Audible made a nice gesture for the people in Houston, namely removing all cost for 3 months for the afflicted areas.
My colleagues at Audible, ACX, and I watched the terrible news about Hurricane Harvey with the same sense of “What can we do to help?” that so many others had. We’ve noted publishers making books available to schools, libraries and shelters in the area and applaud their efforts.
We wanted you to know that we’ve contacted the tens of thousands of Audible members in the greater Houston area to let them know their memberships are on Audible for the next three months and that they won’t be billed during this time. Our hope is that this makes life a little bit easier for our customers who are impacted by Harvey.
We did something similar after Hurricane Katrina and try to extend the same spirit of “do the right thing” in working with school kids in Newark (more on that soon). We won’t be billing our Houston-area members for their audio over the next three months. We’ve already gotten a few notes from members in Houston who are grateful for our offer. Let’s hope that listening to some high quality audio may brighten a bleak situation for some people.
Sincerely, Beth Beth Anderson EVP & Publisher Audible, Inc.
So, hoping it all gets better. Head over to our Audiobooks page and pick something if you’re in Houston.
No, wait! Half our stories are disaster/tragedy plots. Why would somebody want to read them in that situation?
Normally I don’t endorse getting into a closed ecosystem of a big brand, but with audiobooks it’s different. There’s not much out there in way of alternatives, and audiobooks are bulky enough to be a pain to manage. Audible has made a great system to buy, try, gift and listen to audiobooks all day across all your devices.
And now, for the corporate self-made holiday that is shoved down our throats whether we want to or not, there is Prime Day. Yay! Or not.
Anyway, it’s a great way to test out Audible. I have a subscription. You can have one too. At a discount, too (It’s worth it).
Here’s something I thought of, and wanted to share with you in case it helps: Put your older smartphone to use by making it an audiobook device.
Here’s why that’s helpful:
Phone storage. Audiobooks actually take up hundreds of megabytes of space. It’s very easy to fill up your phone’s memory, and a hassle to start shifting things around. If you’re like me, who listens to 2-3 audiobooks alternatively depending on the mood, you’ll need about 1 gigabyte of space reserved for them.
Phone battery. The playback draws quite a bit of battery. Instead of draining your phone overnight and wearing the battery life, just push your old phone to its very limits.
Audible syncs your listens and library across all devices. You can still use your own phone or tablet as normal, and the listening points will sync if you have WiFi on. Simple as that.
In this time and age, there’s no way you can’t get your hands on an older smartphone that’s sitting unused in a shelf somewhere. You can use it without a SIM card, load Audible on it and connect to your account. There’s no limit to how many devices you can connect to one Amazon account, though you might get a security warning.
For example, I’m using my perfectly capable Nokia Lumia, which I discarded because I got fed up with the Windows Phone app ecosystem. Audible’s app is available on Windows Phones, so there’s no problem with playback and syncing. You can put the sleep timer to use and have the audiobook playback stop at a reasonable point:
Also, here are two more accessories you might need for audiobook listening:
Noise cancelling earbuds, for outside listening.
A bus or a train ride can become noisy enough to prevent you from listening in to your book. Especially train rides, their decibel levels are shocking when you pay attention to them. You could use active noise cancelling, but those are more expensive and I honestly don’t like the separation from the environment while being outside. It’s one thing making an hour-long commute bearable by listening to a few pages, and quite another to completely shut yourself out of the world. The passive earbuds are good enough to let you listen in noisy environments.
Tip: The button can start or stop playback.
A flexible, spider grip holder for your phone.
This is one of the more useful things you can shop for. you can adjust the grip so it holds up your phone on the desk, ties around a night-stand lamp or sits nicely on your car dashboard.
Tip: As an added bonus, it can scare the crap out of someone at proper illumination levels!
At Mythography we create mainly digital goods, so that is a decision that is not taken lightly.
Piracy is of course a big issue, but we believe that people who want to support a project will happily buy the original. We do that all the time, we buy the original copy and support the creators.
We do not advocate piracy, nor are we against digital goods protection. We have been burned by DRM as consumers many times and we do not want a single one of our customers to feel the same way. DRM creates issues even with legitimate uses, transferring your original digital goods to a new device, reading the same book on your brother’s tablet, backing up the stuff you bought on your computer to do a format, not having access to workshop UGC on Steam etc. Even being offline on a trip or during a move is troublesome.
2016 UPDATE #2. We have partnered up with the amazing Streetlib team from Italy, for expanded Europe distribution. Their DRM is “soft,” just a watermark that never prohibits a user from copying his files into another of his devices. They assure us it is so and they seem to agree with us, but if anything changes we will make sure to address that.
2016 UPDATE #3. Regarding Audible. Before we get called out because of the Audible DRM, we need to explain ourselves on the audiobook issue. Audiobook production costs a few thousand, and Amazon’s ACX helps streamline that expensive process and reduce some of the costs through exclusivity. We hope the DRM it enforces on Audible products is not too damaging to the user experience. But you have to understand, that there is really no alternative to audiobook production and distribution. The only choices for now are either go with DRM and ACX, or simply not do audiobooks. We have made a decision to go with it on this particular channel, and are looking for any alternatives that might show up in the future.
2018 UPDATE #4. Streetlib has allowed even the watermark removed, so we’re going DRM-free even from that.
2018 UPDATE #5. After talking with our partners, the content provided through libraries does have DRM enabled. That allows “lending” of an ebook for a limited time, it gets disabled after the lending period is finished. That is the only way for libraries to enforce the distribution of ebooks through the system, giving out one copy per book only at the same time. Obviously this is a form of limiting DRM and it falls into the category we dislike, but it’s utilitarian. To combat that, we’re offering the content to libraries for free, that way unlimited copies can be checked out at the same time.
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