Downpour lgWhen audio enthusiasts look for downloadable audiobooks, they usually think of Audible first, unaware that there is now another game in town. Downpour.com, Blackstone Audio’s online audiobook retail site, offers not only competitive pricing but all the ease of downloads you’ll find at Audible. Downpour also offers two additional features that have significantly impacted my buying habits – DRM-free buying and lower pricing for purchasing those extra audiobooks beyond your monthly credits.

The DRM-free factor is big. How often have you been frustrated by your inability to loan your eBooks or downloaded audiobooks? That’s DRM at work. Here’s what Craig Black, founder of Blackstone Audio, has to say about DRM:

“DRM stands for “digital rights management.” DRM is a system for protecting copyrights of content circulated on digital media by encrypting the data so that it can only be accessed by one—or at best a few—user. The problem with DRM is that it limits the number of devices a listener can use to play his or her book. I happen to own and use several devices, including a computer, tablet, iPod, and smartphone. All of Downpour’s content is offered DRM free, so I am able to seamlessly toggle between my devices. I believe this is what most customers prefer, and we are committed to providing our customers with the best experience possible.”

In addition, you can choose to download your book in M4B format, MP3 format (for those using devices outside of the Apple family), or both depending on the device you want to listen on and you can do so on an unlimited number of devices. I can now share my Downpour purchases with my husband, my daughter, or even my sister. There are no worries about the incompatibility of our iTunes libraries or the variety of players we may own. My mind is so firmly entrenched in the rules of DRM, that the simplicity of the whole Downpour process is a little hard to grasp. I can tell my husband, “I have that in my Downpour library if you want to download it.” That’s all it takes.

And then the pricing. At Audible, I pay $22.95 a month for two credits ($11.48 each) with my Platinum membership while my husband pays $14.95 a month for one credit with his Gold membership. At Downpour, I pay $12.99 for one credit a month. But here’s the Downpour bonus …

At Audible, I find myself playing a game of “Should I use all of my credits right now?” If I do choose to use all my credits, what happens when I discover a highly desirable release that I want now? Do I have the flexibility of purchasing extra discounted credits? Sometimes – sometimes not. Multiple times in the past, I have found myself with no credits (and no offer from Audible to purchase more credits) when I’m ready to purchase that desired title. Since I only purchase downloadable audiobooks, I must pay full price for it (the member’s full price) or wait until my next month’s credits roll around. With Downpour, I simply purchase additional credits, one at a time, for $12.99 each. To me, that is a big deal!

Blackstone-AudioDownpour’s selection is not as big as Audible’s but it is growing quickly with well over 30,000 titles representing almost all of the major audiobook publishing houses. The site states that they are adding thousands of titles each month. I have monthly memberships with both Audible and Downpour (I easily exceed three audiobook purchases a month) and check Downpour first when considering a purchase. And if I know my husband is likely to be interested in a title, I purchase at Downpour if it’s available.

The downside? Not all audiobooks are DRM-free – a fact we still live with, unfortunately, so the selection is smaller. And you won’t find Audible’s self published (ACX ) offerings at Downpour nor will you find those Whispersync deals.

Generally, a credit buys one audiobook at either site but there are occasions where you will pay two at both Audible and Downpour but those instances may differ. Also, check the availability of unabridged versus abridged versions. Twice at Downpour, I discovered unabridged versions of books that were offered only in abridged format at Audible. It does pay to shop.

I love having an attractive alternative when buying downloadable audiobooks. I’m still pleased with Audible but adding Downpour to my regular audio shopping makes me feel more in control as a consumer. I like choices and, although there may be other companies offering downloadable audiobooks, I consider Audible and Downpour the strongest with their ease of access and selection.

The Giveaway

We’re giving away a five credit package from Downpour courtesy of Downpour.com. The winner does not have to be a Downpour Audiobooks Club member to utilize these credits. Only a name and address are required for registration – no credit card information required.

Enter by following the easy entry link below by 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time on Thursday, July 10th. The giveaway is open to listeners in the U.S. and other areas where Downpour is available. We encourage your comments in our discussion area but to enter, you must follow the entry link. If you review for another website or blog and have access to free review copies, please refrain from entering. The winner will be notified by email on Friday and will have 24 hours to acknowledge their win so watch your email. Another winner will be selected on Saturday if the winner has not responded.

 

Contest Closed

for your chance to win a 5 Credit Package from Downpour

 

Ending Notes

Check out our Speaking of Audiobooks Facebook page to see romance audio updates, industry news, and links to articles of interest.

For those new to our Speaking of Audiobooks column, be sure to check out our audio archives for further recommendations and discussions.

Our affiliated Goodreads group – Romance Audiobooks keeps growing and now has 798 members. Come join us for discussions in between columns.

 

Remember – this is new type of contest entry for AAR – we’d love to hear your comments but to enter, you must follow the link and give us your online name and email address.

Enjoy your listening.

– Lea Hensley