Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Goodbye Audible.com

I'm finished with Audible.com—it's been great, but it's just all too hard, and the content is available directly from iTunes Store anyway. First, here is the combination of factors that has lead to this:
  • Audible's website is just plain slow. It's hideously slow, and I'm on a 24Mbit connection.
  • There is no obvious way to initiate multiple downloads from Audible's hideously slow website. That is, you can't just hit a button and download your entire purchased library—if you've got 70 titles, you're going to be clicking 70 buttons.
  • Audible's DRM is obtrusive. Sure, they've got to have it, but I've never felt beaten about the head by the iTunes DRM like I do by Audible's. Every time I went near an Audible audiobook (after the fiasco I'll describe below), it blathered on about authorising or deauthorising my machine or my iPod or my desktop player or whatever. This just in, Audible: your DRM needs to be smarter.
  • Audible's desktop applications are woeful. There's just no excuse these days for re-writing an operating system's standard look and feel. (Having said that, of course, iTunes does it. But Apple can get away with it.)
  • By default, Audible stores your downloaded audiobooks under the "Program Files" top-level directory rather than somewhere in "My Documents". For Mac OS-only readers, that would be like storing your downloads under "Applications" rather than "Documents".
Here's what happened earlier tonight. I had just run JDiskReport to see if I couldn't free up some space. While removing some unused applications, I figured I could get rid of the Audible applications I never use anymore. Now, here's the bit where I screwed up: reflex-clicking "Yes" on a couple of dialog boxes meant that:
  • I deleted all my downloaded audiobooks along with the applications, because they're stored in the same place.
  • I "de-authorised" my Windows XP machine.
I figured I could just log into Audible.com and re-download my library. Good in theory, but I was bitten by several of the observations above. I downloaded the smaller of the two Audible desktop applications which lets you download your audiobooks into your iTunes library, and I started downloading 70 titles one-click-at-a-time. After the first few had come down, I told iTunes where to find one of them, as up until that point it had been flagged as missing. iTunes asked me to authorise my machine. I typed the exact same username and password I had just used to log into the website, and it was rejected. I did this about three times, always the optimist. Next I figured I would download the other Audible bloatware application and use it to authorise myself—same result. So I stop downloading, and tell the website to email me my password. Instead it emails me a change-your-password page, so I use that to set it to what I'm pretty sure it already was. Freshly authorised, I continue downloading. After 70 titles, I import them into iTunes, and pretty much all of them are now listed in duplicate. I run down the list—again, manually—attempting to start every single file (now 140) so that I can flag the non-existent titles, which I then delete.

I am pretty sure I am back to where I was about an hour or two ago. Thanks, Audible, it's been great. But I'll be buying my audiobooks from iTunes Store from now on.

No comments:

Post a Comment