I asked a good friend of mine who does quite a bit of commuting and who knows books what he thinks about audio book sites like Christian Audio and Amazon’s Audible. I asked him if I could turn his excellent answer into a blog post:
I have pretty limited exposure to Christian Audio. I download their free mp3s but I find the website difficult to search. I am not sure how the mp3 format works out for long books—I downloaded Bonhoeffer but it is 33 mp3s and my player tends to shuffle the track order. Also despite the $4.95 per credit books often require multiple credits.
I LOVE Audible. I joined last May and I later upgraded to Platinum Monthly which gives me two credits per month for $22.95. I have listened to…
- The Glorious Cause
- Battle Cry of Freedom
- The Confessions of Saint Augustine
- Six Days of War
- C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy
- God in the Dock
- Mere Christianity
- The Man Who was Thursday
- The Professor and the Madman
- Destiny of the Republic
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes
- The American Civil War
- The Big Three in Economics
- To End All Wars
- The Pilgrim’s Regress
- The Weight of Glory
- Til We Have faces
- Knowing God
- A Tale of Two Cities
- Moby Dick
- Treasure Island
- and more.
I will try to list the pros and cons from my viewpoint:
- I have very little time to read and lots of time in the car, 10–12 hours per week.
- I am a slow reader.
- I have very broad interests—theology, history, economics, science, classics, etc. Audible has many selections in almost everything that interests me. I have 170 titles in my library (including multiple parts of a book) and 156 titles in my wish list with no end in sight.
- Audible allows me to “catch-up” on the classics which I would not likely take the time to read.
- I have most of C.S. Lewis’s books which I have listened to repeatedly with much profit.
- It was very helpful having a good reader pronounce all the names in Six Days of War.
- Audible files are superior to mp3s (I think).
- The entire Modern Scholar series is available (with PDFs).
- I listen to fewer sermons.
- Most books I would probably be content to listen to once or twice—is it really cost effective?
- I don’t know what happens if I cancel my membership—I guess I would retain my downloads on my PC but be out of luck if anything happened to them.
- I often buy hard copies for $4 and spend more on audiobooks—though I do actually get to listen to them. 🙂
Wait for the $4.99 sales—they come around 2-3 times a year and are a far bigger value than any of their other schemes. With this in view, the Platinum monthly is probably not worth it.