Audible.com — Worth listening to?

It was the year 2000, and I was in love. It wasn’t another supermodel or a figure skater, but a website for audio books called Audible. You see, I had been an avid reader for most of my adult life, but I was working full time and going to b-school at night, so my busy life left me starved for pleasure reading. Then Audible walked into my life.

Audible’s library of daily news and audio books provided me an easy way to pass myself off as "well read" and I, and many others, cheered. However, internet years are like dog years and Audible appears to be growing old. The rise of podcasts, satellite radio and video integration across handheld devices is taking the wind out of Audible’s sails.

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 have to be honest, I’m not helping. I’ve let my subscription lapse because my life has changed and it’s no longer worth the 5 minutes it takes to download the news or browse for more books. I’ve tried everything — even the wireless application that lets me download content over the air, but it just hasn’t been worth the hassle. Maybe Apple’s new iPhone will make it so easy to get fresh content on my handheld device that I’ll reconnect with Audible.

I hope so.

I miss Audible. I’ll have to give her a call sometime.

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