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Audible Review

Audible Audiobooks On Your Treo & Centro Smartphone Offers Freedom To “Listen” To Books While On The Go + AudibleAir & Kinoma Play Makes Download & Play Process Super Fast & Easy

Audible Review

As you know, I have been one of the biggest proponents of “digital entertainment convergence” on smartphones for many years and thanks to ever faster processors, wireless data plans, huge memory cards and ever more sophisticated applications the number of people now using their smartphone to listen to music, streaming radio, podcasts, audiobooks, watch videos, read ebooks and other forms of media continues to grow exponentially.

In my case, the Treo and Centro have been my favourite and dedicated media players for the last five years and every day I seem to discover yet another tool or service that allows me to expand its capabilities even further.  At the same time, with my recent move to the Treo Pro I have had the opportunity to rediscover one of my favourite services – the Audible audiobooks (a company recently acquired by Amazon).

Audible is not only the top destination for the widest selection of over 50,000 digital audiobooks available for download online but also to audio magazines, radio shows, podcasts, stand-up comedy, and speeches from icons who shape our culture, politics, and business world.  Also, more often than not Audible features the best narrators interpreting many bestselling books by top authors.

If you’ve never tried audiobooks before you may at first wonder why you would ever want to “listen” to a book instead of “reading” it.  The answer is quite simply that there are a great many more occasions where you are free to listen than you are to be able to sit down and read.  According to Audible, the average person only reads 5 books a year while the average AudibleListener listens to 15 books a year thanks to the added convenience and freedom to “consume” this media while on the go (walking, jogging, commuting, cooking, at the gym or while traveling on a train, plane, car or boat and many more).

The particularly important thing for me is that thanks to a software called AudibleAir + AudiblePlayer (both free from Audible) and also Kinoma Play, downloading and listening to your Audible audiobooks on the go has now become ultra simple, very quick and extremely good fun.

 AudibleAir AudibleAir - Download

Here above and below are screenshots of AudibleAir installed on my Windows Mobile Treo Pro (there is also a Palm OS version of the software for Treo and Centro) which allows me to quickly view all the Books and Subscriptions that I have purchased at Audible and to quickly and conveniently download these “over-the-air” to my smartphone using either your wireless data connection, WiFi or even via ActiveSync.

 AudibleAir - Download Settings AudibleAir - Download Complete

In this example, downloading a 20.15MB high quality audiobook via ActiveSync to my memory card took me literally less than 2 minutes.

 AudiblePlayer AudiblePlayer - Skin

Once the download is complete you can press the Play button on AudibleAir to launch the AudiblePlayer (above) where you will find the audiobooks that have been downloaded and saved to your memory card ready to listen while on the go.  The only mildly annoying thing here is that the AudiblePlayer skin is not particularly appealing, it has not yet been updated with 320x320 resolution graphics and also the fact that although you can create bookmarks you cannot add notes within these bookmarks.

 Kinoma-Play-Audible Kinoma-Play-Audible-Login

Another option to listen to all your Audible audiobooks on the go is Kinoma Play (see my review and screenshots above).  Unlike AudibleAir and AudiblePlayer, Kinoma Play is not free BUT it has the advantage that you can “stream” all your audiobooks instead of having to download them to your memory card (plus it also offers a ton of support for other media).

 Kinoma-Play-Audible-Loging Popup Kinoma-Play-Audible-Logged In

As part of the Kinoma Play “Services” you can very quickly and simply Log In to your Audible account and then browse a selection of free audiobooks, best sellers, browse by genres (from Arts, Biography and Business to Spirituality, Sports and Travel), new releases this week and also titles under $10.

 Kinoma-Play-Audible-My Books Kinoma-Play-Audible-Stream Audiobook

More importantly, after logging into Audible via Kinoma Play you also gain access to all your books and subscriptions.  Each audiobook that you have purchased will appear here with its thumbnail and you can begin listening to it via one simple click.  As I mentioned before, the great thing is that all of this audio takes place via streaming and also that Kinoma Play “remembers” where you stopped or paused an audiobook so that you can quickly return to it next time you launch the application.

Audible also offers another application called AudibleManager which allows you to download Audible audio to your computer, transfer audio from your computer to your mobile audio player, burn audio to CD, listen to Audible audio on your PC and manage audio on your mobile audio player.  Having said this, I personally find AudibleAir and Kinoma Play to be far easier and faster tools to listen to your audiobooks on the go.

So how exactly does one get started with Audible?  There are three options for enjoying listening to audiobooks wherever you go:

  1. You can buy one or more audiobooks from Audible on an individual basis and pay the normal retail price for each title.
  2. You can subscribe to an AudibleListener Plan:
    • AudibleListener Gold gives you 1 book credit (valid for any purchase) per month and is currently on offer at only $7.49 per month for the first three months and $14.95 thereafter.
    • AudibleListener Platinum gives you 2 book credits per month for only $22.95 per month (equivalent to $11.47 per book).  You can try AudibleListener Platinum free for 14 days with two free audiobooks included.

Below you will find a few thumbnail links to some of the most popular current Audible bestsellers where you will among other be able to listen to an audio sample of each title so that you can have a better idea of what it’s all about:

       The Subprime Solution (Unabridged) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Hot, Flat, and Crowded Twilight (Unabridged)

Overall I have to say that I find Audible to be an absolutely superb service – particularly now that I can have the flexibility of both AudibleAir and Kinoma Play on my smartphone.  The number of titles on offer is huge, the narrators very good and you have the convenience of listening to an audiobook in so many more situations than a traditional book.  Once you develop a taste for it you will actually constantly be looking for more occasions to listen to a new title.

The only thing that I would like now is for Audible to also implement a way to purchase books while on the go from within the AudibleAir application.  I know that I can use one of the four browsers on my Treo Pro but it would be a lot easier and faster if it was done directly within the app.

Treonauts always find new ways to have fun

Posted by Andrew on November 5, 2008 at 01:29 PM


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by Michael Kellner | Nov 5, 2008 5:44:12 PM

FYI, Kinoma FreePlay _is_ free, and provides the same Audible functionality as Play does.

by Andrew | Nov 5, 2008 8:11:45 PM

Thanks for the tip Michael. I'll make sure that we get the two free apps added to the software store.

Here are the links:

Kinoma FreePlay (Windows Mobile)

Kinoma Player 4 (Palm OS)

Cheers, A.

by Tom | Nov 7, 2008 2:51:45 PM

FYI, My local public library allows you to check audio books out for 14 days for free! Check out this web site to see if your local library offers this service: http://search.overdrive.com/. If you live in Orange County, CA you can go directly to http://ocpl.lib.overdrive.com/

It works great with PocketTunes and other PDA software.


by Richard | Mar 1, 2009 2:18:52 PM

Nice article and I installed the audible air for my treo pro. Unfortunately, the player does not fit on my screen properly. It looks like it has been formatted for another phone. Any ideas?

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