Irish Residents – BEWARE of Audible.co.uk

Filed Under 42 on November 26, 2007 at 10:36 pm

I listen to a lot of podcasts. Loads of them are sponsored by Audible.com and the service they offer sounds fantastic. With that in mind I went to sign up today. I didn’t get far. Firstly the US site told me to go to the UK site instead. Pity, there goes my free book for using a promotional link from a podcast. However, their service did sound good so I did as I was told and went over to the UK store. It let me sign up no problem. Took my credit card details and welcomed me aboard. Unfortunately it all went down-hill from there.

I had heard a few books recommended so I knew what I wanted and started to use their search feature. It soon became clear there was a problem. None of the recommended books were showing up. In fact, the books it did return all looked like junk (a typical example was a book about how the bible can help you control your colesterol).

At this point I was getting grumpy. So, giving up on my wish-list I decided to have a look at their best sellers. Straight away the book I really wanted jumped out of the page at me. It was right there in the side bar. Excellent I though, it’s not that they don’t have it, it’s that their search is poor. I click on the book. It shows me the cover, all the details, tells me it’s un-abridged (good), it even tells me the price. There is just one thing missing. There is no button to actaully BUY the book! Then I see it. A message basically telling me to get stuffed. Due to “geographic restrictions” I can’t buy the book. Yup, you got it. They sent me to the UK site to then proceed to only sell me junk books, show me the books I want, but refuse to sell to me. That’s just cruel!

I was not a happy bunny. I sent them an email demanding my money back. I’ll report back on that when I get a reply. In the mean time, if you actually want to get good audio books and live in Ireland, DON’T GO TO AUDIBLE!

Update – for a total twist of irony. I can get the book on the Irish iTunes store and it’s provided by ….. Audible.co.uk! So, they won’t sell it to me, but they will sell it to Apple who can then sell it to me. Go figure. On the plus side, iTunes was cheaper too!

Comments

23 Responses to “Irish Residents – BEWARE of Audible.co.uk”

  1. Thaedydal on November 27th, 2007 1:23 pm

    And you have written to them to get them to purge your personal details from their database as you are not and infact you can not be their customer ?

  2. Allison Sheridan on November 30th, 2007 8:44 am

    Leo LaPorte might find this interesting…

  3. Paul Cook on December 4th, 2007 7:31 pm

    Dear Bart

    I am contacting you from Audible in the UK and was hoping to find out some more information about the title you were trying to buy.

    Geographic rights on titles (i.e. which countries we are allowed to sell titles to) are set by the publisher but I am not sure why the title you chose was restricted for sale through our site but not through iTunes. With more information from you I would like to investigate this further.

    I can be contacted on the above email address or by phone on xxxxxxxxx. (number edited out by Bart)

    I hope to hear from you

    Regards,

    Paul Cook

  4. Bart B on December 5th, 2007 2:08 am

    Just to follow on on this. There have been a few developments on this. fistly, Audible were good enough to give me my money back, thanks!

    Secondly, I emailed Paul Cook to let him know that the audible book which I could get on the Irish iTunes store but not from Audible.co.uk with an Irish credit card was Pilip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. Paul has gotten back to me to tell me he is investigating why that book is showing up as available on iTunes but not on Audible.co.uk. Just in case it shouldn’t be on iTunes at all I’ve just bought the other two books in the series before they could get pulled from iTunes :)

    I’ll post back when I have more news.

  5. Sam Caldwell on December 10th, 2007 12:21 am

    It’s unfortunate your first experience with Audible was such a pain. I had tried the service several times before I finally became a convert and now I can’t imagine doing without it. Last night my wife and I listened to a Dean Knootz novel much as I imagine my grandparents listened to Mystery Theater on the radio.

    One of the reasons I couldn’t endorse the Zune on our ZuneNetNews Web was the lack of support for Audible books. I also noticed the new Ibiza Rhapsody MP3 player does not support Audible and I have become concerned that for what ever reason Audible is unable to work out suitable agreements with new vendors.

