JUNE IS AUDIOBOOK MONTH (JIAM) – My Journey Into Audiobooks

Posted June 27, 2016 by Anne - Books of My Heart in JIAM / 17 Comments



Hi, my name is Anne and I am an audiobook newbie.


I started listening when I was moving from Minnesota to North Carolina last year. I had multiple day drives and it was excellent for keeping me from getting too bored. I’m going to share what I have learned or show how confused I am. Those of you who are old hands at this – try not to laugh at me. There are also questions I will pose and if you can point me in the right direction please comment and help a girl out, ok?

I have found audiobooks to be awesome for doing chores, over lunch at work or when I’m shopping or waiting in line somewhere. They do not work so well at bedtime since I fall asleep and have to re-listen or I stay awake and don’t go to sleep (same as reading books). Audiobooks also allow me to spoon feed a book to myself if I’m having trouble getting into it or even if I’m just tired. I find now I always have a book I’m reading and another for listening.

So first, let’s talk about how to listen to audiobooks, otherwise known as, audiobook formats. There are actual audio CDs (that’s how I started; I know; I know) and there are digital files. I listened to CDs in the car and also on my boombox while packing and unpacking for the move. Nowadays, I use digital files more often. Normally I listen on my iPhone but I could listen on my Kindle or my computer as well. To clarify, here are formats one can purchase:

  1. Audio CDs – Multiple CDs which can be played in one’s car or on a boombox or computer
  2. Audio CD MP3  – This is usually just 1 or 2 CDs which contain an MP3 file
  3. Digital MP3 (or MP4) – no CDs, downloaded to a device digitally similar to music

Next,  how does one get audiobooks?  Well, I started at the library, of course. It’s especially nice for trying new series or series catchup since they are more likely to have the older titles easily available. The library has both audio CDs and digital files (1 & 3 above). Borrowing is less expensive than buying. CDs can be requested both locally and through interlibrary loan.

For digital, I’m lucky to have a library subscribed to many services, some only have one.  Here are some of the possibilities.

  1. Overdrive
  2. OneClickDigital
  3. 3M Cloud library
  4. Hoopla

The problem here is since they are in different apps on my iPhone. I sometimes forget what I have checked out.

While researching for this post, I found this article at How To Geek which has lots of information about options for borrowing and buying audiobooks. I include it because it has information on many free public domain sites.

Question 1 :  Where or how else can audiobooks be borrowed?

For buying, I am still learning how it works. There are many places. At bookstores or online booksellers, one can purchase either actual audio CDs or a CD with an MP3 or MP4 on it. If you get the CD with the digital file, then it needs to be transfer to your computer to get it to your phone (iphone) or ereader (Kindle).  An online bookseller can send you a digital file to load to your phone or ereader  in a similar way to loading an ebook.

Because I have a Kindle,  I started by looking at Audible. Everything here is digital download. If you want CDs, those are at Amazon. Audible has different options. There are annual/ monthly payments where you get free audiobooks and also a discount on every title purchased. Now if you already own the Kindle book, you can often add the audio for MUCH cheaper. Here is a link to the Audible plans if you are interested.

I have learned some other things about Audible. I purchased my first audio books today in research for this article. (Yes, the library has been awesome!) It is possible to get free trials with Audible where one can get 2-3 free audio books and try it for a month or more. I always think about this and then decide I need to figure out 3 I want to buy first.

If you already own the Kindle version of the book, you may be able to add the Audible version, called Whispersync, for a very small price. I own everything Ilona Andrews on Kindle, so naturally my first purchase was to add Whispersync to Magic Bites. This was available for $4.26 (with taxes).



I also found, if I borrowed a Kindle book at the library – Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill – I could add Whispersync for $4.79, the same as if I owned the Kindle version. This seems wrong, but it is allowed.

Question 2 :  Where else would you recommend purchasing audiobooks?

Some of the websites I found so far are Tantor Media, and Audio Bookstore.

Simply Audiobooks  has an option with a monthly fee ($20-40) for renting physical audiobook Cds, The shipping back and forth is free and the monthly fee is based on how many you get at a time (1-3). This reminds me of the old Netflix system. It says they have purchased as well, but I didn’t see easily how it works. Their library has 50,000 titles. Just Audiobooks is another, similar rental service for $17.98 per month. They have 22,000 CDs. You rent one at a time but can get as many as you can finish / ship in a month.

Downpour, formerly AudioGo,  seems to rent and sell in the digital format. If you can’t get it at the library, they seem to rent at about 70% off the buy price. Depending on the length of the book, it is for 30 or 60 days. They also have some sales to purchase audiobooks.

It looks like Scribd is a digital rental subscription where you get 3 books and 1 audiobook for $8.99 per month. This seems akin to Kindle Unlimited but does include one audiobook per month.

Many of the digital services use Audible for their streaming service downloads. Personally, I am trying to move away from physical books and CDs and get everything digital for better portability and storage.

I’m certain iTunes or iBooks must have audiobooks but I know nothing about it. So I went into them, and they are on iTunes.  The prices seem a couple dollars higher than Amazon / Audible, however, there is seemingly no credit for the audio version if you own the ebook.  The selection or ability to search for things is not as well developed either. But my experience with iTunes audiobooks is extremely limited.

So when I went into iTunes, I had Dark Heir by Faith Hunter which I received on an MP3 CD as a giveaway. I copied it to my computer.  Tonight, I saw it in music. Jennifer’s post on how to change the format so it keeps the playback position (bookmark).  I also changed it from the type of Music to Audiobook and now it’s ready to roll in iBooks instead of iTunes on my computer.  Now I just have to get it transferred to my iPhone. It looks like I could have left it as Music and listened to it there or moved it over to iBooks. This takes me right to my next question.

Question 3:  Can one get all your audiobooks into one listening application?

This is the point where I am currently.  Everything I own, a very small number of items, is on Audible. Well, I do have one in iBooks. I already have the problem with the library items being in 3-4 different applications.   If you buy something at any bookstore in CD format or some other digital source than Audible, can it be put into Audible or iBooks?

My example is with music. Everything I have is in iTunes storage format in directories on my computer and transferred to my iPhone.  I’ve never purchased music from iTunes. Anything digital I have purchased through Amazon.  My old CDs I just loaded onto my computer and everything is available in iTunes – except Amazon Prime music.  So I can use the Amazon music player for that and any other digital music I have purchased.  The pisser there is if I purchased a CD from Amazon and it wasn’t also Autorip (including digital version) it will work for iTunes but not Amazon music.  Amazon music allows the free upload of 250 songs other than those purchased digitally or in Prime music (Prime music is only available while you are a Prime member but it has a wide variety of music). Or you can buy more uploaded songs.   If it weren’t for Prime, easily I would just use my iTunes player as I did before I got Prime.


So for me, the library is amazing. It’s free. The formats and options are many.  It even provides a way to purchase some things less expensively.   Whether books or audiobooks, I am trying to move everything to digital and only buy things I really LOVE and will read or listen to again.  I do see audiobooks as an ideal method to revisit a favorite book or series, even if I read it the first time.

Since I don’t purchase many audiobooks yet, I’m just learning about how to purchase for reasonable prices and how to organize them for easier listening.


Question 4:  What else do you or I need to know?

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Posted June 27, 2016 by Anne - Books of My Heart in JIAM / 17 Comments

17 responses to “JUNE IS AUDIOBOOK MONTH (JIAM) – My Journey Into Audiobooks

  1. You’ve learned a LOT in a short period of time, Anne!

    No matter where I’ve gotten audiobooks in digital format, I transfer them into iTunes to play on my phone via iBooks. The exception is Audible as I like the application. To eliminate confusion, I put the location in the private notes section on the Goodreads book page. It works beautifully.

