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

Audiobook vendor 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
  • 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 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!

Amazon adds Audible Channels, some audiobooks to Prime benefits.

audiblechannels-cropBack in July, Amazon’s Audible launched a new ad-free, short form audio service called Channels. The service offered short form listens that included comedy, news and more. The service was originally offered to Audible subscribers for free and then as a separate subscription service for $4.95 per month.

Today, Amazon has announced free, unlimited access to the Channels service for U.S. Prime members. Also included is a rotating selection of over 50 audiobooks. If you don’t have Prime, Channels is also available to purchase for $4.95 per month ($59.40 yearly).

Programming includes:

  • Presidents are People Too!, a series that transforms U.S. Presidents into real-life people complete with quirks, flaws, triumphs, scandals and bodily ailments, hosted by former “The Daily Show” head writer Elliott Kalan and American historian Alexis Coe

  • Bedtime Stories for Cynics, inappropriate children’s stories for adults only, presented by Nick Offerman of “Parks and Recreation” fame

  • Hold On with Eugene Mirman, in which Mirman pauses funny live stories and gets his special comedian guests, including Jim Gaffigan and “Weird Al” Yankovic to divulge new details

  • Limelight, highlighting the best new standup performances from comedy clubs across the country, with rotating guest hosts such as T. J. Miller, Ron Funches and the Sklar Brothers

  • Lectures from The Great Courses

Channels will also be offering new original programming in the coming months, with some previews and pilot episodes available now:

  • The Butterfly Effect, hosted by Jon Ronson, which explores the question, what happens when we expect things for free?

  • Ponzi Supernova, a fascinating look at Bernard Madoff, the man behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history, featuring exclusive jailhouse interviews with Madoff himself

  • Damned Spot, a series that examines the afterlife of places defined by tragic events

  • West Cork, a true crime series about an unsolved society murder, set on the south coast ofIreland

  • Extra Credit with Neal Pollack, in which the author, musician and comedian takes his 13-year-old son’s education into his own hands, and hilarity ensues

The 50 rotating audiobooks will be offered across nine Prime-exclusive channels. Contents will include:

  • Top-rated audiobooks across a range of genres, such as Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl, Karl Marlantes’ What It Is Like to Go to War, Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook, Anne Lamott’s Stitches and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Alive

  • Celebrity-narrated classics, such as Scarlett Johansson’s performance of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Rosamund Pike’s narration of Pride and Prejudice, and a full-cast recording ofDracula, starring Alan Cumming

  • Shared listening experiences for the family, including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Velveteen Rabbit

If you own an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or Amazon Tap, you probably already know that Alexa can read audiobooks to you. While today’s press release does not mention Alexa specifically, I am betting that we will see an integration with Channels soon. In Amazon’s What’s New With Alexa newsletter last week, there was mention of two special audiobooks for Alexa to read in September. One of them was Scarlett Johansson’s performance of Alice in Wonderland, so that may hint that Channels my soon be available on the Echo devices.

In order to get Channels, you must a Prime member in the U.S and have the latest version of the Audible app installed.

As a longtime fan of Great Courses material, I really excited to see their content available as part of Channels. How about you? Are you excited about the service?


Scribd, Barnes and Noble add on Audio books

scribdIf you are an audio book fan, today definitely brings exciting news! Scribd has announced that they are adding  30,000 audiobooks to their subscription service. According to their blog:

… That makes us (we’re extremely pleased to say) the largest unlimited e-book & audiobook subscription service around.

Audiobooks have been one of our most requested features since the day we launched, and today we’re so excited to say they’re here.

The service will include new releases and bestsellers. Scribd has greatly expanded their offings this year with the addition of e-books by Harlequin, HarperCollins  and Simon and Schuster. Juli Monroe from TeleRead has some additional info in an article here.

I wasn’t clear from the announcement exactly when the audiobooks would be available on the  service. (It wasn’t yet on my Android tablet as of 9:30 CST.)

