Why Not to Use Audible.com

This is a bit of a rant.

Basically I have become so irritated with Audible.com, an Amazon company providing a good library of audio books, what once was a very good service, that I not only have cancelled my membership, but am informing as many others as I can. Below is what I sent their tech support.

I have been an Audible member for years, and have hundreds of downloaded titles. But your service has become too expensive in my time to continue using. I am a 30-yr tech person who has spent decades in computer usage, programming, etc. I am not a neophyte.

There are at least two problems. The first is that you force me to use the CD burner from iTunes. This is a really bad idea. The iTunes CD burner app is really bad. There is no intuitive way to re-start a burn if it fails for any reason. Until you spend time with Tech Support you just throw-away burned disks (of a multi-CD burn) and start over when iTunes craps-out before completing the entire book, wasting time and the cost of the disks. Then when you learn how to re-start a burn at a particular point, it just takes time and effort that the Roxio burner you USED TO SUPPORT did not take. In discussing this with Tech Support on multiple occasions, it turns out that the problems I have with iTunes are NOT unique to me. Basically your company has chosen to use a system that raises your costs through the increased requirement to staff tech support, a requirement driven by your (exceedingly dumb) choice to force your users to use iTunes for CD burning.

I have been trying off-and-on to burn two books for two weeks to no avail. I have spent too much time with Tech Support. I had to call twice this morning, for example, just to get the thing going – first iTunes wouldn’t delete the book from its list, so I couldn’t download it [again – iTunes won’t let me burn an already-burned book, even if that burn did not complete, so you must delete it and re-download it – DUMB]. Then I had to remove it from several different areas – again, not intuitively obvious – in order to re-download it successfully. This cost me – and you – two calls to Tech Support.

Finally I get the thing deleted, make multiple playlists (each of the two books I was trying to burn had two parts to it, and the iTunes CD burn function seems not to allow for the burning of multiple titles from one playlist – again, not intuitively obvious, and iTunes doesn’t tell you) and begin a burn. It craps out for no explicable reason after burning two CDs out of who knows how many. Another call to Tech Support, costing me more time and you more money. Turns out the iTunes CD burner, if it reaches a chapter end-point coincident with a CD endpoint, asks for a new CD but will not continue the burn. You must force the burn to continue by a process requiring more non-intuitive knowledge of iTunes than any who has not had the problem has, or can find. ANOTHER call to your Tech Support.

So now I have used – wasted – over 2 hours of my time this morning (in addition to four hours a couple of weeks ago when I first started this), and half-a-dozen disks (today; well-over 20 disks over the failed burn attempt across two weeks). I start burning again… and iTunes errors-out on the third disk for unknown reasons – the error message says it had an “unknown error” – and so I have again wasted time and CDs.

So I call Tech Support for the THIRD TIME this morning. My goal this time simply is to find someone who cares about their customers. I tell the person answering my call that I want to speak with a manager or supervisor who cares that I have wasted too much time, too much money and now am going to cancel my subscription because I have been forced into an unworkable CD burning system by Audible’s choices on CD burning.

After reviewing my two earlier calls today, he tries to take me through his script. Nope. I want to talk with a manager or supervisor, someone who cares about customers and MAYBE can make a decision. He says OK and puts me on hold. Fine. Then two minutes later he comes back and, not having achieved the goal of getting me to a manager, tries to talk me through the problem. I tell him that is not why I called, and that he has two choices: I can cancel my subscription and tell everyone I know how bad Audible is, and how poorly they treat customers, or I can cancel my suibscription and keep it to myself – his choice, no third option. He asks if he can place me on hold again. I tell him he already did that to get a manager and failed. He says it’s his procedure. I tell him it’s not my procedure and hang up.

So – in your opinion, which choice did he make?

I will cancel my subscription and put a summary of the above on my blog and tell everyone I know NOT to use your service as you don’t care about your customers. And when I find I want an audio book, I will just buy it – no more Platinum or any other color membership with Audible.

Too bad. You have a useful service, but forcing me to use iTunes to burn CDs, especially when alternatives exist, and then being unwilling to provide the level of support requested has become just too much time for me to waste.

The summary is this: Audible doesn’t care about their customers. They have chosen a very poor CD burn strategy that requires using iTunes “walled garden.” I am an iTunes user and have no problem with music or books via my iPods or iPhone. But when I want to burn my books to CD – the entire Audible experience changes for good to one of the worst wastes of time and effort I have experienced with services I have used.

I have cancelled my subscription and recommend others find an alternative to Audible for downloadable content.

About Alex Scipio

About Alex Scipio: Alex moved out of the People's Republic of California to the Free State of Arizona, finally tiring of the lack of the Bill of Rights, the overgrown idiocracy, and the catering to non-Americans & welfare recipients. He still wonders how America got from Truman, Eisenhower, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the Liberal and Conservative extremes so badly managing America today. And, yes, islam DOES need to be annihilated. And doing what he can to get folks away from the extremes of political life.
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4 Responses to Why Not to Use Audible.com

  1. Davidivad says:

    Actually, you can convert Audible AA/AAX audiobooks to MP3, M4A, WAV, etc. with an audiobook converter

    Just import your Audible audiobooks to iTunes, then you can convert Audible audiobooks to M4A with chapter info kept.


  2. Enidrhee says:

    You can get a Audible Audio Converter to help you manage, convert, edit and burn audiobook easily. All you need to you is download and install it then the program will do the rest for you.

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  4. Mark says:

    Love it. I, too, am frustrated with audible.com’s limitations. That’s how I found your rant. 🙂

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