Thursday 31 December 2009


It seems they've been around for ever and barely a podcaster clears their throat without telling you how great Audible are these days. And tempting as many of those podcast based Audible promo's and deals are, they are more often than not US only offerings. So when I saw the £3.99 & £7.99/month for the first three month offers, I thought it the opportune moment to finally experience Audible for myself and our clients here at The MacDoctor ..... O Brother.

While the range of Audio Books and other material available is impressive, I personally feel the standard £7.99 one book per month book deal is expensive. So the current offer seems far more reasonable, at least in terms of sampling the experience as a whole. The online sign-up process seemed simple enough, but is was once I'd provided personal and financial details that my Audible experience began to fall down.

The membership plans work on the basis of monthly credits added to your account, allowing you to take advantage of the included audiobook purchase and downloads per month. So once signed up and in, where were these credits displayed? Nowhere. A quick search in the 'help' section and it seemed credits would be added at checkout. Simple enough right? So I selected two Audio Books to fulfil my first monthly 2 credit deal (£7.99) and proceeded to the checkout. I was a little perplexed to be asked to confirm my purchase at approximately £34.98. Needless to say I declined.

Back into the Accounts section to check if I was missing something in relation to credits or the setup of my account. Nothing.

Into my email to see if I'd been sent any enlightening instructions by Audible. Nada. Hmm.

I'd noticed that when I'd added the two books to my basket there were 'Join Now' buttons at reduced prices. But I'd already joined right? Yes and no. Until I selected the 'Join Now' options next to the books in question, my credits and subscription plan were not set up. Very confusing. Oh well, I suppose 10 minutes isn't too long to grasp the poor logic of the website and initial purchase design. Right, onwards to download my new bounty .....

Ooooo, Enhanced Audio Formats. Where do I click? 1hour 45minutes for a 180MB download? You've got to be kidding right? Ok, I'll take the MP3 instead for now. 45 minutes for a 80MB download? I'm sat on a DSL connection with a 16Mbps average speed and all seems nice and fast with every other service I use today. Still it's coming down the pipe I suppose.

Some time later and I've finally got two AudioBooks, with mono audio at 22Khz sample rates. You not rocking my world at this stage Audible, and when I realise these aren't simple MP3 files but rather .aa (AudibleAudio) file types I'm even less enamoured.

It's a simple operation to copy the downloaded files into iTunes. But what I want to know and can find no answer to, is whether it's possible to purchase and download Audible content using my Membership plan direct from iTunes? Hello ... anyone?

So for me after today's experience, my Audible trial period will be ending as soon as it began. I noticed Audible is owned by Amazon. Website and price tweaks inline with the parent company may see me return one day. But for now it's been a frustrating and disappointing experience and not something we'd be recommending to clients here at The MacDoctor.

Sorry Audible. C+

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