Canadian audiobook service Audiobooks.com has opened up in the UK with around 70,000 titles available at a monthly subscription rate of £7.99.
The price for Audiobooks.com is the same as Amazon’s market-leading Audible service but it’s higher than the cost of Kobo’s recently launched audiobook subscription scheme which charges £6.99 a month.
Audiobooks.com claims to be the second-biggest provider of audiobooks in North America and was bought by RBmedia earlier this year. RBmedia also owns WF Howes, one of the leading audiobook publishers in the UK.
It has an introductory 30-day offer where new customers can claim two free books. When the free period ends, members get one audiobook a month for the price of their subscription. Extra titles can be bought with the usual complicated system of credits which seems to be the norm in the audiobook market. The Audiobooks.com price for an InstaCredit is £7.99 which gets you one audiobook.
Both the Audible and Kobo audiobook websites make it clear that you keep the audiobooks you have purchased permanently even if you cancel your membership. This might also be the case with Audiobooks.com but it is not stated explicity on its website where the terms and conditions state confusingly, “The license to the Audiobooks.com content you purchase will continue for as long as your copy of Audiobooks.com content exists pursuant to these Audiobooks.com Purchase Terms and Conditions.”
By comparison, Kobo states up front, “Keep all your audiobooks forever, even if you cancel your subscription” while Audible also says prominently on its sign-up page “Cancel anytime and keep all your books.”
The audiobook business has been seeing strong growth in recent years. The North American Audio Publishers Association says there was a 34% rise in audiobook units in 2016. In the UK the Publishers’ Association reports consumer audio downloads increased by 28% in 2016 but it remains a small market in the UK at just £16 million for that year.