Spotify Word: Stream audiobooks, podcasts poetry and more for free

If you are looking for free audio content, Spotify’s Word genre offers a diverse of spoken word materials, podcasts, audiobooks, poetry , short stories and more.  Right now the collection is somewhat small, but is growing.

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:

  • A collection of public domain audiobooks including works like The Great Gatsby and The Secret Garden.
  • An interesting selection of poetry, including readings by Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost and W.B. Yeats.
  • A diverse literature and short story selection, ranging from Dickens to Russian and French literature.
  • Radio dramasand spoken word performances in crime, sci-fi and vintage categories. (There’s even an selection of audio dramas from the sci-fi classic, Blake’s 7.)
  • A collection of speeches, including famous speeches by Martin Luther King, Joseph Campbell and Noam Choamsky.
  • Want to learn a foreign language? There are lessons in audio courses in Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese and even Irish.
  • There are also playlists for self-help, spirituality and guided meditation

All of this content is available on Spotify’s free tier. The only downside is that while Spotify allows ad-supported on-demand listening for free on desktops and tablets, the service is shuffle only for smartphone users on the free tier. If you want to take full advantage of the content on your phone, you will need to be a Premium subscriber.

As audiobooks and more spoken word content continue to rise in popularity, the addition of  the Word genre is a big plus for Spotify. What do you think?

Apple does audiobooks: Great First Listens for free

Audiobook lovers, Apple Books wants you! This week, they are offering up a collection of six free audiobooks called Great First Listens. The books are all classics in the public domain and all have celebrity narrators

The six titles are: .

I have to confess that I downloaded all of these! While I enjoy audiobooks in general, I particularly love hearing beloved classics turned into audiobooks. Language constantly grows and evolves and many of the books we consider classics have a much more formal feel than today’s writing styles offer. I think classics thrive as audiobooks because the narration tends to make the stories even more accessible to the modern listener.

Any of these strike your fancy?

Returning customers eligible for $6.95/3 month Audible deal

Audible is currently running a holiday promotion for new customers offering 3 months of Audible for $6.95 per month  (instead of the usual $14.95). That 53% off the regular price for first three months of the membership. The good news is that former Audible members who don’t have active memberships are also eligible for the promotion. 🙂

In order to take advantage of this special pricing, you must have an existing and active Amazon Account. Amazon defines this as having spent at least $1 in transactions in the 6 months prior to redemption of the offer.

The offer includes:

  • 3 titles each month: 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals.
  • The ability to roll over any unused credits for up to 4 months.
  • Easy exchanges. Don’t like your audiobook? Swap it for free.
  • Cancel anytime, your audiobooks are yours to keep forever.

Membership to Audible includes discounted prices for additional audiobooks and access to special sales and members-only audiobook deals.

There is an audible app available for Apple, Android, Amazon and Windows devices. You can also have Alexa play your audiobook on Echo devices.

The fine print:

A paid membership renew monthly at $14.95 (after the promotional period expires), unless you cancel. The Gold plan gives you one credit each month, which you can use on any audiobook regardless of length or price. You can roll over any unused credits for up to four months. Offer limited to one per customer and account and may not be combined with other offers

This offer is available until December 31, 2018

I’d been thinking about re-joining Audible, so at this price, I definitely took advantage of the deal. What do you think?

Freetime Unlimited adds kid-friendly audiobooks

Amazon is releasing a new update for its Freetime Unlimited service that adds over a thousand kid-friendly audiobooks to its collection of apps, games and videos for children.. Available books will include classics like Peter Pan, Rip Van Winkle, Beauty and the Beast and more. The books will be delivered via a software update. Freetime Unlimited works on  Amazon tablets and iOS and Android devices.

According to Amazon:

Families can also use their FreeTime Unlimited subscription to access FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa, an all-new Alexa experience for kids and parents with over 1,000 Audible kids’ books; kid-friendly, ad-free radio stations and playlists; character alarms; and premium Alexa skills from Disney, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, and more. FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa is available on compatible Echo devices, including Echo Dot Kids Edition, Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus.

