Monthly Archives: October 2018

Oct 22

Audiobooks.com Review – Is it worth it?

By audiobookhoarder | Audiobook Service Reviews

You are probably a fan of books, or someone you know is into books. Well, for many, the increasing popularity of audio books is present, so if you are interested in them, you probably know the numerous options that are available for accessing your favorite authors. Some of these options include Playster, Audible and Scribd – all of them allowing you to buy your favorite books on CD.

The thing you can keep in mind is the more costly nature of audiobooks – in fact, they actually cost more than the print version, so the bill you pay can increase quickly. The most successful audio book service, Audible, for instance, limits you to a few books a month. If you are an avid reader, this may not be enough for you.

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This has led to the rise of a newer service called Audiobooks.com, offering itself up as a nice alternative to the section of people that enjoy these products – you can even think of it as the ‘Netflix of audio books’. However, how does it measure up, and is it worth considering? Read on to find out.

The membership information

Regarding the membership status, there is only one membership plan available (at least for the moment). While it may not be a bad thing to consider more options for joining, it increases the efficiency in enrolment and makes the tracking process easier to handle.

Once you secure your membership, you will receive new credits that allow you to make purchases every month. You just have to pay a fee of $14.95 every month, which makes it the same as Playster and Audible payment plans.

There is a good thing about the prices of audio books on the platform – in fact, one of the best aspects it has. The prices of books are fixed, so there is no need to start worrying about whether you can afford a certain book you want to buy in the future. You know exactly what it costs, and you can plan ahead.

Another great thing about audiobooks.com is their free trial lasting 30 days, and it gives you one free credit that you can use to purchase your first audio book. If you are thinking of trying out the site, it is a good idea, as you can cancel at any time, with no extra complications attached. You can also check their library and see if the books they have are what you are looking for.

The store and library

One thing is for sure – the library of this site is massive. With over 100,000 books to choose from, it gives you almost the same opportunities as Playster, another good audio books site. The library is also decent, although it will not compare to the Amazon service Audible, which contains more than 80,000 books available to buy and download.

It is important to keep something in mind though you will not always find everything you are looking for on audiobooks.com. It has a high rate of findings, but these amount to about 75 percent. This is not a bad figure, considering that there are stores that have fewer books and smaller libraries; but you will not always get a book you are looking for even if it is popular.

The library has nice features and a good user interface, much better than some other sites. However, a book store must be able to give you the books you are searching for, at least when you are signing up for membership – even if it is above the usual cost. In this regard, there are stores that will beat out this platform, though it is still a good option.

There is an advantage this site holds over more established sites like Audible though – it allows you to buy extra credits using the same price as the first time you bought them. In this way, it is more affordable and has greater flexibility, especially if you a heavy consumer of books every month (more than two books). In addition, once you buy a book, it is yours for the keeping, even if you cancel your membership afterwards – unlike Playster, which operates like a streaming platform. This also makes it good if you are a heavy listener of audiobooks every month and you need to work within a budget.

All this means that the prices on Audiobooks.com are competitive. Every credit costs only $14.95, which is a better figure than what many other sites offer. In fact, it is only Scribd and Audiobooksnow.com that have lower costs on each book on average.

If you would like to explore some options, then you can either shop on the app or go online. Regardless of the method you choose, it is easy to explore the inventory of the site, since it has clickable book covers. This makes it have the feel of an actual book store. Its library is also very organized, as the categories are very specific. For instance, there are books classified under ‘Bets nostalgic listens’, ‘religion and spirituality’, ‘perfect firs listens’, and so on.

However, the drawback lies in the free book section, whose selection is slightly underwhelming. The offers on there are not exclusive to the platform, as they are either LibriVox books or public domain reads, and you can find them elsewhere on the internet. If these are what you plan to read, then you are better off with a free app instead of paying monthly fees to access them.

Is it easy to use?

