Simply AudioBooks Audio Book Review

With the advent of computer e Readers, Kindle and Nook, it would seem as though the book in audio form would be obsolete.   I’ve never been a big fan of audio books.  I like the idea a lot because it makes literature in all forms available to the visually impaired, it’s an interesting way to pass time on long trips and it’s something to listen to if you are forced to stay in one place for any period of time.  Many audio books are read by entertaining performers who do all the voices and generally make it an interesting listen. 

The Simply Audio Books enterprise follows the same path as NetFlix; you pay a monthly fee based on how many books a month you wish to rent, go online and browse titles, select the titles for your online “bookshelf”, (much like the NetFlix queue) and from that, Simply Audio mails the titles to your home.   The titles are in CD format but unlike NetFlix, there is more than one CD. Depending on the book, there are as many as four.  Instead of flat red envelopes, small blue boxes containing the audio books on CDs are mailed.  Because of the weight, it takes a little longer for the titles to get to you by mail than a movie DVD  would.

I requested two titles from Simply Audio:  “How to Talk to a Liberal; If You Must” by Ann Coulter (read by the author) and “Rebecca” by Daphne duMaurier  read (in the abridged format) by Emma Fielding.  I do not know if “How to Talk to a Liberal” is abridged since I have never read the physical book.   But the only audio version I could get of “Rebecca” was abridged.  I’m not fond of abridged books. I don’t see the point.   Still, I believe there should be an option between abridged and unabridged versions of the same title which Simply Audio does not appear to offer.

Simply Audio does keep up to date with all the new releases despite the fact that their “Most Requested” fiction title is “Honeymoon” by James Patterson which was published in 2005.  The new tell-all “Oprah” by Kitty Kelly is now listed as available.  The service also boasts an impressive genre list :  even certain cookbooks.  The basic fee for one title at a time is $17.98 a month or for $180.00, which is annual fee and works out to a less expensive $15.00 a month.  The fee goes up the more books at a time that you request.  If this is your only method or means of reading, this fee beats purchasing the audio books in stores certainly.  Simply Audio also offers an Mp3 download as well which is iPod compatible but that is an additional amount per month starting at $13.00.

Simply Audio has a pretty generic website that can be a bit confusing if you’re still new to computer websites and there is a demographic that is still computer shy that would utilize an audio book service. In addition,  The site offers samples of the books but many of the selections do not have samples available and the three familiar books I clicked on had the wrong passages in their samples. Simply Audio can boast a  customer service department that is unbelievably friendly.  The customer service at Simpy Audio is such a stark contrast to most customer service call centers in their friendliness and representative knowledge of the product that it is almost ridiculous. In my opinion, every customer service rep should take a page out of Simply Audio’s book.  (No pun intended)

As for recommending this service, I have reservations at this moment.  I know that there is a niche, a certain demographic that is probably very grateful for this kind of rental service and I admit that it probably fills a great need.  I am a brand new Nook owner and I am enjoying it immensely so this service would not fill a need for me at this time.

 

Product Information

Price:Current: Special Offer 1 book/month $14.95/mo $156.00/ annual 2 books/month $24.95/mo $264.00/ annual 3 books/month $31.95/mo $336.00/annual
Manufacturer:Simply Audio
Pros:
  • Excellent for visually impaired
  • Good listening for long trips etc.
  • Lighter than books
  • Very friendly customer service
  • Less expensive than purchasing books
Cons:
  • Website is little difficult to navigate.
  • Some sample audio titles are coded with incorrect passages.
  • Not all titles come in abridged and unabridged versions.
  • Prices are a little steep in competition with titles that can be had on Kindle and Nook.
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Miscellaneous, Reviews

15 comments… add one

  • Mystech May 6, 2010, 11:01 am

    Link to Simple Audio Book web site in paragraph two is mal-formed.

    Good to see some more competition in the audio book vendor market. Checking them out now.

    1
  • Julie May 6, 2010, 11:32 am

    @Mystech I fixed the link :)

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  • Elizabeth May 6, 2010, 11:52 am

    I apologize for that, Julie.

    3
  • Julie May 6, 2010, 12:02 pm

    It wasn’t your fault, it was mine ;)

    4
  • Mark Rosengarten May 6, 2010, 5:13 pm

    I have been using Audible for ten years now. I listen to audiobooks on the way to and from work, on road trips, while out in the yard doing work, while talking a walk around the lake in the local park. I find them to be a wonderful way to pass the time. I listen to them on the plane and in the van while storm chasing.

