Audible members can now give their audiobooks to an unlimited number of people

Audiobooks are a hot sector for indie publishers and leading supplier Audible is now allowing members to give any audiobook they own to an unlimited number of people for free via email, text, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, using their iOS, Android and Windows 10 devices.

Each recipient gets his or her first title through the program for free, and Audible will pay authors, actors and other rights holders the equivalent value of each recipient’s first title.

That could be quite a bonus for indie authors with audiobooks as they can promote their titles to book clubs, schools or any type of group with the fantastic offer of buy one and distribute as many as you like for free. It could prove expensive for Audible as it has pledged to pay authors for each recipient but it’s also a clever marketing move as a recipient only gets the first title free so the firm is hoping that the scheme will introduce new people to audiobooks and turn them into regular customers.

Audible CEO Donald Katz says, “Audible customers own each title they buy as members or a la carte purchases and can carry their Audible libraries around forever. Now our listeners can send complete titles to anyone in the US and the cost is on us.”

Whether an Audible title owner is a book club member who wants to share an audiobook with an entire group, a teacher recommending a title to a class, or a listener giving to a friend, the new feature is designed to be easy to use. Simply tap on the Send this Book icon in My Library and the audiobook you give will be sent free to as many people as a customer wants to include (and it remains in your library). If it is a recipient’s first time accepting an audiobook via this feature, the recipient does not need to sign up for a free trial or use a credit card to redeem the title.

Audible, which is owned by Amazon, claims to have invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997 and last year listeners around the world downloaded 1.6 billion hours of audio from Audible outlets while Audible members downloaded an average of more than 17 books during 2015. Two-thirds of new Audible members are first-time audiobook buyers and the firm offers around 180,000 titles.

Audible membership costs $14.95 a month after 30 days’ free trial and this covers one free audiobook a month plus 30% off additional audiobooks.