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Today, 40Tech is pleased to present a guest post by Larry Behrens from PoorDadTech.Com.


It started with a Facebook ad, of all things. Those ads that are over there to the right of the page promising you free gadgets, free girls or fake farms. This one offered me a free audio book of an autobiography I was debating over. I resolved to deal with only one page of spam and clicked on it. Months later what I have found is if you really buy a lot of books, this could be a way to get more for a little less. 

I’m talking about Audible.Com. Before you click away thinking I’m a hack for their company I’d like to throw two numbers at you: 15 and 3.  The 15 is the current number of books in my library on, 3 is the average price (in dollars) that I paid per book. That’s it right there. 

 Audible is a website where you can purchase and download audio books. Those books transfer to your MP3 player and there you have it. I downloaded that first book promised in the Facebook ad for free. But I did have to give up a credit card number to begin an account, something I hate doing. The reason, because I’m the poster boy for being too lazy to cancel. It would be really nice if Audible truly gave out a no strings attached free copy. 

In a story that’s as unpredictable as a Harlem Globetrotter game, I forgot to cancel the membership. I shelled out the $14.95 for one month and resolved to move on. I received one credit for paying up the month. Audible credits are like currency, you can use credits to buy books or store them up. With the plan I was on they gave me one credit a month. I would go on to be an Audible member for three months and here’s what I learned: 

The Good 

  • Most of the books on Audible can be “bought” for one credit, so you can usually get at least one book a month with your membership.
  • There are two MP3 players in my home, I have an iPod Nano and my wife has a Sansa Fuze. Audible made it pretty simple to download the right file for each player. Getting the files to work with iTunes took about 5 minuets work I could’ve done without, but that’s it.
  • After that first month, I did try to cancel my membership; Audible offered me $20 to stick around and I took it, because I am easily bought
  • The children s books are a flipping bargain, and some of them have the illustrations move as video while the story is being read.
  • I got another free book for downloading the Audible App to my Blackberry (although they choose the book).
  • When the $14.95 a month became too much to pay, Audible offered to keep my account active for months. I didn’t get any credits, but I could still access the free content if I wanted.
  • Even if/when I am no longer a member, I keep the books in my library.


The Bad 

  • While there is a decent selection of titles, Audible simply doesn’t have an audio book for every published book. I would check their library before signing up to see if they’ll have enough to interest you.
  • After accepting their "$20 to stay" offer, I could no longer cancel online. I had to call in and talk to a representative who tries to keep you on board.
  • $14.95 a month adds up. Assuming a hard cover book is $20 you do save money if you only download one book a month. But I think the savings are a wash when you consider you’re buying a book you can’t put on your shelf.
  • Remember how I said most titles are 1 credit?  Well, some of the high demand or longer volume books can run 2 credits. My wife wanted to hear "Twilight" but we would’ve had to wait two months (to accumulate 2 credits) and would’ve paid close to $30 for it.
  • Audible offers free content to members, such as an audio version of some newspapers. But I could never find the time or the need to download them.


The Verdict 

If you’re going to make an Audible membership work you will need two essential things:

  • a love of owning many books
  • the time to listen

If you fall into those categories then the price for Audible is right for you. You will accumulate books much faster, and cheaper than buying the hard copies. 

If you buy a new book maybe once every three months or less, you might want to keep with the old-fashioned way.  As I said, I’ve purchased 15 books from Audible and that is more than I usually buy. But since I was paying for the membership I felt the need to make it worth it. But while I have 15, I’ve found the time to listen to about 4.  

The reason I don’t have a lot of time? I can’t stop clicking Facebook ads.

Bio: Larry Behrens is the founder/editor of PoorDadTech.Com, a tech blog aimed at those on a budget. He lives in New Mexico with his wife and four kids who will have to pay for college on their own because of his love for gadgets.