While much has been made of e-readers in recent years, it’s easy to forget the first kind of digital book, the kind that does the reading for you, is still alive and well. Audible, a leader in the digital audiobook marketplace, proves as much with the app companion to their web store.
The first thing you’ll notice about the free Audible app is that it comes with seven free excerpts of digital audio books. The books are all available for you to sample, but first must be downloaded from within the app. The downloads don’t take more than a minute or two, and as of this review, there’s actually a note saying download speeds are currently slower than normal.
What is also readily apparent about the Audible app is that you can’t actually download selections from the website right through the app. When you sign up for the Audible service (a free sign-up, though paid “memberships” offer other benefits), you’ll receive a login and password. Purchasing the audiobooks off the Audible website will then make them accessible in your library of the app, where you’ll have to download them in the same manner you downloaded the free samples. It sounds like a convoluted process, but it’s actually quite simple.
As for the actual book interface, it has everything you’d need within a handful of buttons. A horizontal scroll bar lets you drag to a specific point in the book, and there is an option to create a bookmark at any point in the book you want to, ensuring that it’ll be easy to return to particular spots in the book you’re reading later. You can also add notes to the bookmarks.
There are additional buttons to reverse exactly 30 seconds, tweet about the book you’re listening to, and rate the book you’re listening to. Best of all, there’s a button to set a sleep timer. So if you’d like the book to stop in 15 minutes, you can set that easily, making Audible a great tool for falling asleep at night.
For fans of Foursquare and other badge-friendly apps, there are also a series of badges you can earn for using Audible. Users are graded on their app listening level from “Newbie” to “Master,” a timer tracks your total listening time, and various badges are handed out for completing tasks using the app.
While I don’t have an Audible account myself, this app certainly does do its job of making me want one. The interface here is clean and easy to use, and the samples of the audiobooks included sound great. If you’re looking for a digital audiobook player, Audible might just fit your bill.