Best deals for heavy audiobook listeners

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koru
koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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edited 30 September 2018 at 3:14PM in Shop but don't drop
I thought it might be worth starting a thread for people to discuss good long-term deals for audiobook download fans who (like me) get through several books a month. At a rate of, say, 50 books a year, you certainly don't want to be buying them individually, at £15-25 a pop, as that's £1000 per year!

I'll start with some things I've worked out for myself.

Local Library

The best deal of all is if your local library has an audiobook service available. Mine offers free use of Overdrive and BorrowBox, both of which have smartphone apps to download and play audiobooks. Most other libraries seem to offer this, but not all.

The main drawback is that they have limited selection, so you might not find everything you fancy listening to. However, I reckon these two services have 100-200 audiobooks that I want to read, so that should keep me going for a year or more.

The other drawback is that you often have to go on a wait list for popular books, but as you can reserve several at a time, I find I can line them up so they become available one by one.

Once I have exhausted the free library stuff, looks like I will have to pay to feed my habit. (There are some services that provide free audiobooks for out of copyright books, but I prefer to have professionally-produced audiobooks and I'm not interested in anything that is illegal.)

Audible

The dominant service seems to be Audible, so let's start there. They seem to have the widest selection. Their standard prices to buy one-off books are horrifying: probably an average of £20. But I reckon these are deliberately high, to try to push you into a subscription. For one credit (=1 book) a month, it is £7.99, which is much better. However, I go through at least a book per week.

Three free books for Amazon Prime members who take out a trial. Which is nice, while it lasts.

If I used Audible, I would probably go for their 24 books per year deal, which is £109.99, so £4.58 per book. Even that would only last me for maybe 4-5 months, but I believe that if you are on these subscriptions you can buy extra credits in batches of 3. I did find a link about this a while ago, and I think the price is about the same as the price per book under the subscription, although I can't find the link now, so I can't confirm.

I suppose I could always pay for a second Audible subscription, if necessary.

Sometimes, it is cheaper to buy the ebook on Kindle, then add Whispersync, rather than just buy the audiobook direct, but this is rarely cheaper than £4.58.

There are a few other tips on this webpage, which might help a bit, but they are not a full solution for a heavy user (and some of the ideas are not ones I would be comfortable with):
http://bestfantasybooks.com/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-audible-savings/
koru
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  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    edited 31 December 2020 at 10:06AM
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    Playster

    [Edit in Dec 2020: Playster has gone bust.]

    Then there are a few services with an "all you can eat" model, similar to Netflix. You only rent the books, so if you stop paying for the service, you lose all the books. But I don't normally re-read books, so I'm not too bothered by this.

    Playster is £14.50 pm, so if you listen to more than 3 books a month then it is cheaper than Audible at £4.58 per book.

    I think it has fewer books than Audible, though I can't find any figures for the UK. This review says 180,000 for Audible and 100,000 for Playster, but those seem to be US figures, and I'm guessing they don't necessarily have the same rights in the UK:
    http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/entertainment/best-audiobook-services/
    koru
  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    edited 22 December 2017 at 1:39PM
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    Kobo

    Kobo now does audiobooks, but they don't seem competitive for heavy users. £6.99 for a book a month subscription, which is slightly cheaper than Audible if you only want 1 book a month.

    I can't find any information about whether Kobo has any heavier-duty subscriptions or what they charge for extra credits, so I assume they don't beat Audible's £4.58 per book. Why are they all so coy about what they actually charge?
    koru
  • Peter999_2
    Peter999_2 Posts: 1,000 Forumite
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    Also, Audible have a deal of the day offer which is between 99p to £2.99. I receive an email from them each day with the latest offer.

    I've bought about 70 of these including some best sellers.
  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    Peter999 wrote: »
    Also, Audible have a deal of the day offer which is between 99p to £2.99. I receive an email from them each day with the latest offer.

    I've bought about 70 of these including some best sellers.
    I presume this is only for subscribers. A good way to add extra books, assuming they have a reasonable number that match one's taste.
    koru
  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    Audiobooks.com

    This one works the same way as Audible: £7.99 for one credit per month, but their website says nothing about other subscriptions, nor does it explain the price to buy extra credits, but I would be surprised if it were less than £7.99.

    So, not competitive with the Audible 24 books in 12 months option. Even if you just want a book per month, I can't see any reason to choose this service over Audible (other than the desire to stop Amazon completely taking over the world).
    koru
  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    edited 26 December 2017 at 1:41PM
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    Downpour

    Apparently this service is available to UK customers, even though it is priced in US dollars: $12.99 pm for one credit per month, which is about £10. Same price for extra credits. At £10 per book, not remotely competitive with any of the other services in the UK.

    (Interesting that UK prices seem better than in the US. A rare example of the UK being cheaper than the US. Downpour is cheaper than Audible in the US: $12.99 vs $14.99 for a basic subscription. But as Downpour just makes UK people pay the dollar price, which is about £10, it is not competitive with Audible's UK price, which is £7.99.)
    koru
  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    edited 31 December 2020 at 10:16AM
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    Bookbeat

    This seems similar to Playster, but cheaper. £12.90pm for unlimited audiobook rentals. So, it would be cheaper than Audible on a per book basis, if you get through at least 3 books per month.

    Assuming a book per week, it equates to £3 per book. At 5 books a month, £2.58.

    It seems to have a limited selection (at least in English) compared with Audible, so if you listen to a lot you would probably exhaust their library after a while. Then sign up with a different service to read the books that Bookbeat does not have.
    koru
  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    edited 20 January 2019 at 12:10PM
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    So far, then, I think my champion is Bookbeat, which is likely to be cheaper than Audible's cheapest deal, for someone who gets through at least one audiobook per week.

    But are there any others? Perhaps there are others I haven't spotted.
    koru
  • koru
    koru Posts: 1,509 Forumite
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    eStories

    I found another, which has a plan with 5 credits pm. If you pay annually, it equates to £5.20 per book. https://www.estories.com/plans
    koru
  • Peter999_2
    Peter999_2 Posts: 1,000 Forumite
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    Hi Koru,

    No, you don't need to be a subscriber to buy the deal of the day books. I stopped subscribing over a year ago and still buy them every few days.

    You can get them to email you with the daily deal. I've now listened to loads of books that I wouldn't have chanced at full price.

    https://audible-uk.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/6416
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