You all know how much I love audiobooks. I’ve been a loyal subscriber to Amazon for five years. We’re in a long-term relationship. But, this year, I cheated. I didn’t cancel my subscription (it’ll probably take A LOT for me to do that), but I did try out two new audiobook apps. And while I didn’t have a bad experience, necessarily, here’s why I decided not to stick with them.
The first non-Audible book app I tried out was HiBooks. I was very excited about this one, because for a flat fee of about $10/month, you could listen to unlimited audiobooks! I subscribed for about two months, in which time I recommended it to countless people AND listened to eight audiobooks. And then, it changed. Instead of unlimited audiobooks, it was now some unlimited, but most of the books I wanted to listen to, I had to purchase with coins. For real money. In addition to the monthly membership fee (which apparently has since changed to a yearly $40 membership). Depending on how many books I listened to, and which ones I chose to pay for, it might end up being more expensive than Audible. (For reference, I have a platinum membership, which is $22.95/month for 2 credits that can be used to any books.)
In addition to having to pay beyond the membership for many of the books, I thought the whole coin system was unnecessarily complicated. The app listed bundles of 200 coins for purchase, but wasn’t totally transparent about how much they cost. Since I was unwilling to experiment, I had to do some Googling. The 200 coins bundle costs $2.99. Ok, fine. Except most of the books I had my eye on were about 1,200 to 1,300 coins. Which is EIGHTEEN dollars. In addition to the $40 yearly fee. I pay about $11 for each of my Audible audiobooks (with the credits) and there is no additional fee. So this just wasn’t worth it to me. Even if the prices were more fair, the whole system is complicated and confusing. This app was awesome when it first came out, and it just keeps getting worse. It’s good in theory, but the execution isn’t great.
I’ve heard about this app so many times (mostly on BookTube). So, last month, I decided to finally give it a shot. They had a month-long free trial and unlimited audiobooks, so I saw no downside. I subscribed to the trial and immediately started adding audiobooks to my list. And then I had a week off from work and listened to three audiobooks in three days (don’t judge me). At which point, every single audiobook I’d added to my list was suddenly “unavailable” until my subscription renewed. A month later. (I have since discovered that there was a fourth, partially listened-to book in my library that I’m going to try and finish before my trial is up. So maybe the cutoff is four books.)
For $9.99/month, three audiobooks isn’t a terrible deal. And that’s probably more than I have time to listen to most months. However, I didn’t like that Scribd claimed to be unlimited and clearly was. It was a little misleading. I also had a few issues with the books not saving my spot when I paused, which was kind of annoying. It just wasn’t the easiest to use, so it wasn’t worth it.
Why I’m Sticking with Audible
I still love Audible. Not only is the service easy to use, it’s transparent (you know exactly what you’re getting for your money). Listening on the Audible app is easier than the other two I’ve tried. They’re continually making it better (most recently allowing you to use your credits to purchase audiobooks directly from the app and syncing with any audiobooks you might have on iBooks). HiBooks has gradually gotten more complicated and inconvenient to use. And I didn’t give Scribd enough of a chance to see if it’s improving, but I’m pretty content with Audible, so I don’t feel the need to.
I also like that Audible has original, exclusive content. I’ve listened to a few recently, and they’ve all been great. So I’m sticking with Audible. It hasn’t let me down in five years, and now I know it’s the best audiobook option out there, at least for me.
Do you listen to audiobooks? Which service/app do you use?
If you haven’t tried Audible yet, you can use this link to get a one-month free trial to Audible!