The short answer here is yes. If you have used the Audible audiobook app, you will notice that Audiobooks.com has a similar design on their app, which is free to download on both Android and iOS stores. All the usual features you expect on an audiobook app are present. These include a sleep timer, narration speed adjustment, places to take important notes, and bookmarks.

All you need to begin from is clicking a button, and it opens a small window (if you are using a web browser), or a new window or tab (if you are on mobile), and then you can begin listening.

The organization of all these features is also simple and user friendly. For instance, adjusting the volume settings is very easy, which is a plus for them. In addition, all icons are contained on the main page, instead of a side menu.

In case you would like to move from the mobile app to a computer, you do not need to worry about losing your reading history. It also allows you to access your library on the webpage, as it provides syncing services across all the devices you use. 

When you visit the webpage, you will also notice that the latest book you are listening to is there, along with added suggestions and other books you may not have finished. The site additionally gives you recommendations depending on what you enjoy, and all product pages have legitimate customer reviews.

However, there are no chapter markers, so it is hard to tell the time left to finish a chapter, or the time you need to skip to the following chapter. This feature can particularly be useful if you are listening to a book of short stories or essays, for instance.

The apps themselves are easy to use, but they can take up significant storage space. You need to be careful because of that. In addition to that, avoid listening to books when you do not have a Wi-Fi plan (mobile broadband plans can outstrip your finances very quickly when you are downloading books). The website advises you to set aside about 150MB of storage for the books, although it does not indicate how much space each book occupies.

The quality of the audio itself is also fine, and it bears no significant difference from audiobooks on other platforms.

The customer support

The support features are not going to blow you away exactly, as they are not as developed as those on other platforms such as Audible. For instance, you cannot return books if you do not like them, unlike Audible that allows the user to return a book.

Contacting Audiobooks.com is possible on phone, as long as you do it during day hours, while the email support is also present. However, the FAQs page could use some improvements, and the live chat option is also not available.

Final verdict

Among the major pros of this service is the allowance for buying additional credits at fixed and affordable prices, while the major con is the lack of the extensive collection. However, it still remains a good option if you would like to build your library, and you are an avid consumer of audio books.

Regarding the design of its mobile app to the membership plan, it seems that the platform is seeking to follow the steps of Audible, the most successful Amazon audio book site. It does give you a very good price range for its books, so they only need to expand their library selection. You can try the other alternatives as well, including Scribd, Playster and Audible, and see what works for you – as they all have free membership trial periods.

Oct 13

Audible Review – Is Audible Worth it?

By audiobookhoarder | Audiobook Service Reviews

Amazon is the powerhouse of online retail – a quick search brings products and options to the forefront, and typically with a two-day shipping turnaround. Amazon also dabbles in other services, like video and music streaming options. One popular service is Audible, an online audio book library.

In typical Amazon fashion, Audible provides access to thousands of audiobooks. The access comes with a monthly subscription fee not included in an Amazon Prime membership.  With so many options for different types of services, one must research before making a commitment and therefore raises the question: Is Audible worth it?

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

The too long, didn’t read version is yes, at least for the trial period. You can subscribe to an Audible free trial for 30 days with free downloads, so one option is to stop reading here and start listening now!

Wait, What Are Audiobooks? 

Before diving into an Audible review, it would be useful to explain what an audiobook is and how Audible provides this service. Audiobooks are recording of texts being read, typically by a professional narrator or actor. Quality of narration varies based on the narrator. Typically, a professional narrator, or sometimes the author themselves, jump on and provide a quality experience.

Audible reviews by users highlight the delight of having an author read the book in the way they envisioned it or having a famous actor read a classic tale. Some narrators include Emma Thompson, Trevor Noah, and Carey Mulligan.

Audiobooks are good for driving commutes where the focus can’t be on a page-turner. Any activity that requires being hands-free, like hiking or cleaning, is easier with an audiobook. Readers, or in this case listeners, don’t have to remember a physical book or tablet and simply need a charged phone or other compatible device. Audiobooks are also great when productivity needs to include something other than finishing a great story.