    Also, if you’re listening in bed, use the sleep timer function in case you fall asleep. That way, you can limit how far back you have to rewind.

    • jonetta – thanks! It seems like the more I know, the more I realize what I don’t know. My MN library is awesome, having a huge selection, but it also means using 3 digital players! So even tho I started using the library, I had the multiple player issue right away. Your suggestion about notes in Goodreads is a good one, and I might have to try the sleep timer.

      • Jonetta (Ejaygirl)

        You can load the CDs onto your computer and upload them into your iTunes library, eliminating the digital players.

        • Yeah I upload my Tantor purchases to iTunes and any CDs I get for review or from the library to iTunes. That way I only have to use the iBooks app.

  2. You’ve learned so much. I listen to pretty much everything on Audible or iBooks. My library only has a few things on digital. I usually have to get the CDs and rip them to my iTunes and then listen. I buy the majority of my books through Audible, though I’ve gotten some deals through Tantor during their sales (like what is going on this month for Audiobook Month). Between the library and publisher reviews, I don’t need to purchase that many.

    As for your last question, start to learn the narrators that you love. I’ve found some great new-to-me authors and stories that I never would’ve picked up based solely on the narrator (well, that and the blurb). I’ve gotten to the point where I follow narrators as much as I follow authors.

    So glad to have another audiobook junkie to join the crowd. 🙂

    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted: Favorite Audiobook Narrators #JIAM2016
    • Melanie – thank you! You are always so supportive; I appreciate it. I’m lucky to have a great library source in MN (I still have property there, ie property taxes, ie library card) How do you know about the sales? I did sign up for the Audible daily deal, although I’m not “member” of any of the plans or services from any of them yet. I also don’t need to purchase many, it seems between the library and publishers. Great tip about the narrators.

      • How you find out about sales? Become an audio stalker. LOL I follow most audio publishers via Facebook and Twitter. They post when they are having sales. Also found some of the bloggers that are audio junkies. They usually share the sales too. I try to share them when I know about them.

    • felicia – thanks, I tried to organize my thoughts. It helped me figure out what I know and what I don’t at least. I’m really hooked on audio books now. I will have to figure out how to use the sleep timer.

  3. I’ve tried Audiobooks.com. Their prices is about the same as Audible. I loved it when they first opened and had the unlimited membership for the same price as one month with Audible but that didn’t last lone. LOL I think they realized they were losing money. But I racked up on a few audios in one month. They have their own app. They offer free audios sometimes and I get an alert via their app so I keep it on my phone.

    Since I have access to most of the audio publishers now I rarely buy audios anymore. I request them for review but for older titles or the ones that I don’t have a relationship with the publisher I will get them from the library or request the library get it for me. Or I will add it to my wish list and watch Audible and Tantor for sales. I’ve been lucky to get the ebook from the library and do the whispersync “work around” to get a few audios cheap.

  4. Jess1

    Being fairly recent to audio books, I found your post to be so very helpful! I’ve gotten some audio books through the library and bought some at Audible & whispersyn copies. I’ll have to re-read your post a few times to check out the different suggestions. It’s frustrating that Audible has special sales but they don’t notify people. I’m still mulling over what membership etc to buy with Audible. With my huge TBR ebook pile, I’m fortunate that my Kindle Touch has a basic text to speech engine that I can turn on if I feel like listening instead of reading. Thanks so much for your post!

  5. For things I get from the library, I have to use the services’ apps. I put everything I purchase into the Audible app via iTunes (this includes stuff from Downpour, Sync, CDs, etc). The only thing it doesn’t work for is audiobooks.com, so I don’t really use them anymore. I keep a list in OneNote of all the books I have and their due dates (either back to library or when a review copy review is expected).

    I don’t know if you read any YA, but I don’t see the Sync program mentioned here. They give away free audiobooks every summer (2 per week). http://www.audiobooksync.com/