Is An Audible Membership Worth The Money?

Recently a friend asked me a question about my Audible membership that gave me pause. the question was simple enough, “Is your Audible membership worth the money?” The truth is that I couldn’t honestly answer in the moment but I did take some time to parse out the issues that make the value of an Audible membership questionable and I’ll share those issues with you in this post.

The first thing to know is that Audible is owned by Amazon.com and that’s meaningful because Amazon uses Audible to power some of it’s offerings that are separate from any membership you may purchase at Audible. You can log in to Audible with your Amazon account information and utilize forms of payment at Audible that you have stored on Amazon. Even though all of your Amazon information is available to Audible you must log in to Audible from the Audible website itself in order to buy audiobooks.

Where things get a little more confusing comes once you’ve activated your Audible account. An Audible account allows you to purchase audiobooks and download them to Audible’s various apps that are available on Android, iOS and the Kindle Fire OS. An account is different from a membership which involves an ongoing monthly payment to Audible in exchange for Audible credits and discounts on the price of e-books from the regular¬†non-member prices. I have a Gold membership that initially cost $7.49 per month and then escalated to $16 (with tax) per month. Each month Audible charges me the $16 and I get a credit added to my account that I can exchange ¬†for an audiobook.

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The Ecosystem Is The Thing Now

After digesting Apple’s recent iOS 7 event it became clear to me that now more than ever the internet ecosystem that a particular mobile device is connected to is becoming almost as important as the hardware and software on the device. It’s true that sales of mobile devices make Apple a lot of money but it’s the lock-in effect of Apple’s ecosystem that ensures a continuing stream of revenue and future device purchases.

A case in point as far as Apple is concerned is FaceTime video chat. At first FaceTime seemed like a folly in the face of Skype’s dominance. But now that Apple has sold hundreds of millions of iOS devices and Macs that support FaceTime it has become the default video chat client for many iPhone and iPad users. The same goes for Apple’s iMessage service. When I know that someone has an iPhone I’m more likely to iMessage them than send an email when I’m on the go. The lack of the 160 character text message limit is incredibly helpful. And the ability to send and receive on my iPad and Mac make iMessage much more useful than standard texting. I’m seeing iCloud photo streams getting used more within my family too.

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