The cons of audiobooks typically revolve around missing the feel of a physical book and turning pages. Simply put, books are for the eyes while audiobooks are for the ears. For those willing to try something new, audiobooks can be a pleasant alternative to the traditional reading experience.

So, More About Audible? 

As mentioned, Audible is a monthly subscription service from Amazon. The monthly fee gives subscribers one or two credits, which are then exchanged for any audiobook in the 200,000+ title catalog. Every book is one credit, no matter how long, short, highly ranked, classic, or a bestseller.

What Is the Commitment? 

At the time of writing, Audible’s monthly and annual rates include four plan options designed for different levels of reading activities:

  • Gold Monthly - $14.95/month for 1 credit/month
  • Platinum Monthly - $22.95/month for 2 credits/month
  • Gold Annual - $149.50/year (so about $12.46/month for 1 credit/month)
  • Platinum Annual - $229.50/year (so about $19.13/month for 2 credits/month)

Choosing a plan really depends on how many audiobooks one listens to each month. If you are hooked on the audiobook train, the upfront yearly membership can save about two months of fees in the long run. If a month ends up quite busy, credits roll over. This is nice because it means money won’t be wasted if a month is missed.

The subscription can be cancelled anytime, so if your finances or love for an audiobook change, Audible can adjust with that. At the very least, the cost of a month of Audible is akin to buying the physical book, and in some cases, it is less.

What Titles Can I Download? 

As mentioned before, Audible’s library is huge, and every book costs one credit through the monthly subscription fee. From the top of the New York Time’s Bestseller List to the most classic of titles, Audible has a lot to offer. It is a great advantage to be able to access new and popular titles with just a few clicks. Audible also shows reviews, ratings, and curates suggestions. The wide range of titles means access to all genres and the capability of catering to many different interests.

One aspect worth mentioning are three options specific to the Audible experience: Reese’s Book Club, the Romance Package, and Audible Originals:

  • Join the Club - Reese’s Book Club offers titles recommended by Reese Witherspoon. Reese selects a new title each month and subscribers tune in to hear it. Reeses’s Book Club is great for the indecisive listener who is willing to put trust in another person. If it ends up not working out, Audible has a great return policy, but more on that later.
  • Revive the RomanceYes, Audible has a Romance Package option focused on passionate, cozy, or tantalizing tales. At the same rate as the main Audible packages, subscribers can choose their level of romance and slip into some steamy tales. For more on this, listen to the teaser clips available on the Audible site.
  • Originality Is Key- Similar to Amazon Prime Originals, Audible has Amazon-produced content that won’t be found elsewhere. Audible Originals are produced exclusively for Audible and won’t be available on other platforms. A new offer from Audible is the ability to choose two Originals each month at no additional cost out of six options. This presents the opportunity to find a new favorite story and have more audio options throughout the month.

What Happens When I’m Done Listening? 

The nice thing about Audible is that once the credit is exchanged, the book is yours. Access doesn’t go away after the month or even in the event the subscription is cancelled. This is an advantage over other services that operate more like a library – taking back the access once you are done. Audible also doesn’t have a waitlist, and the audiobooks are delivered instantly and digitally once selected.

Anything Else to Know? 


