app on my watch, which introduces even more quirks, but now that I know how to get it to behave, I use it all the time.

Don’t blame the lack of purchasing on Audible–that’s all Apple. The Kindle app faces the same problem: Apple doesn’t want content purchasable outside of the App Store.

With regards to quality of books, I always listen to the free sample in order to determine if the narrator has some awful verbal tic that will drive me insane.
Be careful when buying books narrated by the author: the Venn diagram of authoring skills and narrating skills doesn’t overlap completely, but then again, the author will be removing editorial impacts of someone else and you will hopefully hear what the author really intended.

I don’t buy books that have less than a few hundred good reviews, and nothing with less than 4 stars. Life is too short to listen to crappy books.

The cost of books through Audible is cheaper than buying them elsewhere, especially if you get a sale or can buy credits cheap. And a book that is 18 hours in length will keep me going for a month of runs.

It’s not a library. You don’t need a subscription at all to buy books on Audible, you can just pay cash. But a subscription is a way for a regular buyer to buy books more cheaply. What you pay for a credit through a subscription is roughly half the cash price you’d pay for a book. You can either do a monthly subscription where you pay monthly for one or two credits a month, or a yearly subscription where you get all your credits in one go. You own the rights to a book you buy - forever, in principle - so you can still download it even if you later cancel your subscription.

I have never had a problem searching for books via the web browser. Yeah, I don’t know why they haven’t got the app set up so you can buy books through the app, it’s a bit odd.

There is always an audio preview you can listen to, which I always do if I haven’t heard the narrator before. I find there’s a significant subset (maybe 10%) of narrators that I just can’t stand, and I have maybe 5 or 6 narrators that I like so much that I’ll actually search for books they are narrating, even if I don’t know the author/book.

You can also “return” books and get your credit refunded. They don’t ask questions, so presumably (like the main part of Amazon) it’s based on a model of accepting returns unless a customer is taking the piss and returning half the books he buys. I try to be honest about it and they have never objected - I probably return 1 in 10 books, only when the book or the narrator just turns out to be truly awful and I don’t finish the book.

If you get into listening to audiobooks, I really don’t think there is any serious competition to Audible.

I also love Audible and I sometimes use a credit a month and sometimes, especially if I have a big chunker to get through or I’m more into podcasts that month, I switch to the Silver plan which is every other month. Most of the book I would want are about $20 to buy outright so the $14.95 monthly charge does save money. Love using re-reads to fall asleep too- they are mine forever and I was a re-reader with “real” books before this so its worth it to me. They also have very good customer service. I recently upgraded from Silver back to Gold and accidentally selected the charge that was for the whole year. Customer service was closed so I emailed them on Sunday night and they reversed the charge and got me set up on the monthly by the next morning.

As others have said, you build a library of books. My membership gives me, basically, 1 credit per month (I often will buy additional credits when they do specials). That gives you a NEW book a month. Once in your library you can listen to that book as many times as you like (and you don’t have to continue to pay a subscription to access what you’ve already bought). I now have hundreds in my library, which I basically download to my phone and listen to all the time. I love Audible…it’s been one of the greatest service for books I’ve found. I no longer have to mess with tapes, or CDs or ripping books to use an MP3 player or whatever. I can stream the books or download them directly to my phone.

The AP works find for me…no issues with it at all. It works basically as well as my iTunes AP wrt music and video, and better than the Apple audio-book stuff worked for me (part of that is, as noted, I have a huge Audible library, so switching would be stupid unless they have something that Audible doesn’t…which Iv’e rarely found to be the case). You are right, you can’t buy directly from the AP…that hasn’t been an issue for me, as I enjoy using their web page to browse for new stuff, and they are pretty good about showing me stuff I might like based on past purchases. I do the same with iTunes…I use the windows AP to do purchases, even though you can buy from the mobile AP. YMMV, but that seems a pretty minor issue to say something sucks ass over. :confused:

I’m quoting this just so it doesn’t get lost - the return feature is very generous.

