Audiobooks.com goes mobile with iOS, Android apps

Audiobooks.com made its debut earlier this year as a a sort of Netflix for bibliophiles who prefer to listen to a good book. The arrival of a new mobile app Wednesday allows Audiobooks.com subscribers to more easily take their reading on the road.

The new Audiobooks app is available for both the iPhone and Android devices. It lets Audiobooks.com subscribers download up to two books at a time for offline listening.

And that fills in a key gap in the Audiobooks.com experience. The streaming service launched eight months ago with the promise of offering users more extensive access to content than its rivals. Take a more prominent competitor like Audible, which has long functioned as a kind of Book Of The Month club where you could download one book a month for the cost of a monthly subscription ($15 in the case of Audible). In contrast, Audiobooks.com acted like an online video-on-demand service: You get unlimited access to 15,000 streaming titles for a $25 monthly fee.

But serving up streaming audiobooks requires a constant connection to Audiobooks.com—something you couldn’t count on if you were boarding a plane or camping out at a distant lake without Wi-Fi or cellular service. That’s where Audiobook.com’s new mobile app comes in: In addition to mobile connectivity, it also lets subscribers download two books each month to take with them.

In addition to the download feature, the Audiobooks.com apps both feature automatic bookmarking—letting users pick up a book where they left off—as well as a sleep timer that halts the narrative while the listener drifts into slumber.

The new apps join an increasingly crowded mobile market for audio book services and applications for both Android and iOS devices. In addition to the well-known Audible service, OverDrive offers apps for both iOS and Android that allow users to download and listen to audiobooks from public libraries; the limits on downloads for that service vary from library to library and your mobile device’s storage capacity.

Audiobooks for iPhone is compatible with devices running iOS 4.3 or later; Audiobooks for Android works on devices running Android 2.2 or later.

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