  • Trial Period - Other pros include a free trial period. For thirty days, you can test out the service to see if it is worth the commitment. The free trial comes with two credits – so two books! There is no commitment after the period, so really there is no financial commitment until after deciding if Audible is suitable for your needs.
  • Sales and Discounts - Audible also offers sales and deals pretty regularly that are only accessible to Audible members. If you have already used available credits and really need another title, membership brings 30% off the list price of audiobooks. With this in mind, it is possible to purchase audiobooks from Audible without the subscription. However, most titles come in around $30, making it more expensive than just paying for one month at least in exchange for access to the desired title.
  • Love It or Return It - If the choice ends up not being what you expected, Audible does allow for exchanges. This feature shouldn’t be abused and if used incorrectly can result in membership revocation. It is designed to prevent being stuck with a bad title, but shouldn’t be used to attempt free books. If you purchase a book outside of the credits and don’t like it, you can refund it. Audible has a policy called the Great Listens Guarantee. Basically, if you don’t like a book, you can return it with 365 days of download.
  • Offline AccessOne of the pros of Audible includes access from phone or tablet without needing data or Wi-Fi. Once you download the title, the recording is available for listening!
  • Language ChoiceAudible is branching out beyond English and offering titles in other languages. At the time of writing, this includes titles in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, and Chinese. Titles covered include translations and originals.
  • Adjust SpeedIf the narrator is a little slow or too fast, the speed can be adjusted. This is great if English is not your first language, and you need to slow it down to fully understand. Speeding up the recording can help with a slow narrator or to just move through the book more quickly.
  • Sleep Timer If listening to the book as a way to fall asleep, Audible allows for a sleep timer. This can be the end of a chapter or after a certain time. This keeps you from missing a great plot twist and saves your battery.
  • WhisperSyncThis new development lets readers switch between listening to the audiobook and reading through the Kindle book. Add the audio companion to any Kindle book purchase, and you can easily flip between screen and headphones. This is great for when you have a moment to peruse the tablet or need to pop in the headphones and go. Either way, the story doesn’t have to stop! WhisperSync also tracks where you are in both versions, so when you switch it picks up where you left off in the other version.  The main drawback here is that both versions need to be from the same regional service. For example, a Kindle book purchased from the UK Amazon site won’t be compatible with an audiobook from the U.S. Audible platform. This isn’t a problem for most, but something to consider for frequent flyers.
  • Amazon AdvantageThe advantage to being a subsidiary of Amazon means counting on the same privacy and security considerations of the Amazon company. This means protection of personal information and data. Amazon privacy policies extend to include Audible.
  • Additionally, Audible is compatible with certain Amazon devices, like Alexa or Amazon Echo. You can cook or clean while Alexa reads your new favorite book! Integrating smart devices into the home became even easier, as shown in Amazon reviews for Audible.

What’s the Catch? 

Like any service, Audible has cons. Some drawbacks come to light through Audible membership reviews and other Audible Amazon reviews. Knowing all the facts and all the options allow for a smarter consumer choice, so of course Audible reviews should cover the drawbacks. Some cons are based on individual consumers and personal preference – which should certainly be considered in the decision process.

  • Subscription Fee - Audible is a monthly, reoccurring expense, similar to Netflix or HBO, and therefore needs to be worked into a monthly budget plan. If you are not consistently using the service, it might not be a wise investment. If you never actually listen to the books after downloading them, it is certainly a waste. If you joined Audible to quench a desire to digest one specific title, you might not consistently use the service enough to justify the cost. This is really based on personal use, but at least trying the free trial can give an idea of whether or not the cost is going to be worth it.
  • The subscription fee is higher than some other monthly services on the market and can be a commitment depending on finances. There are other audiobook sites with lower rates, but those sites might not come with the Amazon backing. One of those other sites is Scribd, a site with a similar platform surrounding audiobooks. The cheaper monthly rate potentially makes Scribd a solid alternative to Audible, but the library selection is much more limited than Audible. Scribd does have a free trial period as well, so certainly sign up to a free Scribd trial today and compare the two for yourself! If you can check out our Scribd vs Audible comparison to find out more.
  • Lost Credits - Yes, credits do roll over, but only for a certain window of time. Audible reviews report different numbers, but it seems credits disappear after a year. If you consistently forget to download books or remain largely inactive, Audible might not be the membership for you.
  • Different Type of Experience - This really depends on the person, but some people think listening to a book loses some of the magic in comparison to the feel and smell of a physical book. If you think books are meant to be read, not listened to, take this into consideration before committing to an Audible subscription. This is why WhisperSync is such a nice compromise – but Kindle eBooks are not included in the monthly fee for Audible. If you are completely new to the world of audiobooks, subscribe to an Audible free trial and decide from there! It is certainly worth the listen, even if it doesn’t work out.
  • Narration Quality - Audible membership reviews indicate narration can be a hit or miss in some cases. A lot of books have professional narrators or even the author as narrator, but not all of them. A poor narration can create a poor listening experience. This is where reviews and ratings come in handy, which is easily found on the site. Additionally, some books have previews available, allowing for a taste before diving into the commitment. With just a few credits each month, each title should be carefully selected, and narration quality is understandably a huge factor in making that choice.
  • Engagement Is Different - Circling back to reading versus listening, it is much easier for your mind to wander while listening to a book versus following the words on the page. If this happens frequently, engagement lowers and crucial plot points can be missed. One might need to frequently reverse and listen again to really understand what is happening. Again, this is a personal vice and would come back to who you are as an audiobook consumer.

