Audible: Is Anyone Listening?

The Compete blog has an interesting post about Audible, the on-line audiobook vendor. The author writes:

Site traffic is down 39% year over year which corresponds to a 40% decline in Audible’s stock price. One of Audible’s biggest problems is that it can’t get its members to spend more money. Its executives talk about this issue in the Q3 earnings call and Compete data corroborates.

I’m an Audible fan. I’m on a two-books-per-month plan, which I take advantage of religiously. (In fact, today is my renewal day — I have two more book credits to use.) I find Audible and an iPod an unbeatable combination. Unfortunately, it seems others are less enchanted.

Now I’m no stock analyst, so I can’t tell you why the company’s share price may be declining. But I am a user, and a user with opinions, so I can offer a perspective on why usage has dropped in the past year.

  • Apple introduced audiobooks at the iTunes Music Store.
  • The site is difficult to navigate. There’s no convenient way to simply browse Audible’s library to find new stuff.
  • Audible introduced a new “by-the-year” pricing structure in December 2005. I didn’t move to it, but several people I know did. They rarely go to the site now, whereas I have to go at least once a month to make my purchases.
  • For as many books as Audible has, their selection is actually rather limited. My public library has a wider variety than Audible.

I don’t know much about Audible’s health as a company. Personally, I hope they continue to thrive for a long time. I like the service, and I have no intentions of canceling it any time soon.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Post a Comment