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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Apple and U2 Remind Us How The Internet Enables Free

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 24 hours you know that Tim Cook (with U2 by his side) announced yesterday that U2’s brand new album Songs Of Innocence has been given to every single iTunes user. Apple says that this means the album is available to 500 million people, more people than have ever had free access to a full album. While many people are focused on the music industry implications of this promotion I have thought about it in the context of the concept of free and how the internet enables free as a business strategy better than any other medium of distribution.

For those of you who haven’t delved too deeply into the free concept I highly recommend reading (or listening to) the book Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson. Interestingly enough, the audio version of the book is…free! Strangely enough I think that Free (the book) is worth paying for if you have to because it may change the context in which you view how free stuff can be used to facilitate growth of a business. More importantly, you may understand more about how the internet has created a great opportunity to capitalize on the free concept.

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