Is Audible Worth It? 

Despite these cons, Audible is an extremely popular service for audiobook consumers and understandably so. Keeping the title forever once it is downloaded means having access to books at a lower rate than buying the title itself might be. Audible customers build up their libraries and can return to listen to their favorite title or narrator whenever the mood strikes.

Audible is also a stand-out in audiobook options when it comes to tracking across devices. This is so essential when moving between a smart device, tablet, and phone throughout the day as activities change. Time won’t be wasted finding where you left off as Audible tracks it for you. Audible works to create a smooth, integrative listening experience for subscribers and certainly seems largely successful in creating this.

Developments like Reese’s Book Club and Audible Originals show Audible is listening to customer input and growing with consumer interest and needs. It will be interesting to see how the service continues to grow and potentially offer new services or add-ons. Already steps have been made and opportunities opened!

Starting a free trial today can lead to being around for these new opportunities when they arise. The worth of a subscription really depends on how often you plan on using Audible, or at least remembering to let the library build up over time.

Audible is definitely worth the free trial period. One month brings two free audiobooks and a chance to see if the site offers what you need. You can test it out on a tablet or phone and really get the varied experience available in terms of narration styles and options. If it works out, great, keep it going and enjoy endless Audible options. If not, cancel the membership and move on. At the very least, you gave it a fair chance and can now come back and write your own Amazon Audible review.

Oct 03

All You Can Books Review – Is It Worth It?

By audiobookhoarder | Audiobook Service Reviews

All You Can Books: Is it the right choice for you?

Do you love reading? Then an unlimited supply of books is properly something that sounds quite tempting to you. Well that's exactly what All You Can Books has on offer - but is it worth it? Is it worth the money and do you get a quality service for your hard earned dollars? That's what I'm hoping to shine a light on with this review! Keep reading.

We make some money when you purchase a product from a link on our website. If you found the content helpful, please use the link to get to the chosen provider of your choice. It doesn't cost you a thing and it helps us put out great content. The money involved does not effect the ratings of any given product or service, we just link to an affiliate if there is one available after we write the article.

Disclaimer

Spoiler Alert! Can't be bothered to read the entire article? Let's get to the point

All You Can Books is OK - but it has a lot of flaws and a lot of people don't agree with their dodgy billing tactics and say the selection is very, very limited. Fortunately, there is a better option out there. Scribd is a similar service but it is cheaper, better quality in both the selection of books, ebooks, magazines and comics available as well as the customer service and user experience. They even have a 100% free trial so you can try out the service before you put any money on the line. 

To get an idea of the difference in quality and selection, All You Can Books "boasts" a selection of 30,000 audiobooks and e-books, where as Scribd has a selection of over 1 MILLION audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and comics! That is quite a difference! I recommend you make a free account with them and see for yourself if anything is to your fancy - if not you can always cancel straight away!

For those who like a read (which may very well be you, considering the service you are reading a review for) you can read the rest of our in-depth review below:

For Books

Books are awesome, there's no doubt about the, the realm of knowledge and stories available to us in this day and age is simply mind blowing. All You Can Books does what the name says and offers quite a serious library of books available for one monthly fee.

