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.
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.