Barnes and Noble has a new audiobook subscription plan. You can pay $14.99 per month and get audiobook credit. This credit can be redeemed for any of their 200,000 audiobooks from major publishers. Audiobooks can be listened to on the Nook app for Android, iOS, or the web player. They currently offer a 30-day free trial, for which you get a free audiobook.
Barnes and Noble recently overhauled its entire audiobook experience. They used to have a dedicated Nook audiobook app and a dedicated audiobook website. Both of these things have been completely shut down. The whole audiobook experience is now on their Barnes and Noble main site. They have a new dedicated audiobook landing page where you can view and search for audiobook-specific thumbnails. For customers who normally visit the website and search for books, you will now display a single listing for print books, ebooks, and now audiobooks.
The new Barnes and Noble subscription system is heavily promoted on the audiobook landing page. Each entry has a free option and gives some brief information and a link to read more. One of the big advantages of the platform is being able to save money. The average audiobook from a major publisher ranges from $15 to $40, so the monthly fee of $14.99 will provide a ton of value. However, they currently only have one subscription option and do not offer a top tier that offers multiple credits. They also don’t use Bluetooth on their Nook eReaders to deliver audiobooks. It’s a strange decision, because they pay Google a fee for each audiobook sold, whereas the content sold on the Nook eReader would be pure profit on each title, at no additional cost.
I think Barnes and Noble getting serious about audiobooks is very positive. There aren’t many options for US customers. Amazon Prime Reading, Kindle Unlimited, Audible, Scribd, and Kobo all have their own subscription system, but most people are only familiar with Audible. Barnes and Noble is in a great position to leverage its website and bookstores to entice more customers to subscribe, while all of their competitors are fully online.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and The New York Times. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.