Recorded Books

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Recorded Books

Recorded Books has been publishing unabridged audiobooks since 1979. Today, they have a selection of 22,000 audiobooks to choose from in CD form and digital media. Media provided by Recorded Books is designed for individual, school, professional, and infotainment use. In early 2014, Recorded Books was acquired by Wasserstein & Co., a private equity and investment firm. In addition to offering audiobooks, Recorded Books also offers eBooks, movies, games, and help with language learning. 

The Good

  • Great selection
  • Sales and discounts
  • Advanced search feature

Recorded Books has a good selection of over 22,000 audiobooks on their site. Most of these audiobooks are available in both CD and downloadable MP3 format. Having content available on CD is something that most audiobook publishers don't provide. For those wanting to buy their audiobooks on CD, Recorded Books is one way to go.

One aspect about Recorded Books that sets them apart from their contemporaries is that the have a "sale" button on their site that says "click here for special offers." Even though it looks a little spammy, the discounts range from 20-50% off.

Another good thing about Recorded Books is their 'Advanced Search' feature. With this feature, you can search by the following:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Narrator
  • Keyword
  • Media / recording type
  • Genre
  • Release date

The Bad

  • No free trial
  • No free books
  • Limited options

Recorded Books may have a decent selection of books, but they are definitely lacking in several areas. For one thing, the do not offer a free trial or a free audiobook. Many of the other companies we ranked offer at least this.

One of the biggest drawbacks to using Recorded Books is the limited number of ways to listen to content. Unlike other audiobook providers, Recorded Books doesn't have an app any devices. The only way to listen to their audiobooks is to buy a CD, or download an MP3. The only way to browse books is on their website, which is overwhelming and not aesthetically pleasing. Books are jumbled together and difficult to search through.

For those who want to listen to audiobooks on CD, Recorded Books might be a good solution if it wasn't for the high price. You can end up paying over $90 for an unabridged CD of an audiobook - especially if you want to listen to a popular or best selling book. Even the less popular books can cost over $20 for the CD version. Those who want to listen to audiobooks on CD, might be better off using a a service where you can download audiobooks, and then put them on CDs manually. However, there are still many of their CDs and downloadable audiobooks that are under $20, it just depends on what you want to listen to.

Another thing the Recorded Books could improve on is having an app. Most of their competitors offer apps for customers to listen to content through. Having an app would boost their overall credibility and probably introduce them to a wider audience.

The Bottom Line

The lack of a free trial, the limited ways to listen, the fact that there is no app, and the cost all lead us to not recommend Recorded Books. Even if you're the type of person who wants to buy audiobooks on CD, wait for them to arrive, and then listen, Recorded Books are too expensive. Other companies offer similar services at lower prices.

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