Barnes and Noble is also getting back into the audiobook game. The company has also just released a new Android app for purchasing and listening to audio books. The app is still in beta but seems to have good reviews on Google Play.

In comparison, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription only has about 2,ooo titles.

Audible, also owned by Amazon, still has the largest selection of audiobooks with over 150,000 titles available.

It is exciting to see so many new options for audiobooks becoming available. 🙂

Stream Unlimited Audiobooks

SkybriteIf you are an avid audiobook listener, you may be interested in Skybrite, a subscription service that offers unlimited streaming of audiobooks for your phone or tablet for a flat rate of $9.99 per month. The service is mobile only (no web service) and has apps for both IOS and Android.

However, according a CNET review of the service, there are a few limitations. First, you can only stream content. That means no download and offline listening. So unless you have a constant Wi-fi signal or a truly unlimited data, plan, this may be a deal breaker.

The Google Play store description  sounds promising:

With Skybrite, you can instantly stream thousands of best-selling audiobooks, entertaining performances, how-to courses, revealing interviews, spiritual talks, informative lectures, and more, on your Android phone or tablet.

You can listen to every title, as much as you want, wherever you are, unlimited to you.


* Discover a huge selection of premium audio programs from best-selling authors, entertainers, teachers, celebrities, and more.

* Enjoy unlimited fiction and non-fiction audiobooks, contemporary novels, classic literature, famous biographies, engaging memoirs, and more.

* Be entertained with unlimited stand-up comedy albums, audio theater performances, celebrity interviews, music biographies, and more.

* Improve your life and relationships with unlimited personal development, business trainings, spiritual talks, guided meditations, and more.

* Get healthy with unlimited fitness classes, yoga classes, self-help classes, nutrition classes, and more.

* Kids will love the selection of unlimited children’s stories, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and more.

* Take unlimited courses to quickly learn Spanish, learn Chinese, learn French, learn Portuguese, learn Japanese, learn Russian, learn German, and more.

* Never any ads, commercials, or interruptions. Available worldwide.

* Stream every title instantly at the push of a button. It’s easy and fun to use!

The feedback in the Google Play is mostly positive, although the app has few download and reviews yet.

The CNET review describes the content a bit less favorably:

Even so, there’s very little high-profile content to be found at the moment. Save for the “Hunger Games” trilogy, most of the titles in the Literature & Fiction category are from little-known authors, or are public-domain works like “Les Miserables.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but anyone hoping for mainstream, Audible-caliber selection will be disappointed.

Skybrite says that it is working on expanding content in 2015.

The service offers a 7 day free trial and doesn’t require a credit card for sign up.

I may give the trial a whirl to check it out. How about you? Does the service sound tempting?

The $79 Kindle – A first look

Like everyone else, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Kindle Fire. I am also trying to decide which version of the Kindle Touch I want.  In the meantime, however, I have been getting to know the new basic K4, the $79 Kindle with Special Offers. I have to admit, in many ways, I have been pleasantly surprised by the new Kindle. I honestly have to admit, this eReader is just downright cute!

I should probably point out that I was an early adopter of the first Kindle and still have two working K1’s. I also have a K3 (now the Kindle Keyboard 3G). I skipped the K2 because I didn’t like the look of the joystick controller.


The size is smaller than the palm of your hand. And the weight is just 6 ounces. That makes this Kindle just perfect for one-handed reading. The new gray color is absolutely lovely. The device logo now reads just Kindle, rather than Amazon Kindle.

Buttons and Ports:

The new Kindle has 5 buttons: Back, Menu, Home, Keyboard and the now familiar 5-way D-pad from the Kindle Keyboard.

The keyboard button is easier to use than I anticipated it would be. The keyboard is laid out alphabetically, rather than QWERTY.

New side buttons. – There are pros and cons to the new side buttons. They are now hard to accidentally press. You can actually pick up the Kindle by the sides now without accidentally turning the page. The cons are that these new buttons are extremely small and harder to press. You also now must press them dead on in order to turn the pages. The new arrangement takes a little getting used to.