For Audiobooks

Do you love reading books and magazines but do not get enough time to read them? Well then, audiobooks are just what you need. You do not need to carry around a physical book or strain your eyes to read your favourite books. You just have to plug into your smartphones, e-readers, music players, or tablets and you can listen to the audiobooks wherever you want, whenever you want.

They can also be played on desktops and laptops which mean that you can listen to any book when you are at home. This makes audiobooks greatly beneficial for anyone who has to lead a fast-paced life and cannot sit down to read physical books.

However, to ensure that you get all your favorite books, magazines, etc. in the form of audiobooks, you need to use a good service that offers you a great collection of listenable items whether that be books, magazines, podcasts, etc. If you do not use a good service, you will have to work hard to find the audiobooks or podcasts that you want to and sometimes you may not at all be able to find them online because good content is often not free. As such, you need to find an online source that will be able to offer you anything and everything that you want to listen – from bestsellers to newcomers so that you are never out of good content.

All You Can Books – free audiobooks and more

For anyone searching for a good collection of audiobooks, ebooks, and more, a name that sounds promising is All You Can Books. They promise to offer you unlimited access to their inventory of books and more that counts to upto 30,000 and is regularly updated so that you get more content every day. You also get a free trial of 30 days and you can listen to any book or read any ebook without paying a dime during this period. You can cancel any time during the free trial period and you get to retain any book that you may have downloaded during this period. However, their are numerous reviews online saying that people are often charged even though they have cancelled the service.

What’s more, you can get access to a number of language courses at the All You Can Books which makes it a great service for anyone willing to learn a language for free. Once the free trial is over, you have to pay a massive $19.99 per month to continue enjoying the services which is quite a considerable amount compared to other services available like Best Online Books.

Is it worth subscribing to All You Can Books?

Though All You Can Books may look promising with their inventory and free 30-day trial, customer feedback paint quite a different story. Customers haven’t been quite happy with the service that they offer to the readers. The first and most important reason of dissatisfaction amongst readers is because of their collection. Though they have quite a big inventory of listenable material, all you can books reviews mostly state that the quality of their inventory is quite poor. Readers haven’t found what they are looking for at All You Can Books. This is obviously quite a letdown as any content lover would want access to good audiobooks or ebooks from a service like this. Plus, the site has no proper search option that you can use to search for books that you want to read.

Next comes the shady practices that All You Can Books has regarding subscription fees and subscription cancellations. One such thing that you will find in any all you can books review such as this one is the cancellation procedure. Once you sign up for the free-trial that they offer, there is no option on their website to cancel your subscriptions. Users have to call up their support for cancellation of their subscription which is obviously a hassle that most people wouldn’t want to bear.

That’s not all, according to some all you can books reviews, users have been charged monthly subscription fees even after they officially cancelled their subscription. This is nothing but a scam and as such, it isn’t advisable that you do not opt to subscribe at All You Can Books, especially when you have various other excellent options available in the market.

Scribd - A Better Alternative For Unlimited Reading / Listening

Since All You Can Books isn’t that good an option, it is better that you go for a service like Scribd that is sure to make you fall in love with its service and of course, its content. 

Scribd boasts of a huge inventory that includes more than 1 MILLION audiobooks, ebooks, magazines and comics and loads more that can satiate the thirst and hunger for new and engaging content. Whether you want to read all recent news and leading magazines or want to binge listen to audiobooks of your favorite series, Scribd is the perfect option for you.

What’s more, Scribd offers a completely free trial offer during which you can read or listen to as much content as you want and you have to pay nothing at all. Yes, not a dime. 

Once the trial period is over, you can continue your subscription by paying just $8.99 which gives you access to the vast and quality collection that they have. Scribd regularly updates and upgrades their inventory which means that you will never ever run out of things to read.

So, Scribd is, indeed, a great choice for all types of content lovers. If you'd like to find out more about Scribd and see if it is worth it, check out our scribd review.

A Comparison Of The Top Audiobook Subscription Services

If you'd like to compare the top audiobook subscription services, you can view our blog post here.

For a quick comparison, take a look at this table below: