Friday, March 19, 2021

To Listen, or Not to Listen

I love my Audible subscription, but there are some little 'snags' (limitations) to such a membership that aren't immediately apparent. My annual subscription gives me 12 credits, which amounts to about $10 per book, which when you think about it, is pretty reasonable (I usually borrow actual books from libraries, but have stopped doing that during the pandemic). But basically, they're not really free, merely paid for up front.

Some book titles are available and are truly free (i.e. don't use up a credit or require payment), but they're usually not new releases, bestsellers, popular, or 'must-reads'. I've been lucky in finding a few in this category that might be worthwhile, so I've stacked them up in my virtual library: Joan Didion's 'The Year of Magical Thinking,' 'Blackbird House' by Alice Hoffman, and Kenn Kaufman's bird book on the world of spring migrations. Michelle Obama's 'Becoming,' and Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste,' will use up my next 2 credits, so I'll be down to 5 (out of 12), just 2 months in!

It's definitely worth experimenting with a free trial from different apps before committing (you still 'own' these books afterwards, so can listen to them again after your subscription ends). I tried both Audible and Audiobooks' free trials. There are many free public domain titles (usually classics) available on Apps like LibriVox that are read by volunteers, so no financial commitment is required, but their delivery and narration is not as professional. Other apps like Scribd (pronounced /skribbed/) also offer some titles for free (not new releases), and their subscription is cheaper than Audible. Chirp comes highly recommended, though I haven't yet tried its offerings ... next free trial?

Some narrators are truly awful. Some over-act. Some try to use foreign accents or other genders, unsuccessfully. Some mis-pronounce words. But, in general, most are wonderful, especially if it's the author reading their own work - that is magical! I love hearing books read by British narrators, since it feels very comforting to me - I can hear my Mom and my Gran, and it feels like I'm at home.

It is possible to return a book if you're not enjoying it (in theory), though I haven't tried this as yet.


Marcy said...

If you ever run in to narrator Michael Prichard he was the quirky accountant I worked with at the Pasadena Playhouse. He did many hours of recording in his office. We were glad someone wanted the office with no windows, he was very pleased with the quiet space to work (when no one was around).

Deb said...

I'll keep an ear out for him. Nice to have a little insight into narrator's lives!