Monday 29 April 2019

Audio Books: What's the Best Deal?

by Marilyn Forsyth

Image courtesy of giphy

If you could do two things at once—say, clean the house (crazy idea, I know) and read a book while you’re at it—why the heck wouldn’t you??

The problem is logistics.

But there is a solution...

Audio books! 

Audiobooks have been growing in popularity for a while now, and the main reason is pretty obvious - we’re all time poor. The flexibility and time-saving aspect of listening to your current read on a road trips, or even just to and from work (either on the train or in the car), is what makes audio books so damn appealing.

For my own interest, I did some research into the main avenues for accessing audio books. here's what I found:

Image courtesy of  Audible

Audible is probably the most well-known here in Australia.

Your first book on joining is free. After that, for $16.95 per month you can access one book from their library (or pay an extra $14.95 for any additional books). The book comes in the form of CDs or an MP3 (which you then download to your listening device). You’ll also receive exclusive access to ‘Members Only’ sales and Daily Deals.

If you don’t manage to finish the book, you can roll over your credits. If you don’t like the book, they offer a ‘love it or swap it free’ guarantee (for a limited number of times). This is available even to trial members.

Image: Gage Skidmore

This raises an important point. The narrator can make or break a book. Richard Armitage reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz? Yes please! Pauline Hanson reading Anne of Green Gables? Not so much. To help you make the right choice with your book, Audible allows you five minutes to listen to samples.

Apparently it’s easy to pause or to cancel membership, too. (And the Rebel Wilson campaign is great).

Image courtesy of Bolinda
Bolinda Digital is a non-subscription service. Audio books (CDs and MP3) can be purchased for between $39.95 and $49.95 (with 15% off for members).

They also power a download service called BorrowBox. The app ‘makes it easy to browse, borrow and listen to your library’s eAudiobooks and ebooks…by logging in with your (library) member details’. It allows you to listen to a library audiobook via your iphone, ipad, Android, Android tablet or Kindle Fire. The app has a 3-star rating but does have mixed reviews as to its effectiveness.

In conclusion…

I used Jean M Auel’s book The Land of Painted Caves to investigate how much an audiobook would cost through different avenues. Here’s how it panned out:

Google Play $39.00 AUD to buy outright (but I have heard that Google Play is about to start an Audiobook Library)

Booktopia $24.95 (not in stock atm)

Book Depository CDs $32.00 AUD (free shipping)

Audible $16.45 AUD (with ongoing payments per month for new books)

Bolinda (unavailable for purchase or through BorrowBox)

I’ve listened to the different samples from each provider and would be happy to listen to any of them. However, it seems to me that Audible might be my best option. It’s an ongoing cost, but I’d probably send more than $16.45 per month on books, anyway (and I can roll over credit or even cancel if need be). Also, I’m quite a slow reader (I read at night in bed), so I’m thinking that if I’m able to listen while I’m doing something else, the book won’t take as long to get through as it normally would.

(Prices quoted are correct as of 28/4/2019)

Are you an audiobook fan? How do you like to access them?

Love to Love the final season of Game of Thrones.

Love to Laugh (in a kind of sad way) at Game of Thrones memes.

Love to Learn that Bookbub is soon to introduce CHIRP, a new promotional channel for audiobooks. Yay!

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  1. I like the idea of audio books but I haven't committed as yet. I can see their appeal though.

  2. Hi Cassandra! I think it's just a matter of taking that first step. I've been interested for a while, which was why I started to investigate the most worthwhile options for accessing them (and thought others might be interested, too).

  3. I love audio books, Marilyn! I subscribe to Audible, and revel in all sorts of reading that way. I listen when I walk or in the car. Sometimes sitting at home while I stitch. It's surprising how many hours you can pass in the car in one week, 20 minutes here and there. All of a sudden you're halfway through a book. Wonderful! I did listen to our mutual hero Richard Armitage narrate 'David Copperfield' and he was wonderful. Thirty plus hours of bliss... Libraries also have the facility to lend you audiobooks, which is terrific if you want to trial reading this way, or need to watch the budget (don't we all...). Personally speaking, I love being read to, especially if a fine actor does the reading. Win, win for me.

  4. Hi Marilyn, I haven’t listened to audio books for a long time, but I used to love them. Some books seem to be so well-suited to being read aloud. My favourite audio book was “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Sharon. It's been too many years since I last read Rebecca.

  5. Hi Marilyn, We used to play audio books for the kids on long car trips. Kate Forsyth had a great gypsy series we all enjoyed on our car travels! I don't spend much time in the car these days and if I do, I'm generally travelling with someone and so enjoy conversation. I'm not sure I'll ever get to audio books again. There are heaps of podcasts that have been recommended and I still haven't got to those!! However this was a really interesting article and I can see how they appeal to so many. Great for the visually impaired as well as those who find it hard to hold a book and/or turn the pages.

    1. Hi Alyssa! We used to do the same with our kids. Loved those days! You make a great point about audio books being great for people with eyesight or physical-handling problems.

  6. Hi Marilyn. I haven't tried audiobooks though listening as I drive to work is very appealing. Concerned about distractions though as I am far more visual than auditory, but to find out I'd have to give them a try.


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