I’ve been an audible member for quite a while now. Sometimes the credits pile up and sometimes I use them as soon as they come in. My listening goes in cycles.

As for narrators, I’ve found that they’re generally quite good. On the occasion that I just can’t handle the narrator, I return the book. If you find a narrator that you adore, you can see what other books they’ve read and go with that.

Audible is great, just remember that it’s a bookstore and not a library.

What you describe is precisely the reason I will not join. Paying a membership fee to be able to buy more things is not my jam. I do not get why no one has pushed out a Netflix model.

What they do seem to do is artificially inflate the prices of audiobooks if you don’t sign up. I found, for example, it was cheaper to get the CD version of Patrick Stewart reading Lewis’s Last Battle. The digital copy cost twice as much from Audible, unless I would pay for their plan.

Music has an all you can listen model. Movies have an all you can watch model. But why don’t audiobooks have an all you can listen model? I get my fill primarily with podcasts instead, and buy the occasional hard copy of an audiobook.

It’s not really a membership fee. You are paying for credits to buy books.

Presumably the reason that there’s no Netflix model is that customers are happy with what they are getting, and there is no major competitor putting pressure on them. At around $10 per credit, it probably works out to around $1 per hour of listening, which seems decent value to me.

At the moment, virtually any book that gets published has an audio version available, most with decent quality. Compare that to the limited selection on Netflix or any other streaming tv/movie service. Under a Netflix model, they would only have to produce enough content to keep subscribers, but they’d little to gain incrementally by making every book available, and I think the diversity of content would drop dramatically.

Huh…when I go to a traditional bookstore and look at new audiobooks (usually on CD these days) they cost about the same price as on Audible with no membership…i.e. they run something like $20-30 for a book (unless you look in the bargain bin where sometimes stuff is cheaper). My membership price is $11 per month (which is 1 credit, which gets me one book), and they generally offer deals of 3 credits for $30 bucks fairly frequently (also, they do specials all the time like this weekend, where if you used 2 credits you get $5 credited to your account towards a purchase or whatever).

I’m not sure how an all you can listen to model would work for books. I have Pandora for music, but it’s not on demand, i.e. I can’t listen to whatever song I want right now, just a play list of songs. For most of my music on iTunes you basically pay for individual songs or albums, not a flat fee to listen to whatever you want whenever you want. What you describe is the model for Netflix, which I also have an account on, but I’m limited to whatever they are rotating this month, so I still buy movies on iTunes for on demand watching (or rent sometimes, though I usually buy stuff).

If that’s the model you want for books then let us know how that works out…I’d be interested in something like that if they have a selection of stuff I actually want to listen too (mainly Sci-Fi, fantasy, steam punk and science based astronomy type stuff). I don’t know of such a service and it’s hard to see how that would work out for the authors very well, but I guess it’s possible and, as I said, if you find one link to it here.

As others have said: You’re doing it wrong. You’re walking into a bookstore expecting it to be a library.

Think of Audible as a way to buy audiobooks, not a streaming service (although their “Channels” feature does offer a little of that).

Between use of my monthly credit, and taking advantage of their frequent sales and Daily Deals, I’ve amassed a big enough collection that it’s going to take me quite awhile to get through it all, so I don’t mind at all that it’s not a buffet.

I buy the annual plan, so I don’t need to wait for credits–I pay my $229.50 and get 24 credits ($9.56/book) at once. There is no “membership fee”–just a charge for book credits with a volume discount. I have my issues with Audible at times, but this isn’t one of them.

My biggest issue is with some of the series I’ve listened to changing narrators halfway through. The Armageddon Reef series being the biggest example of this. Not sure Audible has much to do about it, but it sucks when you are listening to a series you really like with a narrator you really like, then on the 4th book they change to some new guy…for 2 books…then to another new guy for a book, then another guy, then back to the original guy for the next 2…and now another new guy. Ugh! :smack:

Other than that, I didn’t like the change to Amazon, though they let me grandfather in my old account so it hasn’t been too much of a problem. The won’t allow you to merge accounts either, which kind of sucks. I wanted to merge my account with my son but they wouldn’t allow it.

But wrt the OPs issue, I don’t see that as a problem. Unless someone really has a flat fee for all books anytime, which I really havent’ seen and honestly can’t see how that would work, I think this is one of the better services for this sort of thing. Beats the hell out of the old way of buying the things on tape or CD or getting them from the library (generally in bad shape and very limited selection).

I subscribe to the French version ( to get books in French as well as most of Audible’s English catalog. I admit I select books partly on length: a 5-hour book won’t last me a whole month.

If you run out of credits, they have rotating rebates on parts of the catalog (a few dozen horror books are discounted at Halloween, etc.). A discount bin of sorts.

I use the Audible application on Android, which does let me make purchases (using my credits) directly.

I have not tried Playster (.com), but they claim you can get unlimited audiobooks for 15$ a month, from a selection of “100000+ titles”. However, unlike Audible, you can’t “keep” the books if you unsubscribe.

Your library may have the option to download audiobooks for whatever their borrowing window is.

It’s not a membership to be able to buy things. There is no membership fee. A “membership plan” is a discount program where you pay a monthly fee and you get one book a month (or two for platinum). It’s a “discount” because most Audible books cost more than the monthly fee of the plan.

But you can also use Audible without subscribing to any membership plan. Just create an account, and just pay for each book you want to buy.

Also, Audible gives you a discount if you already bought the Kindle version of the same book. I think usually, buying a Kindle version then the Audio version comes out to the same total price as paying full price for the Audible version alone (i.e. you are essentially getting the Kindle version for free).

When I cancelled my membership they offered to cut my monthly fee significantly. If you’re on the fence due to the price, consider trying that

Here’s how my Audible experience went:

Prior to Audible, I was buying books on CD and listening to them. I decided to try Audible because I could download a book right away, as opposed to having to order CDs and then wait for them in the mail, or go into a store to buy them. I also liked the idea of getting the books sent to my phone, rather needing additional “equipment.” I don’t think you mentioned in your OP what your previous method of listening to audio books was, so depending on what you were doing, this may or may not be an improvement over your old system.

Once I bought the subscription, I had actually expected it to be like the audio equivalent of a Kindle, where you have the software but still need to pay for each book you buy, so it took me a while to realize that I actually could acquire audio books without paying an additional fee. In my experience, I only listen to one audio book at a time, so the fact that you only got one credit a month was totally fine with me. However, I did discover a con …

You can only acquire six credits at a time, and I was frequently brushing up against that maximum, and I think I lost credits sometimes. What I eventually did was use all six of the credits I had saved up to buy six books, then canceled the subscription. That was probably November of 2017, and I still have two of those books left to read. (For the most part, I only listen to audio books in the car, and only when I’m not in the mood to listen to music, so it takes me a while to get through audio books.) So in this case, I’m still using Audible, just not their subscription service, and it works beautifully for my needs.

They don’t really advertise it, but you can periodically put your Audible account on hold for a few months, during which time you aren’t charged and you also get to hold onto your unused credits. This is better than actually canceling your account, which does clear your unused credits.

I’ve done both from time to time, when my backlog of unread books has grown too big. It’s pretty helpful, though if you backlog a book and let it sit for a long time, you can’t return it if it turns out you hate it once you finally get around to listening.

Actually, I remember that when I went to cancel, after having spent all my credits, Amazon offered me a few alternatives to canceling, one of which was an option to cancel but keep my unused credits. There may have been a nominal fee associated with it, but it was a small enough amount that I felt a bit irritated that I had gone to all the effort of spending all my credits before I was told that this was another option.