For years, Audible, Amazon’s audiobook arm, has operated on a membership model: subscribers sign up for one of a range of monthly to annual tiers, which provides them credits that can be exchanged for individual audiobooks. (Beyond the credit system, members are also able to buy additional audiobooks at discounted prices.) Recently, the company has been branching out, partnering with fitness companies like Aaptiv and Planet Fitness gyms to expand membership offerings. Today, Audible announced that it’s adding yet another perk: members will now receive two free Audible Originals, the company’s line of original content, every month.
As the audiobook and podcast market has soared in recent years, Audible has been wading into the in-house content production waters, in addition to producing and licensing audiobooks of existing works. In recent years, it’s commissioned shorter works from authors like John Scalzi as well as original books set in the Alien and X-Files universes. Members already had access to the company’s original podcasts through the Channels section of its iOS, Android, Windows 10, and Fire tablet apps.
The new Audible Originals offering will work similarly to a book-of-the-month club: on the first Friday of each month, Audible will release a list of six original titles, from which subscribers can download two, alongside the credits that they already pick up as part of their plan. This month’s titles are Michael Lewis’ The Coming Storm, Carey Mulligan’s Girls & Boys, Jane Austen’s Emma, Jack Gantos’ The Dented Head of Joey Pigza, Sharon Washington’s Feeding the Dragon, and The X-Files: Cold Cases.
All of these titles are a mix of styles, including long-form reporting, theatrical performances, and full-cast productions, that range from one to eight hours of listening time. While they aren’t full audiobooks, Audible has produced some intriguing original projects; James Patrick Kelly’s Mother Go was a fun science fiction adventure, and I’m currently listening to Dennis E. Taylor’s space opera The Singularity Trap, which is a fun throwback to classic sci-fi. The new perk is also a good way to sample the company’s offerings: I wasn’t likely to spend a credit (credits are priced anywhere from $10 to $15 a month, depending on the plan) on something that’s only two hours long, but now that it’s thrown in, I’m far more likely to scoop up something that catches my eye.