I've mentioned several times in recent posts how enamored I've become of the audiobook market. I'm having fun releasing audio versions of my books, and I appear to be discovering an entirely new audience for my work. In fact, over the past few days, I've had a number of conversations with audiobook listeners, and one of the things I've discovered is that many of them - especially those who "read" almost exclusively via audio - are spending far more for audiobooks than they should. In short, they aren't aware of Whispersync.
Basically, Whispersync is Amazon technology that lets you switch back and forth between reading the Kindle version of a book and the audio version, without losing your place. So if you're on, say, page 102 of an ebook and about to head out for your 1-hour morning commute, Whispersync will allow you to start listening to the audiobook right where you left off reading. Neat, right? The only drawback, one would think, might be the fact that you obviously need to have both the ebook and the audiobook to take advantage of this. That, however, is actually the best part: you can typically get both for an extraordinarily cheap price.
Take my novel Sensation, for example. Let's say you already own the Kindle version (which is regularly priced at $4.99) and are interested in getting the audiobook. If you go to Audible and look it up, it'll present you with this information:
Basically, if you look at where the blue and red arrows are pointing, this tells you in two places that you can get the audiobook - which is regularly priced at $19.95 - for only $1.99! In short, you'd pay a little less than 7 bucks for both the Kindle and audiobook versions! Even if you never read the ebook, that's a far better deal that getting the audiobook at regular price.
Likewise, if you go to Amazon and look up the ebook, you'll see essentially the same offer:
Here, the two red arrows indicate that the audiobook (which is normally $19.95) can be had for $1.99 after purchasing the ebook. (The blue arrow points to a drop-down passage that generally says the same thing: you can get both the ebook and the audiobook for less than $7 total.)
Surprisingly, I've been given to understand that a great many audio listeners are unaware that these kinds of deals are out there. However, that may be due to a number of reasons, including the way audiobooks appear on Audible. Take my book Mutation, for instance. If you haven't bought the ebook and look it up on Audible, the product page will have this info:
Basically, there's no indication on Audible that buying the ebook will allow you to purchase the audiobook for only $1.99, even though that's exactly the case. Thus, someone whose library consists almost solely of audio works (and who is unaware of Whispersync) might spend a credit to purchase my audiobook. That, of course, requires an explanation of what a credit is.
Without going into a lot of detail, audiobook pricing on Audible is very convoluted, to say the least, and the price of an audiobook may vary wildly based on numerous factors, such as whether the purchaser is an audible member, whether they're using a member credit, and so on. A member credit is exactly what it sounds like: a credit that will let you purchase one audiobook, regardless of price. So if an audiobook costs $10, you can buy it with a single credit. Likewise, if it costs $100, you can still buy it for that same solitary credit.
A monthly Audible membership will net you one free credit per month. Also, Audible sells credits that can be bought in various quantities. For instance, a 3-pack of Audible credits cost $35.88. In that scenario, each credit would be worth $11.96. Therefore, if you buy a 3-pack, you're better off paying cash for any audiobook that costs less than $11.96, and you come out ahead using a credit if it costs more than that.
Now, circling back to the purchase of one of my audiobooks, it would be far more economical for an audio listener to pay cash for the ebook/audiobook combo that to buy the audiobook alone or use a member credit. But this doesn't just hold true for my books but for many others as well - look at Super Powereds, Year 3, for example. The cost of the audiobook is regularly priced at $62.99. Spending a member credit valued at $11.96 to purchase it might seem like a steal, but wait! If you buy the ebook ($5.99), then the audiobook is only (drumroll, please)...$3.49! In other words, you get both the ebook and audiobook for less that $9.50!
In short, if you're a fan of audiobooks, it would seem to make the most economic sense in many instances to pay cash to purchase the ebook and audio versions of a novel (if they're Whispersynced, of course). That will save you a ton of cash in the long run, and allow you to use your Audible credits to purchase more expensive items for which there is no Whispersync deal.
***On a side note, Audible has actually provided me with some promotion codes that allow me to gift copies of my audiobooks for free. I've just received more codes for Sensation, so if anyone would like a copy, please shoot me your email address and whether you prefer the Audible US or Audible UK store. (If you do not have an Audible account, you can get a 30-day free trial and a copy of the Sensation audiobook by signing up here.) Finally, if you are interested in receiving information about my audiobooks - including new releases and free copies - please subscribe to my Audibook Newsletter.