May 26, 2021 Yesterday out of the blue I got this email from Audible
Due to the significant number of returns you’ve submitted, starting today your return privileges are on hold for a period of six months. You will not be able to return titles online or via Customer Service.
Please be advised that should you sign up for a new Audible membership, the pause on your return privileges will apply to the new account as well.
As a reminder, per our policy, Audible reserves the right to limit the number of returns, and the loss of return privileges if we determine your return volume to be abusive.
For assistance, you can email us at email@example.com.
The Audible Team
(The Audible terms and conditions were changed and updated many times. No one ever reads them. Unlimited returns if the book was one year old was their idea. But they changed their minds.)
Naturally I cancelled my Audible at once. I was only keeping the Membership so I could make returns. I was able (for the short time I could make them) to explore a number of audio books. I would sometime return them and buy the Kindle book instead, and I used to sometimes buy cheaper books that were less than the cost of a credit, but now I won’t buy anymore audiobooks from Audible Inc. unless I am sure I like the writer and the narrator. The price of the those audiobooks will be higher without a membership. I will not be able to return any of the books. I think a 30 day return policy would have been acceptable. Audible invented the one year return date policy themselves. In the finger pointing email, they want to paint me as a bad guy wantonly returning books left and right, but it’s not true. Audible made it very hard to return books. I had to either call them on the phone or chat with them. This wasted a lot of my time. I have enough audiobooks and many of them I have not even had time to finish, because I had to constantly listen to new books to use the credits. I used to just buy books on cd and make them into files before Audible was created. I once spend so much time listening to favorites that I would not always maintain my Audible membership. Audible invented the concept of free books if keep your membership, but all the free books very terrible except for the one. I stopped even looking or downloading the free books because they were so bad. I had to go and have a representative delete the terrible free books. Then they invented to concept of podcasts on Audible. The idea was the people would listen to the free podcasts and keep their membership just to listen to them. This did not work on me. I do not listen to or care about podcasts, if I don’t know the people or the subject. Free podcasts can be heard on You Tube. After none of these marketing ideas worked Audible brought back badges just like I was playing Foursquare. I could earn badges like the “you stayed up all night listening” badge. I did not like Audible Badges the first time around, but there is no way to turn them off. Not having a membership currently active hopefully means no more badges which are an undesirable interruption. Death comes to one by 1000 little cuts. In the modern age you can die from entertaining distractions. If I was to do all the extra actives on Audible it could waste hours more of time, when I have more entertaining distractions that I can find elsewhere. Audible distractions fail to be entertaining. This is what they really need to work on if they want to convinced people to keep a membership and get stuck with more audiobooks then they will ever have time to finish.
I would buy any book by David Foster Wallace, but he is dead now. The latest Haruki Murakami was so bad, I returned it. I started to listen but I could not get into the first two short stories. I like buying classic audiobooks (older than 1950) if the reader has a good voice. I am very picky about the reader’s voice. I bought books by established writers and self help books which I would then return if I did not like them. I liked biographies and autobiographies. I bought some classic Cyberpunk books. I, Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves are the perfect example of the kind of book I like to listen to. The book is entertaining and yet it also historical and meaningful. It’s hard to get interested in fictional characters unless one knows the series or has a connection with the story. For example a novel read in high school such as Moby Dick is a great choice for an audiobook. But, it’s hard to start on a new fictional book or a new series of fictional books if the author is not established yet. JR by William Gaddis was incredible, but I could not keep it because they did not say which character is speaking. The whole book is written in dialogue, I bought the Kindle Book instead after returning it. Someone in my lit group in Facebook said the trick to JR was to listen the narrator’s voice change and try to figure how was speaking. I am not a thoughtless person burning through books and returning them. I spend time with them, keep notes on them, and even write book reviews.
When you cancel your Audible make sure it’s really cancelled. I just got an email saying “Welcome back to Audible”, followed by a “sorry to see you go” email in the time I spend writing the blog post. If I can’t return books I don’t have to put up with free books, badges or time wasting podcasts. I see this as a positive change in my life. I will be less annoyed. I will have greater peace of mind and be free from sleazy marketing department’s bold new plans to make people into suckers.