Don't trust audible.com, it's drm infected and they don't tell you

Tim Abell · July 23, 2008

If there’s one thing I hate (there isn’t, there’s lots, but this is today’s) it’s companies being economical with the truth to get you to part with your money, only to have you disappointed when you find out the whole truth.

I just bought an audio book on audible.co.uk. And now I can’t even listen to it. I thought I was buying an mp3, or maybe even an ogg file. It is only on actually attempting to download the thing I have just paid for that I discover to my utter disgust that all the download links are for some kind of evil drm type program (I presume here, but there sure as hell was no mp3 in sight).

audible.com screenshot claiming mp3 support

As you can see from the screenshot above, they clearly imply an mp3 download. I haven’t seen such a clear use of weasel sales words for some time.

Next time I’ll read the god damn small print, but I still think this is totally out of order not warning that they are providing crippled versions of what you think you are buying.

Thank fsm for people like the FSF. Their logo really sums up how I feel about being treated in this way.

Update: credit where due. 24th July 2008

My complaint about the website still stands, and my aversion to drm has not diminished, however the responses I have received from their customer service (by email), have been prompt, courteous and have totally resolved my outstanding problem. I have been given a full refund. I’ve been especially impressed given the hot blooded content of my initial contact. A lot of companies could learn lessons in good customer relations from these people.

Update: the battle is lost (for now). 12 Aug 2019

I use audible (now an amazon company) on my not-very-freedom-loving android phone these days. I haven’t tried using audbile on a linux desktop lately, times have changed and everything is android/iphone first now. I still consider DRM to be a nasty form of lockin.

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