I generally try to buy things piecemeal - I'm a believer in Felix Dennis's adage that "Overhead walks on two legs." So I try to buy things individually, which lets me have a good grasp on where money is going.
But Audible is awesome. At some point, I made the switch from reading to listening to most of my books, and the service is bloody amazing.
They have a "credit" system where you sign up, and you get one credit for month, and one credit gets you an audiobook. $7.49 for the first three months, then $15 per month after that. They also send out targeted offers to buy credits cheaply.
I just finished Anthony Everitt's "Augustus" and got started on Ted Turner's "Call Me Ted." Just bought Jan Morris's Heaven's Command from the Pax Britannica series too. They have tons of fiction if that's your thing, but I'm more impressed with their catalog of history and biographies which are the hardest kind of books for me to find digital copies of. I'll pick up Ron Chernow's "Washington" and "Hamilton" biographies after I finish Call Me Ted and Heaven's Command.
Also, another option to think about - a friend of mine who is huge into audiobooks shared a tip - you can share an account with up to 3 mobile devices, so my buddy splits a 2-credit-per-month account with his two roommates and they can all listen. It's a cool option if you have a regular reading club.
Hey Sebastian, just a couple quick notes:
I used audible for a few months. The audiobooks are great, and it's pretty easy to use. Even though they're owned by Amazon, and I love Amazon, I've found them to be particularly annoying a few ways.
(1) I was paying $15 a month. I had a bunch of stuff to listen to that I already wasn't getting to, so I decided to cancel. They hit me with an "are you sure?" offer that cut the rate to $7.95 a month. I figured, why not, that's a pretty damn good deal. I didn't see any fine print on the offer page, so I clicked ok. $7.95 rate lasted for a month and then promptly jumped back up to $15. WTF?
(2) After I noticed the increase in cost, during a real busy time where I didn't want to screw around with arguing about $7, I just decided to cancel. Try cancelling your account. Seriously. It was tough to find the link the first time I did it (above). The second time, it was invisible. Which is probably why there's 20 million google results for "how to cancel your audible subscription." Pretty weak stuff, Audible. When I finally found the page to cancel, since I've already cancelled before, they attempted to make me call to cancel. This is absurd. Luckily, their system isn't so great so I was able to back up, choose a different reason for quitting, and then cancel online.
Anyway, the books are great. Their customer experience, however, isn't anywhere near Amazon quality.
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. After "Titan" about Rockefeller's life, Chernow became my favorite biographer.
Washington: A Life is another masterpiece by him.
It's always good to go through the histories of founders of great nations, and this is no different. Of particular note is that Chernow is as thorough as ever, going through Washington's business dealings and carefully noting his dress, horseback riding style, and the routes he took when campaigning both militarily or touring as a political leader.
The book drags sometimes - Chernow's hyper-thorough, which is fantastic except when you want the pace to pick up - but some of the details are really fantastic. I got some great ideas on dress, presentation, ethics, communication, building intelligence networks, recruiting, endurance, and diplomacy from the book. Also, the ending of the book is probably the most interesting - seeing how Washington and Hamilton modeled the Federalist platform loosely on British Imperialism was amazingly insightful. The points about state debt, finance, and taxation were fascinating.
Enjoyed this one quite a lot and feeling much more intelligent about early American affairs.
Audible.com has a very mature customer acquisition and retention strategy. I originally signed up for Audible after they sponsored of one of my favorite podcasts, This American Life. Audible was offering a free audio book, just to try the service. I decided to try it.
Little did I know that I was entering the Hotel California of software subscription services. I'm not upset with them -- it's more that I'm in awe of their ability to keep me as a customer for a year longer than I expected.
The reality is that Audible is expensive -- around $15/month to be able to purchase one audio book per month. After using up my free month, and then paying for two additional months, I realized I wasn't going to use it enough to justify the cost since I'd only listened to one audio book in a three-month span, and I went to cancel it.
Audible then offered me a deal: Just $5 for me to keep my existing credits for the next year. Since I had two audio books I hadn't read, I took the bait. But I never used those credits so when the renewal came up, I knew I really wanted to cancel.
Here's what the process was like when I just tried to cancel the account: