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Audiobook Wars Are ON!

When you sit in the car as much as I do and are a huge reader, nothing saves the day like an audiobook. I currently subscribe to (Amazon owned) and am always amazed at how many audiobooks I actually go through on a monthly basis. I have to force myself to adhere to the once-a-month free credit I get with my subscription (one book/month for $14.95) because let’s face it: $27 for an audiobook is really expensive. Between $18-$30 is the average cost for a DISCOUNTED audiobook on the site.

What gives??!

Imagine my delight when I came across this news item announcing Scribd audio books only carry a $9.99/month subscription fee with unlimited access. I can read 5 audio books in one month and only pay $10? Yes, please! And suck it, Amazon!

Oh, but wait. There is a catch.

Surfing the titles on Scribd I discovered that Scribd doesn’t have publishing rights to certain books and therefore cannot carry those books and audiobooks. And when I say “certain” books, I mean virtually all the titles in my GoodReads “To Read” pile are not available. Amy Tan? Nope. Donna Tartt’s “The GoldFinch”? Not available. Any books by Geraldine Brooks? Only one title.  Neil Patrick Harris’ new memoir? Yep, not there.  The list went on and on.

To be fair, there are good books available on the site but if it’s a new book- and a popular one by a prolific author- forget it. Why  should I be restricted as to what I want to read? I want to read what I want to read WHEN I want to read it. By the way, those books I mention above were my top picks and I struck out on all four. I don’t want to have to spend my time searching for a book I really want to read, only to find that it’s not available and then settle for a second choice instead. Not worth the $10/month, in my opinion.

So Amazon is remaining top dog in the digital e-reader/audiobook subscription battle for now. Is it the online behemoth that is to blame or the publishing contracts? You decide. Us readers are the ones who end up with the (expensive) bum deal.


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