Simply Audiobooks webstore to carry DRM-free Random House Audio downloads

Simply Audiobooks -- an excellent audiobook retailer in Toronto -- has launched an online store selling all of Random House's DRM-free downloadable titles. Random House is one of the many audiobook publishers that wants to give up on DRM, but they've been thwarted by Audible (the exclusive supplier of audiobook downloads to Amazon and the iTunes Store) because the company won't sell DRM-free titles even when the publisher and author wish to make their work available without technological restrictions. The good news is that DRM-free formats are much easier to sell and support, which is clearing the way for new entrants into the marketplace like Simply Audiobooks and Zipidee, to compete with Audible.
Simply Audiobooks has announced plans to make a full range of Random House audiobook titles available for purchase and download in a DRM-free format. The deal makes the Toronto audiobook retailer the first to offer Random House audiobooks DRM-free, and covers more than 5,000 RH audio titles. Downloads will initially be limited to Simply Audiobooks Download Club members, but a la carte download sales will be available later in the summer.
Link (Thanks, Down With Bill C-61!)


  1. This discussion is hardly at a starting point in Chile, but is good to see your experience in the matter. When the moment comes, we will have somewhere to look for ideas and advice.

    I guess the alternative would be, in the end, to start new DRM-free distributors / retailers /wholesalers /ventures.

  2. Great news! Maybe I can listen to Cory’s book then. Zipidee fell on its ass trying to process my credit card, refused to let me buy the book, then billed me four times for it on my bill. (Sorry Cory, when you royalties are adjusted down by four next month, that is me reversing the charges.)

    And does anyone else find it frightening to type their credit card information into a chunk of parasitic javascript loaded on a non-SSL page? I would hope so. It took me a while to find an SSL page to even try to buy the book in the first place.

    Hopefully Simply Audiobooks will have a straightforward web site instead of a hip and cool web 2.0 embedded widget.

    Go Competition!

  3. I signed up with Simply Audiobooks when I canceled my Audible account, mainly because they do offer downloads and they also sell the discs, with a much wider range than you’ll find most places. They’re also a hell of a lot better at customer service

  4. I cancelled my Audible account just a moment ago. I’ll stick to eMusic and possibly Simply Audiobooks.

  5. Excellent news – hopefully the wall will continue to crumble until we reach sanity.

    As and audio book addict, I was very disappointed that, after starting to sell DRM-free music, Amazon did not follow through with DRM-free audio books. They are losing out.

    As reported previously on BB, Emusic has launched an audio book section, and I did subscribe for a while – but their web site is messy to use, and the selection is thin, so I dropped out after a few months.

    Audible is just hopeless: as a Linux user they won’t even talk to me.

    I looked through Simply Audiobooks. Their selection is also a bit thin so far – but with promises of more to come, so let’s hope.

    And yes, I did buy Little Brother from Zipidee, Cory!

  6. Oh, and here’s the next paragraph:

    The majority of files are licensed to be transferred to a compatible mp3 player or burned to CD for personal use a maximum of 3 times, depending on the publisher. No warranty is made for their use outside of playing in the current version of Windows Media Player. We strongly recommend you make a physical backup, i.e. audio CD, of your download audio books, as licenses cannot be reissued once claimed. SAB cannot issue new licenses for titles lost due to computer failure, reformatting or operating system upgrades.

    I think I’ll just continue to use the public library. It’s free.

  7. I’ve used Simply Audiobooks a few times. Once I purchased an iRiver, I had to find a company that at least offered WMA format as an option. Audible wasn’t cutting it and were completely unwilling to offer any “simple” solution for getting their files onto my listening device. (At the time, they claimed to support iRiver players, but not my particular model.)

    DRM is insane. I don’t purchase that many audio books, but when I do, I believe it should be a relatively straightforward process: purchase, download, move to iRiver, and listen whenever and wherever I prefer.

  8. sadly the site is limited to US/Canada and the UK. I doubt I’d be able to subscribe with my Dutch credit card. But I am going to try when I get home.

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