    I have become so dependent on the service I can’t imagine recommending an MP3 player that doesn’t support the format.

  6. megan on May 28th, 2008 6:50 pm

    I was very surprised to read your misfortunes with audible.co.uk, as the do not match my experience of this web site. Their list of booksis ever changing and a lot of best sellers are readily available. The telphone staff are extremely responsive and helpful on the verry rare occassion in the last three years that I have experienced a problem. There is a huge sub window marked add to cart/or my wish list, and an easy to use browser function for either author or tittle

    Better luck another time!

  7. Paddy Ryan on June 4th, 2008 12:33 pm

    I have to say that I think your experiance was unfortunate. I have ben using Audible .co.uk for the past number of months and have found them very good. When I wanted to ask questions they proved very responsive. I wish you better luck as time goes by. I don’t think itunes is as good as I found their selection of books very poor. The great thing is there are big savings to be made at audible and the books are there.

  8. Kevin Francis on July 27th, 2008 8:01 pm

    Scottish resident riding on the back of your blog:
    I thought that I was fairly literate in the computer field … just wanted to listen to a wee book in my mobile .. thats it …to give you an idea of my experience.. heres a copy of my question to ‘audibe’:

    how do I download to windows media player … transfer to nokia N95 an burn to disc?
    why is this so complicated ?
    what is an aw dhelper ….?
    why does the data not go into audilemanager ?
    why does my standard universal ‘windows vista’ not recognise software ?
    why can i not burn book from windows media player ?
    why, after joining and paying up front for 1 book and a free book was i automatically charged separately ?
    why would i sign up and then wish to pay again ?
    why, when I eventually, apparently( according to the amount of memory now free) can I not access the transfer of the book in my nokia N95 mobile ?
    I have now, very very reluctantly, downloaded iTunes, this has made absolutely no difference.
    I now have AudibleManager,iTunes and Windows Media Player …waiting for and when something slips through they jam it.
    It appears that you have a tight security system which, I believe, is preventing me (a medium level computer user) from getting what I pay for.
    the people who download illegally are able to get past these systems. Its people like me who need user friendly systems.
    I am figuring out how to let others know how complicated you have made this system

    Now the download manager for audible content has stopped working and i cant open it.
    meanwhile iTunes is attempting to sell me music … this is dreadful and I have wasted a lot of time with this system.
    and I can get ‘Nero’ does this mean you want to sell me a burn programme when the one I have installed is perfectly sufficient ?
    what is awd helper ? my compuer just piles them up … doesnt know what they are … I certainly don’t.
    my computer has opened ‘Adobe GoLive’ … what is that ?
    and some binary numbers appear….. I could go on …..
    I am a visual artist and I have been using computers now for about 8 years working with images, video, text etc… never have I been sent to so many dead ends.
    perhaps I should learn how to do this illegally, it should be easier.

    last question:

    maybe its just me … remember those rectangular paper blocks with layers and layers of symbols ,which after interpreting, touch softly,quietly,penetrate the layers and layers of mind and heart?
    I enjoyed the image of the couple sitting together listening to a good story.
    thanks,
    kevinfrancis

  9. Bart B on July 28th, 2008 9:59 pm

    That’s an impressive letter Kevin! I think the short answer is “DRM f**ks over consumers at every turn”.

    Bart.

  10. briam on September 25th, 2008 8:20 pm

    very interesting. Audibles responce sounded weak. Im Pc illiterate with an n95 just trying to get a book, audible was useless to me. Ill take the scots advise and get one of the kids to download some books for me illegal like

  11. andy Millea on January 1st, 2009 1:21 am

    I found them to be an excellant service, great prices and big range, cant complain

  12. marcus beagley on January 6th, 2009 12:31 am

    No Harry Potter, No Anathem, Hardly any Asimov or Clarke. Very dissapointing.

  13. Bart B on January 6th, 2009 10:07 am

    Hi Marcus,

    The first of those is particularly hilarious, because the Harry Potter audio books available in the Irish iTunes Store are produced by …. AUDIBLE!

