I have crept into the audiobook world and started with the service from Scribd. because it was recommended by a friend and they offered a two-month free trial. Their service is $8.99 a month and they offer a wide variety of e-books and audiobooks. I found out that you can only read the e-books on a phone or tablet (which I don’t want to do), but I figured if I decided I was interested in audiobooks, listening to even one or two a month would be well worth it.
My first month’s trial went well – I listened to the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix, as well as Martin Short’s autobiography and a portion of Lena Dunham’s book (I grew bored and gave up). But now I’m into my second month and the site announced an update I’m not too happy with.
Starting next month (when I would start paying for the service, if I choose to) they’re going to have two types of audiobooks – some will be deemed special and marked with a symbol that means they cost one credit. Each user will get one credit per month to spend – additional credits cost $8.99 each. I looked at the audiobooks I had saved on my shelf for later and wouldn’t you know, each one was marked with the special symbol! Suddenly the service is less appealing to me. Perhaps Scribd. is trying to keep up with their competitors, but essentially being limited to listening to one book a month and having to pay for each additional book, doesn’t seem like a good deal to me. For instance, if I wanted to listen to the Abhorsen Trilogy again, it would take three months – unless I wanted to pay another $18 on top of my monthly subscription cost. Now imagine if you wanted to listen to a longer series in a reasonable amount of time.
Can you imagine if Netflix suddenly earmarked all of your favorite shows and told you that you could watch one episode a month for free and if you wanted to watch more, you’d have to spend another $8.99 per episode? Just scrolling through the suggested books in various categories on the site, every book I’m interested in reading (and almost every book I see) is marked with the symbol showing it will cost a credit. Before this policy had been instituted, I probably would have highly recommended this service – their app works well and syncs with my progress on the computer, so I can listen at work and on the road, and they have a great range of old and new books. But for me, this whole pay-as-you-listen deal doesn’t seem worth it.
I haven’t researched any other audiobook services yet, so I don’t know if this is a fair deal or not. But I just don’t see the point of paying a monthly fee anywhere, just to be able to listen to one book a month – if that’s the case with all services, I’ll just go to the library. But what about you? Do you use an online service to listen to audiobooks? Do you think Scribd. sounds like a good deal?