For the most part, audible provides me with a very good service at a very reasonable price. I’ve bought hundreds of books from them.
On the technical side, nothing could be easier. I download the books directly to my android phone and can listen to them in excellent quality wherever I am. I download a backup copy in iTunes format so that I can listen on an iPod if I prefer and because I still can’t bring myself to leave the only copy of something that I own in the Cloud.
On the commercial / publishing rights side, things are much more complicated. I live in Switzerland. There is no audible.ch so I joined audible.com. Then I realised I could only get some of the books I wanted there, so I joined audible.co.uk to get access to the rest. It makes me wonder why audiobook publishers (the fastest growing market in publishing) haven’t arranged a world-wide publishing rights deal (at least in English). They’re still working in nineteenth century legal frameworks that had no concept of instant global availability.
Anyway, the way audible works means that I had to buy Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville books from audible.com as they weren’t available on the (cheaper) audible.co.uk.
I’ve just finished the fourth book and I’m now completely hooked on the series so I went to buy the next four, only to find that NONE of the books (including the four I already bought) are available on audible.com any more. I can still get access to my copies but no one can buy new ones at the moment.
I’ve asked audible.com to tell me what’s going on and when Kitty will be on sale. I’ve confirmed that the books are still available from other sources, although OverDrive.com shows it as only available in the US and Canada. Apple say the same thing but simply redirect me to iTunes Canada and offers the book for $5.99.
This kind of experience makes me less trusting of audible/amazon as a reliable source for my books. I’d prefer them to Apple because audible is device independent but there are other services available.
I’ll give audible a few days to sort it out and then I’ll be looking for my fix elsewhere. I’ve been thinking about giving Scribd.com a try for a while now.