On the bottom of the device is the power button. This button pushes in to wake the Kindle, rather than sliding like the power button on the previous Kindle. The USB port is also on the bottom of the reader. A USB cable is included, but a power adapter is not. You can buy one from Amazon for $9.99. (Unofficially, I used my K3 adapter and it worked just fine.)

There is no headphone jack or speakers. No speakers means no Text-To-Speech, no MP3s and no audio books. Whether this is a pro or con actually depends on how you use your Kindle. I actually prefer my iPod touch or my Sansa Clip+  for audio and mp3s.  Even though I am vision impaired, I personally didn’t care for the Text-To-Speech, so the loss of any of these features was not a problem for me.


Battery Life. This device definitely does not have the battery life of the earlier incarnations. This is especially true when new books are first put on the device. The Kindle must index all that new content and the battery drain is significant during that time. When the Kindle is not indexing, it is much closer to the battery life of the previous Kindles.


The K4 uses the same E ink screen as the K3. I put the two side-by-side and the screens were indistinguishable from each other.

Refresh Rate: This new Kindle deals differently with the “flash” that previous models had when changing pages. Personally, I am not quite sure yet if I like the new text refresh. There is already a firmware update for the K4 for those that prefer the old style refresh.

Special Offers: Most of the ads that I have seen so far are less obtrusive than I would have thought. The ones that aren’t, however,  are kind of glaring.  Amazon now does allow you to buy your way out of the special offers.

Under the Hood

This Kindle has less RAM than previous versions. This means that a lot of Kindle Active Content may not or will not run on the device. There are pros and cons to this – Obviously, it limits content (especially for new users), but I personally find the active content too distracting. I find I get more reading done without the games .

The experimental browser is still there. But, this device is wi-fi only. That means no 3G browsing or downloads of books.


Smaller footprint may mean that it is more difficult to find a third-party light to fit the device. Neither my Mighty Bright or my Kandle lights worked very well.  On my older Kindles, I usually attach the light to the cover and I may be noticing this more as I haven’t gotten a cover for it yet.

When Amazon announced this in September, there were few covers ready for this device – That fact surprised me. There are a few Amazon covers available for pre-order and also third-party covers. However, more covers are appearing on the site every day.

The price of the covers was also surprising to me. Amazon Lighted cover for the new Kindle is $59, a price that I thought was high for an entry-level device. At only $79, this is almost a disposable device and I would expect a cover priced accordingly at probably around the $20 price range. But even the non-lighted Amazon cover is twice that at $39.

Ultimately, I have concluded that this is a device that is truly streamlined for reading. It is an amazing device. It is also attractively priced and really opens up the market to everyone. My first Kindle cost $400. At $79,  I think this one is a great bargain that truly makes eReaders affordable.

Where to find Free Audio Books

One of my most popular posts was one I did on Where to Find Free Ebooks. But did you know that there are also sites that have free audio books available as well?

There is a wide variety of quality and type among free audiobooks. You can find human read books that range from a simple narration to others that are audio performances by groups of actors. There are also machine read books that also vary greatly in the  sound of the computer translation. Some sites offer both human and machine-read audio books.

Human read Books:

Audio Books for Free downloads. You can also purchase MP3 discs, CDs and DVDs formatted in various ways.

Audio Free audiobooks. Also has audio books available for purchase.

Literal Systems Recorded by professional actors under a Creative Commons license.

Librivox: Audio books narrated by volunteers.

Lit2Go: From Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse, K thru 12 children’s stories and poems.

Podiobooks: Serialized books presented as podcasts. Oh! And they are read by the authors – How cool is that?

Computer Generated Audio Books:

Books Should be Free: Books from Public Domain sources presented in a very visual way. Includes books digitized by and recorded by

Free Classic Audio Books: Offers free digitally narrated books. Also offers human-read books on CD for a fee.

Free Christian Audio Books:

Free Christian Audio Books: Digital Narration

Audio Treasure: The Bible in various languages and translations.

This bolg entry composed while listening to Best of Duke Ellington.