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Saturday, March 2nd
Downpour is a subsidiary of Blackstone Audio, an audiobook publishing company that has been in business for over 30 years. They offer audiobooks in every format, as well as paperback and hardcover books. Recently, they've launched interactive, choose-your-own-adventure audiobooks. Their audiobook catalog includes over 80,000 titles and continues to grow.
One subscription plan
Downpour has one of the lowest prices for monthly credits we've seen. For only $12.99, you can become a Downpour Audiobook Club member and select 1 title per month that is yours to own. Even if you cancel your membership, you'll still be able to access your Library. As is standard, Downpour offers a free trial for one month, which includes one free title.
Downpour doesn't use the copyright protection known as Digital Rights Management, meaning your files are yours to listen to in any format you wish and are not dependent on Downpour's app for playback. Their FAQ includes video tutorials for how to use the app and guidance on how to download your files to multiple formats, among multiple devices.
You can rent instead of subscribing
If you're not interested in owning your audiobook outright but still want to use Downpour, you also have the option to rent digital titles from their iOS or Android apps. Depending on the length of your audiobook, you can rent it for 30-60 days, with the option to purchase an extension of 10 days for $1.95. By choosing to rent instead of purchasing, you'll be saving up to 70% off the retail price.
Every niche interest categorized and ready for listening
Downpour has one of the most extensive and specific category lists we've seen. By navigating from the "Browse" tab to the "All Categories" section, you can find tags such as "Arthurian," "Blended Families," "Crystals," and even "Exegesis & Hermeneutics" (we clicked on that last one, and yes, they do offer titles that fit that bill - It's not just a placeholder). In the mobile app, there are fewer categories, presumably so as not to be overwhelming.
Standard app features, above-average customer service
You can download Downpour's mobile app from either the Apple or Play store, depending on your device. The app is currently not available for download on Kindle Fire or Nook tablets, but you can still download the audiobooks to them. The features include fast-forwarding or rewinding by 30 seconds, a sleep timer, adjustable playback speed, and bookmarking. The iOS app only has a 3.2-star rating out of 5, but this isn't overly concerning to us because it's not the only way to listen to your files. Additionally, we noticed that the developer responded to glitch complaints by offering customers 2 free audiobook credits as compensation for their trouble, which we really appreciate. Downpour is not Better Business Bureau accredited, but they do enjoy an "A+" rating.
Cost-effective and ethical
We believe that Downpour is a hidden gem in the world of audiobooks. They have the lowest price per credit of any service we've reviewed, and they believe in your right to listen to your audiobooks however you prefer. They also seem to genuinely care about their customers. The only thing you won't find with Downpour is a catalog of free audiobooks complimentary with your subscription, but this is not a huge drawback.
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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