Freetime Unlimited is a service for children from ages 3 to 12. Parents can customize their child’s experience, set time limits and even set bedtime for the device.

Pricing begins at $2.99 per month for Prime members for a single child($4.99 for non-members). Family plans for up to four children are available and a 1-year pre-paid Family plan for Prime members is only $83 (non-members, $119). You can start a one month free trial here.

Amazon recently added Spanish language content to the service and Spanish audiobooks are planned.

Audible 90 Day Free Trial for Prime Members (with a poll)

If you are a Amazon Prime Member, Amazon is offering a 90 day free trial for its Audible audiobook service. Normally, it is a 30 day trial period.

Audible offers 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals each month for $15, and you can also find complimentary access to other audio shows and materials.

I listen to audiobooks from the library via Overdrive and also listen to audiobooks as part of of my monthly Scribd subscription, I do miss the selection offered by Audible though (especially The Great Courses content) and have been considering re-upping my subscription.

What do you think about the service:

Please leave any thoughts in the comments!

AudiobookStand is closing (and having a big last chance sale)

Audiobook vendor  Audiobookstand.com is going to be closing down August 3, 2018.

If you like to listen to your audiobooks on CD, you may very well have been familiar with the company. It was known for its large collection of CD and MP-CD audiobooks, especially of Brilliance Audio tiles. I discovered them years ago when I was looking for books for my daily commute, and they had one of the best collections of CD audiobooks at the best prices I could find at the time.

The company is offering bargain prices on remaining stock, with limited quantities of audiobooks priced as low as $3 and $4. The site is currently experiencing a large volume of sales and customers are being warned to expect a delivery delay.

It probably isn’t a surprise that the site is closing down, given the current focus on digital downloads. The company is recommending Amazon and Audible to customers looking for an alternative place to discover and buy audiobooks.

Kobo begins monthly audiobook subscription program

Kobo is launching their own monthly audiobook subscription service. The service is $9.99 per month in the US and the monthly cost varies by country.

Key elements of the program are:

The program offers a 30 day free trial. Your first audiobook is free.and yours to keep, even if you cancel.

Each month you get a credit for $9.99 monthly credit. One credit equals one audiobook. Credits are added to your account once a month on your recurring billing date.

For Super Points rewards program members, you can earn Kobo Super Points with each purchase.

Books can be listened to on or off line. There are, however, a couple of limitations. You can listen to audiobooks on the Android app (system 4.4 and above) and the iOS app (9.0 or higher). You cannot listen on the following devices:

  • on kobo.com
  • in Kobo Desktop
  • in the Kobo App for Windows or BlackBerry
  • on Kobo eReaders
  • on Kobo Arc 7, 7HD or 10HD tablets

If you use the Kobo app for iOS, there is an additional complication: You can’t purchase anything through the Kobo app for IOS; you can only play items you have purchased. According to the FAQ:

Due to an agreement between Kobo and Apple, the Kobo App for iOS doesn’t include our store. If you use an iOS smartphone or tablet, you’ll need to purchase (or exchange a credit for) your audiobook on kobo.com. Once your transaction is complete, your audiobook will then appear in your Kobo App for iOS.

Once purchased, the books are yours to keep, even if you cancel your subscription. Audiobook credits are non-refundable and a credit card is required for signup.

Kobo is starting its program with only one subscription plan, one credit for $9.99. According to the company, future plans include plans with two credits a month, and annual subscriptions with 12 or 24 instant credits all at once.

The service will be available to Kobo customers living in Canada ($12.99 CA), the United States ($9.99 USD), the United Kingdom (£6.99), Australia ($13.99 AU), and New Zealand ($13.99 NZD).

Kobo is obviously trying to compete with Audible. Audible charges $14.95 per month, plus 30% off additional purchases.

The service will be live on September 12, 2017. Make sure you have updated to the latest version of the Kobo app for your device.

Are you trying the service? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!