Playster raises price and limits collections for audiobook listening

Customers’ voracious appetite for audiobooks seems to once again be a problem for subscription platform Playster. A few months back, I wrote about Playster cancelling the accounts of customers for excessive audiobook listening (here and here). At the same time, they quickly and quietly raised the price of the audiobook portion of their subscription service from $9.95 to $14.95.

Now, Playster has announced that they are limiting the size of the collection for subscribers at the $14.95 level and adding a new unlimited premium tier at double the price: $29.95.

Playster is calling the plan at the $14.95 price point the Basic plan. The plan offers “unlimited access to 40,000+ titles from world-class authors, like Michael Crichton, Janet Evanovich and Faye Kellerman.” Playster also says they have improved the audiobook player experience.

The new Premium plan offers “unlimited access to 100,000+ of the newest titles made available on the same day they’re released”. The Premium plan includes authors like James Patterson, Stephen King, Danielle Steel, Dan Brown, George R.R. Martin. Subscribers are promised “unlimited access to every major and classic title they can dream of”.

According to Playster’s support page on the plan changes, “some members may temporarily lose access to their playlists, downloaded titles and/or audiobooks they’ve started.”

The changes to the audiobook plans went into effect yesterday, December 22, 2017. As of today, the website is still showing $14.95 for the cost of the audiobook subscription.

Not surprisingly, the complaints have already started. On TrustPilot, the words bait and switch are used a lot. Most people are saying that the books they have saved to read are all in the Premium tier. Customers who recently started free trials are complaining that the trial only seems to apply to the Basic tier, not the Premium. One comment said that all the books in the basic tier were the same content available on Librivox (a service that offers free public domain audiobooks). Others are saying that, with the new, higher price,  Audible is a better deal.

Subscription service Scribd made many similar choices in February and March of 2016 and it cost them a lot of subscribers. Scribd culled many of its popular genres (like the romance and comics categories) and also divided its catalog into two tiers and limited the number of books and audiobooks subscribers could access in Selects, its premium tier.

I don’t doubt that we will hear more about this from customers. As audiobooks continue to soar in popularity, affordable access for avid listeners is going to be an even more important issue. Subscription services seem to continue to underestimate the demand for audiobooks.

The public library is looking better and better for audiobook aficionados.

Are you a Playster subscriber? What do you think?

(Thanks to Angel for the tip!)

(Note: You can read my original review of the Playster service here.)

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New updates bring Audible to basic Kindle and new customization options

Today’s announcement of the all-new Kindle Oasis included big news on the integration of Audible audiobooks into the device.  Audible integration will roll out as an update when the new Oasis device ships on October 31, 2017.

Also included in the announcement was the news that the basic, entry-level Kindle (current generation 8), along with the first generation Oasis,  will also be getting Audible integration over the coming months. This may be a feature that makes the basic Kindle (which does not have a backlight) more desirable as a device for prospective owners. As noted in this post on The eBook Reader, at least according to its reviews,  the basic, entry level kindle is not well liked.

Today’s announcement also included news of new firmware updates that would add new settings for reading customization, including new font sizes, bolding options and new margin options including an option for left-aligned  /ragged right text..

The new features are:

  • New Font Size and Bold Settings: Now choose from more font sizes than ever before–and five levels of boldness–for whichever font you choose to read with. Combined with the new, 7-inch Paperwhite display, you can personalize your books so it’s perfectly comfortable for your eyes.
  • New Accessibility Options: In addition to the OpenDyslexic font, we’ve added a feature to invert black and white on the display if you have light sensitivity. The new enlarged display option also lets you increase the size of items like the text on the home screen and library as well as the book icons to make the all-new Kindle Oasis easier to read.
  • Light Settings: Built-in ambient light sensors automatically adjust the display to your surroundings whether you’re in a dimly-lit room or outside in the sun–and can be fine-tuned even further based on personal preferences.
  • Ragged Right Alignment: You can now read using left-aligned (ragged right) text.

To me, one of the most intriguing of the new features is the ability to invert black-and-white on the display for those with light sensitivity. This is generally a feature found on apps and tablets, not e-ink readers (although there is supposedly a hack for the Kobo line here.). My old Literarti e-reader had this feature, and I can tell you, being able to read white text on a black screen in a dark room Is a great feature for reading in the middle of the night without disturbing your partner! 🙂

The new firmware features will be delivered as a free over the air update to the Kindle Paperwhite and newer devices starting today.

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!

Daily Links and Deals: Libro.fm Audiobooks Now Available in 150 Indie Bookstores

daily_links_1Daily Links for Tuesday, October 25,  2016:

Celebrating 20 Years of the Internet Archive with an Open Library Feature Bonanza (Open Library) I can personally attest to the fact that using the Open Library was sometimes a challenging experience. This is welcome news.

Readers in 9 Countries Get Discounts on Arabic E-books for Emirates’ ‘Year of Reading’ (Oye! Times) This is only available in limited countries, but the discounts can be up to 90%.

Website Creating Company Faces Data Breach Affecting Over 40 Million Users (BloombergBNA) Weebly was attacked in February and over 43 million users’ info was exposed.

Logitech to release an Alexa skill for its Harmony Hub-based universal remote controls (Techhive) This is the capability that I have been waiting for!

Libro.fm Audiobooks Now Available in 150 Indie Bookstores (Digital Book World) Now you can buy audiobooks from your favorite indie bookstore.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes

In Today’s DealsCorel WordPerfect Office X8 Home & Student.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is 50% off today on the first eight books in Sui Ishida’s fan-favorite Tokyo Ghoul series. The Romance Daily Find is Claimed: An Outlaws Novel by Elle Kennedy.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Sandstorm (Sigma Force Novels) by James Rollins. The Extra Daily Deal is The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel by Tea Obreht.

