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Audible is Awesome

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.

The Hotel California of cancellations: Audible tries everything to keep me

On DROdio

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:

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