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  • Sandee Cohen May 7, 2010, 7:19 am

    I am a HUGE audio book fan. And I easily use up all my Audible yearly credits as well as purchase another $200+ each year.

    They are perfect for New Yorkers who walk everywhere.

    Simply Audio is an interesting business model and would be a bargain for me. However, I would never deal with CDs. Too cumbersome to install and not easy to listen to in all those segments.

    However, I wonder if Simply Audio knows that every publisher I talk to agrees that little plastic disks, housed in bigger plastic cases, surrounded by cardboard covers, then covered in clear wrap, and shipped to stores or customers will be obsolete in 5 years.

    Same for Netflix.

    The future is download.

    6
  • Sandee Cohen May 7, 2010, 7:21 am

    @Julie The link still doesn’t work.

    It reads:
    hhtp://www.simplyaudiobooks.com

    The hhtp is the problem

    7
  • Julie May 7, 2010, 7:36 am

    @Sandee Jeez ;) Ok, it’s really fixed now. Really. I mean it!

    8
  • Cliff Tuttle May 7, 2010, 8:59 am

    I too have been an Audible subscriber for many years. I listen to books primarily while walking dogs and doing housework or yardwork. Those tasks can become so boring that I’ll cut them short if my mind is not diverted. I read all day long, mostly on a computer screen, so listening is a nice diversion, especially when the narrator has a pleasing voice, as many now do. I recommend it highly to people who must spend a significant span of time doing something that does not engage the mind — driving is a good choice.

    I agree wholeheartedly, though, with the verdict on downloading. I would not utilize disks anymore, even if they were free. Too much trouble. Audible costs me less than this service would and often provides me with more books than I can handle.

    Cliff Tuttle
    http://www.pittsburghlegalbacktalk.com/

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  • Martin May 8, 2010, 1:33 am

    Aha! Now I know who you look like, Elizabeth. I saw the movie “Entrapment” (well, I only saw about half, it was rather boring) the other day, and Catherine Zeta-Jones was very similar to that picture of you.

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  • Peter Markovic May 8, 2010, 2:54 am

    RE: However, I wonder if Simply Audio knows that every publisher I talk to agrees that little plastic disks, housed in bigger plastic cases, surrounded by cardboard covers, then covered in clear wrap, and shipped to stores or customers will be obsolete in 5 years.

    I could not agree more, perhaps in less than 5 years? It is not only audio books that will be obtained predominantly by downloading, but music also. We are now living in a digital world which I believe we are only seeing the edge of in reference to the total picture.

    Portable media players and smart phones are going to change the way we obtain products, that being of course, where possible in a digital format!

    Pete Markovic
    Publisher of audioforbooks.com

    11
  • Startagl November 7, 2010, 2:31 pm

    I love simply audio. As a person with dyslexia and a very slow reader the audio books allow me to read about 18 books a year. Without this service I barely get through one.

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  • Jessica February 9, 2012, 6:23 pm

    I have been nothing but disappointed. I received a 3-month membership for my birthday. The turnaround was so slow. In that time I received 3 books. Not worth $15. Then, the kicker, they make you put in credit card info to start the account and expressly state that the card will not be charged. Guess what? At the end of the 3 months – without a warning email or an invitation to continue – the company just started charging my card. And then, you have to CALL customer service to cancel. It can’t be done online. Since customer service is only open until 3:00 pm PST, it is VERY inconvenient. I now loathe this company. Wouldn’t use it if it were free.

    13
  • Kent M May 27, 2012, 11:03 pm

    Simply Audiobooks used to be a good source but since Jan. of 2012 customer has went in the toilet. I have tried contacting them by phone No Answer and they do not even reply to the contact form on the Contact Us page. I do not know who has taken over for them but they are failing. So if anybody reads this that has a inside to who owns them they should pass along this information.

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  • Kate November 19, 2012, 4:29 pm

    I have to echo Jessica’s comments about Simply Audiobooks. The turnaround in mailing the CDs is much too slow. It took over a week to receive my first two books. I was finished the second book (12 CDs) before they even acknowledged that they had received the first book back. I live on the East Coast, less than a day’s drive to Buffalo, and it takes over a week to ship the CDs? I know the USPS is faster than that. I am shopping for alternatives to Simply Audiobooks for when my 3 Month Gift Subscription is up.

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