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Friday, March 1st
Audiobooks is a global subscription-based audiobook service that became a part of Storytel AB, a leading Stockholm-based e-book and audiobook subscription company, in 2021. The platform operates on a monthly credit model, allowing subscribers to access a vast catalog of titles across numerous genres, from fiction and non-fiction to bestsellers and new releases.
Free titles from VIP catalog
All Audiobooks members (including customers in their free trial) can choose from a specially curated selection of VIP Rewards books to download for free, every month. VIP Rewards books will refresh every month on the first day of the month, at which point you'll be able to browse the new selection and make your choice for one free download. All of your VIP Rewards books will remain in your library as long as you remain a member with an active subscription.
Monthly credit for $14.95
Audiobooks uses a credit system wherein your monthly fee covers the cost of one credit that can be used to purchase any audiobook from their catalog of 400,000+ titles.
Membership includes access to "VIP' catalog
Included in your membership at Audiobooks is access to what they call "VIP Rewards" books. Each month, this collection is updated on the first day, allowing you to choose one audiobook to download for free. The books you've downloaded as part of the VIP Rewards program will stay in your library for as long as you maintain an active subscription. Don't expect to see dozens of Bestsellers in this catalog - you'll have to do some sifting to find those hidden gems.
Free 30-day trial
Audiobooks offers a 30-day free trial that includes your first book free (the one you would purchase with your credit) plus two books from their VIP catalog. After your trial, you'll be allowed just one VIP book each month.
Audiobook Clubs allow for binge-listening
Audiobooks' most unique feature is the ability to spend your monthly credit on access to an Audiobook Club. If you're primarily a Self-Help listener, it would make sense to join the Health & Wellness Audiobook Club for access to as many Self-Help titles as you can listen to for those 30 days. After your 30-day period of unlimited access ends, the choice is yours on how to use your upcoming credit. You can either extend your unlimited membership with the same Audiobook Club, explore a new genre by joining a different Club, or opt to use your monthly credit to select a single title from their library of over 400,000 audiobooks. Note that you always have the option to browse the titles in each Club before committing to it for the month.
You probably can't get your credit back if you regret your pick
Audiobooks explicitly states that they do not offer refunds on subscription charges. However, if you've streamed an audiobook and encounter issues with the content, like audio glitches, it's recommended to get in touch with their Customer Service Team. Should they determine the file is flawed, Audiobooks will replace the file itself. In essence, while you probably can't get your credit back for an audiobook you're unsatisfied with, you have some recourse if the file itself is faulty.
App could use some improvement
We didn't find reports of any major glitches for the iOS or Android apps, but several users said they'd like to see better track naming (for example, the name of the chapter instead of just "track 49" ) and chapter outlines so that you don't have to tap on the "skip" arrows until you arrive at the chapter you're looking for. Otherwise, the app has all the usual features for playback and offline listening.
You can't access your audio files directly
Audiobooks is another service that prevents users from downloading their purchases in their preferred formats, like MP3 files. That means you have to use the Audiobooks app or website to listen, and if anything ever happens to their servers, or if they go out of business, they'll take your audiobook purchases with them.
Initially, we were intrigued by some of Audiobooks' features, such as their VIP catalog and Audiobook Clubs. However, we aren't convinced that these provide much more value than other services that offer similar unlimited listening options. Additionally, their refund policy seems unnecessarily strict, and it's not ideal that you have to use their app to listen to the audiobooks you've purchased. Overall, Audiobooks left us feeling lukewarm.
The world of audiobooks has seen huge growth over the past decade, with industry surveys showing a double-digit increase for ten years in a row with no signs of slowing down. Various platforms for listening to audiobooks have popped up, each one catering to different user needs, budgets, and preferences.
The recent boom in the popularity of audiobooks can be attributed to a few different factors, but one of the biggest reasons is how well they fit into our busy, multitasking lives. You can listen while you're commuting, working out, or even doing household chores like folding the laundry. It's a great way to access intellectually engaging entertainment while getting some drudgery done.
And, thanks to technological advancements, it's easier than ever to access audiobooks. It used to be that you had to confine yourself to a room with a CD player to listen to an audiobook, but now, anyone with a smartphone has thousands of audiobooks available at their fingertips. Plus, as audiobooks have grown in popularity, so has their production quality.
Audiobook narrators aren't merely reciting the words on the e-reader in front of them in the recording booth; they are acting out the story. Accomplished actors and seasoned voice artists can bring stories to life, adding an auditory dimension to characters and settings that can sometimes rival or surpass the imagination. Narrators are often chosen because the story resonates with them personally, adding an extra layer of emotion to the performance and making it feel more human.
For those apprehensive about putting on their headphones instead of picking up a book, it's worth addressing some common misconceptions about audiobooks. Contrary to the belief that listening to a book is "cheating" or less intellectually engaging than reading, many studies show that the comprehension levels between reading and listening are strikingly similar. What's more, audiobooks can be particularly beneficial for those with reading difficulties, allowing them to enjoy literature they might otherwise struggle with. They are not a replacement for traditional reading but rather a complementary medium, broadening the horizons of literary engagement.
When it comes to audiobook services, there are several types to choose from. First, there are library-based services which partner with local libraries to allow users to digitally borrow audiobooks. Much like a traditional library, you can "check out" titles for a specific time frame using your library card. However, be mindful that sought-after titles might have waiting lists. Another option is subscription-based services. With a recurring fee, usually monthly, users can access a broad range of audiobooks. Depending on the service, you might get a set number of credits to pick audiobooks each month or even enjoy unlimited listening. Lastly, there are pay-per-title services where, rather than a subscription, you buy each audiobook separately. While there's no monthly commitment, the upfront cost for each audiobook can be higher. The upside is that you typically get to keep the audiobook forever once you've bought it.
When deciding on the right audiobook service, several considerations can help guide your decision:
If you want a detailed overview of the best audiobook services out there, Top Consumer Reviews has your back. We trust our ranked evaluations will guide you to the audiobook platform that best matches your listening habits and lifestyle!
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