14 December 2005

Goodbye, audible.com

I'm not sure what to make of audible.com's new "Don't Read" ad campaign.

No, I kinda *do* know what I think of it. I guess I'm just afraid of sounding like I have no sense of humor whatsoever.

So, what do I think?


In my experience -- as a librarian, a voracious reader, and a fan of audio books -- people who listen to audio books are people who love books. Sometimes we want audio to avoid accidents that could be caused by reading while driving, sometimes we realize that we simply cannot knit and read at the same time, sometimes we just love to hear the author (or reader) speaking the story to us. I came to Frank McCourt through hearing him read portions of Angela's Ashes on "A Prairie Home Companion". I read the book and loved it, but I wanted the audio, too. Now, whenever I read him, I can hear his gorgeous voice reading along with me and it definitely enhances the experience for me.

Also, no matter how hard I tried, I could NOT read Moby Dick (and I did try, Readers). However, during a solo drive to Massachusetts (to see literary Concord, natch), I listened to an unabridged reading of the book and *loved* it. When I got home, I decided to try, once more, to read the book.

No go. I couldn't do it. This tale, which read aloud captivated me was tortuous on the page.

So, yes. I love audio books. And when I listen to a book, I consider that I have "read" it. I have found that many audio book admirers are book people, people who also read.

So why would audible.com crap on us this way?

I *get* that it's a spoof. I get that it is meant to be a parody of the ALA READ posters. I understand that the questions on the FAQ are meant to be tongue-in-cheek. For example, the first question reads: "Should I burn my books? No. A stack of burning books pollutes the air, and worse - it kinda thumbs its nose at the First Amendment. So Don't burn books. Without them, libraries would be just big empty rooms."

Actually, No. We wouldn't. There would still be computers, copiers, programs, storytimes, crafts, microfilm, newspapers, tutoring help, literacy programs, and more.

I just don't find it very funny.

It seems like poor marketing strategy on their part, too. I am so glad I did not purchased the gift subscription to audible.com I had been planning. And although I had planned to renew my own subscription in the new year, that's done, too.

I know my measly few consumer dollars won't matter much to their company, but forget it. I work hard for my money. I don't need to give it to people who advocate an anti-reading stance to the world...


kitchen hand said...

They seem not to have understood that, even though it is parody, book lovers will instinctively reject the proposition.

One summer many years ago, AM radio serialised Call of the Wild by Jack London - a fifteen minute reading every morning by actor Gary Files. Whenever I think of the book it brings back memories of what I was doing - on holiday at the beach with my now grown-up children who were then maybe six and four.

Last year, I read my first book online - Greenmantle.

It's all reading.

Clare said...

Ooooh. I agree with you. First of all, I see your point about them being just plain off-putting with their "don't read" slogan and everything that comes with it. People who don't normally read books, generally don't care enough to go through the trouble of finding a book on tape or CD just so they don't have to read it. *add 50 other ways to say that I agree with you here*