Also, a selection of titles called Romance On The Ice for $4.99 or Less until October Until October 31st.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until November 1, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty.

Google Books has a selection of Halloween Horror Sale with chills & thrills under $5.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: Yes, audiobooks are real books

daily_links_1Today, a look at the stigma surrounding audiobooks and whether or not they are “real books”. Also, don’t try to fly with that Samsung Galaxy Note 7, driveway-plowing robots and how publishers plan to re-train consumers to pay for digital content. In deals, savings on SanDisk memory products and Sony Xperia phones.

Daily Links for Monday, October 17,  2016:

Yes, audiobooks are real books (Overdrive) Is it really “reading a book” if you listen to the audio version? Why is it that audiobooks have this stigma?

It is now a federal crime to bring a Galaxy Note 7 onto an airplane (The Verge) Offenders are subject to civil penalties of up to $179,933 for each violation. And, for some of the consequences of that ban, here are some of the horror stories.

You can buy a robot to plow your driveway this winter (Recode) Here in the Midwest, there would definitely be a market for something like this….

Premium or Bust: Will customers pay for digital content? (Talking New Media) Warning: you are about to have your expectations “re-trained”.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Oil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo by Stephanie Storey.

In Today’s Deals, save up to 40% on select SanDisk memory products. Also, save up to 25% on select Sony Xperia unlocked smartphones.

The Echo inow available in white. There is also an  All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) which will be available in both black and white and retails for $49.99. The Dot is also being offering in a “Buy 5, get 1 free” six-pack and a ““Buy 10, get 2 free” twelve-pack”. The new Echo Dot will be released on October 20, 2016.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Prince Lestat (Vampire Chronicles Series #11) by Anne Rice. The Romance Daily Find is The Next Best Bride by Kelly Mcclymer.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Tempting Dusty by Helen Hardt. The Extra Daily Deal is Skyborn by David Dalglish.

Also, a selection of titles called Romance On The Ice for $4.99 or Less until October Until October 31st.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One is out of stock until October 19, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti.

Google Books has a selection of Topsellers Under $10.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: Will print die?: When the inevitable isn’t

daily_links_1Today, a look at the not so inevitable future of e-reading. Also, audio books are huge right now. Are they the new e-readers? Other stories include news on Facebook video streaming and the possibility of an e-ink keyboard coming for Apple. In deals, get two months of Sling TV for the price of one.

Daily Links for Friday, October 14,  2016:

Apple in talks with Australian company to bring dynamic keyboard tech to MacBooks (The Next Web) An e-ink keyboard may not be that far away.

Facebook now lets you stream video to Apple TV and Chromecast (The Verge) Yes, Facebook wants you to watch their videos on your TV screen.

Will print die?: When the inevitable isn’t (OUP Blog) At one time, pundits would have the the future of reading would be ebooks. Now, they’re not so sure.

Are audio books the new e-readers? (CNBC) Interesting video look at how audiobooks fit in to the new reading  paradigm.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin.

In Today’s Deals, a deal to get two months of Sling TV for the price of one.

The Echo inow available in white. There is also an  All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) which will be available in both black and white and retails for $49.99. The Dot is also being offering in a “Buy 5, get 1 free” six-pack and a ““Buy 10, get 2 free” twelve-pack”. The new Echo Dot will be released on October 20, 2016.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is Wonderland by Jennifer Hillier. The Romance Daily Find is The Accidental Boyfriend by Maggie Dallen.

Barnes and Noble also has a selection of NOOK Books Under $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Fixer by Joseph Finder. The Extra Daily Deal is Lord Valentine’s Castle Book One of the Majipoor Cycle by Robert K. Silverberg.

Also, a selection of titles called Romance On The Ice for $4.99 or Less until October Until October 31st.

There is also a selection of Great Reads Under $5 and Bargain Reads in Fiction, in Mystery and other genres. The Kobo Aura One (and the Aura Edition 2 e-readers are now available for order at the Kobo store. (The Aura One was supposed to be available today but is still showing as out of stock until October 14, 2016.)

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Gendarme by Mark T. Mustian.

Google Books has a selection of Hot Deals.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: Audiobooks are crushing ebooks

daily_links_1Today, if you trust the numbers, audiobooks seem to be outperforming ebooks. Also, stories on Evernote’s changes and price hike, a look at used hard drives and some important information about your warranty rights under the law. In deals, deals on tents, BBC comedies and savings on RavPower chargers and accessories.

Daily Links for Wednesday, June 29, 2016:

Evernote announces price hike, device restrictions for Basic package (ZD Net) If two devices is not enough for you,, you may be looking at an upgrade.

Used hard drives on eBay, Craigslist are often still ripe with leftover data (PC World) And this is a cautionary tale….

How Sony, Microsoft, and Other Gadget Makers Violate Federal Warranty Law (Motherboard) Know your rights! This is information you need to know.

Audiobooks are crushing ebooks (Quartz) I wonder if part of this also has to do with the fact that people who listen to audiobooks are used to paying more?

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe by Anthony Summers for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, savings on select Wenzel tents, 4th of July Flags, BBC comedies and RavPower chargers and electronics like the RavPower 50W 10A 6-Port USB Charger Desktop Charging Station with iSmart Technology (Black).

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is There  Be Lies by Nick Lake for $1.99. The Romance Daily Find is The Earl Next Door: The Bachelor Lords of London by Charis Michaels for 99 cents.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is One For The Money: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich for $1.99. The Extra Daily Deal is Rise of the Red Dragon Tales of the Lorekeepers (Tome 1) by Martin Rouillard for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.