    I had a similar hilarious experience with the His Dark Materials trilogy, couldn’t get them from Audible, but the versions I got from the Irish iTunes store start with “this audio production is brought to you by Audible”! It kinda makes a total mockery of their line to me that it was all about rights issues. If Apple can sell Audible content in Ireland, surely Audible can sell that Audible content in Ireland!

    Bart.

  14. marcus beagley on January 13th, 2009 12:10 am

    I saw one of the Harry Potter’s in iTunes. But they wanted something stupid like £60.

  15. Bart B on January 13th, 2009 9:56 am

    Marcus, it should be pointed out that the longer potter books are about 40 hours long. That works out a lot cheaper per hour than music!

    Bart.

  16. Robert on July 22nd, 2009 8:30 pm

    A friend of mine had a brain tumour removed 2 years ago,so reading has become difficult. I heard about audio.co.uk. Its a godsend for this person,Its not Easons or Waterstones but there is something there for everyone,I have started downloading books myself now.I do not understand this geographical ban since a lot of the books are on sale here for years in some cases

  17. Andy from ireland. on October 29th, 2009 5:24 pm

    I have been using Audible for some time now, and have a credit card bill to prove it. I think it’s a fabulous site and would hate not to have access to it, and if you are patient (which i am not), you can use the wishlist and auto purchase that saves o lot of money. When i go on to the site im like a kid in a sweet shop, (I WANT IT NOW. Sorry to hear of Barts problem

  18. ANDY on November 26th, 2009 10:18 am

    Just wondering Bart, how are you getting on with Audible now?

  19. Bart B on November 26th, 2009 12:13 pm

    I’m not Andy! I left in disgust when every book I wanted was unavailable. When the EU get their act together and give us a genuine single market I’ll consider it again, at least then I know they’ll have a chance of having the books I want!

    Bart.

  20. Andy on February 25th, 2010 9:51 pm

    Bart, i think you should stick with Audible for a little longer. I have compaired some of the books i’ve bought on i tunes and Audible are way cheaper, i mean 15 -20 quid in the difference.

  21. Claire on August 8th, 2010 11:44 pm

    Hi all,

    On the geographical ban that has been mentioned frequently by those commenting, while it definitely frustrates me quite regularly (one of my best friends is from the UK and frequently we recommend books to each other), I understand its necessity. Audio publishers, like Blackstone and Recorded Books, hold the copyright to their recordings and can restrict to which regions they wish their products to be available. The EU’s Single Market is, in most practices, a wonderful thing, but opening up a market does not necessarily mean that businesses will be forced to sell to all countries or territories in that market.

    On Audible.co.uk in general, I have to agree with many others who have written previously. I am thoroughly hooked on Audible, and as a fully fledged premium listener member, the credits I receive every month are certainly lifesavers, otherwise my bill would be much higher than it is.

    Further, as I am visually impaired, it is harder for me to access printed books. I love to read and Audible (although not perfect) allows me to at least get my hands on most of the popular titles that are out there at the moment, amongst others. It has afforded me hours and hours of enjoyment during my leisure time.

    One thing I would like to go back to is to remark that it certainly is strange that the Harry Potter audiobooks (I am presuming the ones read by Stephen Fry) on iTunes are produced by Audible if they are not going to be available on their own site. To be honest, I am not surprised that JK Rowling’s masterpieces are not on Audible. Such successful titles can sell well enough without being converted into a number of other formats above and beyond casette (the format in which I still treasure Fry’s recordings), CD or other digital formats.

    Long live Audible!!

  22. Neil on June 21st, 2012 6:59 pm

    Hi,

    I just had the same issue. I live in Spain and headed over to Audible to buy two books. hit with ‘geographic restrictions’ etc. Then, on a trip back to Ireland tried again. No dice. Boooooo (forever).

  23. charlie daly on July 19th, 2012 7:07 am

    I have the same problem with audible. I would like to know how many of those people praising audible are living in Ireland.

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