Audiobooks: Subscriptions and Costs

I was going to do a review on A Once Crowded Sky today but, something is bugging me and I thought my booknerd community could help.  Recently, with the winter taming off I started going for my evening walks again.  After the kids go to bed I trek out into the world and enjoy some peace and air while Jenn relaxes in her bath and meditation.  The opportunity to get some alone time, space, exercise is a great cap to the day, then Jenn and I can settle into some reading or a movie, both in a relaxed, settled mind frame.  Well while I wonder the neighborhood I love to catch up on recent podcasts or have a good audiobook going.  The problem is finding an audiobook.

In the past I have used Hoopla or Overdrive for my audiobook selection.  They are both great services that are free through my local library.  Unfortunately, after forgetting to take our library haul back before we left on our Christmas holidays, I owe them a fair bit of change.  That’s all well and good, I have to settle that up anyways.  I need my library.  But, the issue with Hoopla (my preferred source) is it works like an online library.  Meaning, if someone else has borrowed the audiobook I am after, I will have to wait or put a hold on it.  So, the selection is limited.  I would love to be able to borrow what ever book I so choose at whim.  Thus, I started looking around at my options.

The number one source for downloadable audiobooks is Audible.  Owned and operated by Amazon, Audible has the largest most accessible selection of audiobooks on the internets.  However, the pricings seem out of whack.  Audible has two options.  One, is to pay for audiobooks individually at full price.  How much could an audiobook download be if you are not receiving a hard copy you ask?  Well I asked.  Full price, ranging from $40 to $100 Canadian.  What!?!  Option two, Audible carries a subscription service.  For $15CAN/month you can select whatever books you like.  The issue being, you are limited to one book per month.  If I do the math quickly- 30 one hour walks/month, minus 8 nights of podcasts, equals 22 hours.  Well an audiobook can range from 6 to 24 hours but average around the 10 hour mark.  That’s not including the speed up option because they… read… so… sloooooow… Anyways, that means I will need 2 or 3 books a month.  So, what good is a subscription if it doesn’t even cover my needs?

Plus, subscriptions are getting out of hand.  We already have a monthly phone bill, internet bill, Netflix, cable, I’m not a gamer but my son is growing up fast.  On top of that, I pay a subscription for Google Play Music, which is great, all the music I want for one price, and I get my podcasts in there.  Why do they not carry audiobooks?  That would be too convenient to have it all in one place for one price.  Okay, okay, I get I can spend more on one book at the bookstore but, I get a tangible copy that I can keep forever, pass on, and it looks nice on the bookshelf with all of my other lovelies.  I cannot condone $15/month on an audiobook that will only be used one time.  And, $40 to pay for one is over the top.  I get that there is added production and costs to making an audiobook but, really?  40 bucks? When I can get a mass market paperback for $10?  Where are these prices coming from.  And, if I wanted to buy the hardcopy, so at least I have something tangible.  Then, I have to go through the hassle of converting it myself to get it on my phone so I can enjoy my walk.  Urgh.

Other free audiobook programs are limited in themselves.  Either the books are all things I have no ambition to read at the moment or they are read by volunteers.  Which is nice in theory however, the quality is typically subpar.  I have tried a dozen different programs now and they all have their own faults, usually selection.  The frustration with it has become to much to bare.

What I need, what I want, is a renting program.  Say for $5, I can borrow an audiobook, have it on my phone enjoy it stress free, and in a month you take it back.  Is that so much to ask?  I think $5 to listen to a book one time is pretty reasonable over $15 or $40.  So, I rant about this in my favourite place in the world, the Green Onion Blog, and ask you my friends, fans, and followers, any suggestions?  What do you use?  Do you think these subscriptions are a rip off or, well money spent?  Or, am I just not finding the right app and everyone is holding out on me?  Please, let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

Thanks booknerds, I just want to enjoy my walks.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. Nancy says:

    I love audio books, and use them when I drive. Although my library offers free Hoopla & Overdrive, I go old school and just check them out of the library in CD form. For walking around the neighborhood, I would suggest Playaways, that are similar to MP3 player and very portable. Many libraries lend them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      Thanks, I’ll have to check that out


  2. Donna says:

    My poor eyesight is begging me to find audiobooks but the only option available is audible and their price is just out too expensive for my student budget. I don’t even have access to services like Overdrive or Hoopla as I’m in France. I have bought a couple of audiobooks when I had eye surgery but I’m still looking for a way to get more without giving out all my money!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      The struggle is real. Im glad Im not the only one


  3. rashthedoctor says:

    😲 I have never liked the idea of Audiobooks and never tried but I did manage to learn about Audiobook listener struggles and $40 is a lot of money 😨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      It is outrageous and I from what I got back its a struggle for a lot of people

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rashthedoctor says:

        glad I simply rely on Ebooks and Paperbacks then 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Marta says:

    I’ve never tried a full audiobook. I’ve looked into Youtube but the quality isn’t the best, as it can be expected … but I’m definitely not getting them from audible just to “try” – especially when I know I’d probably quit eventually, I wouldn’t be able to pay attention to it for a long time. :/
    I never knew libraries provided audiobooks too, I might check it out 🙂


  5. Laura Beth says:

    I enjoyed both of your posts – Thank you! The only time I’ve used audiobooks is through my local library, for books on tape or CDs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      Thanks. I am kind of new to the audiobook thing, i never really understood them until I got Hoopla and now walks are way more enjoyable

      Liked by 1 person

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