PROS / Its genre selection is vast, and books can be downloaded onto devices such as iPods.
CONS / The only rental services it offers are through apps, and those will often cost you more money and limit your selection of books.
VERDICT / Even though it is a great site for purchasing audiobooks, you might want to look elsewhere for rentals.
Online audiobooks have probably found one of their best chances of survival in iTunes, Apple’s streaming service that is one of the most widely used entertainment sources in the digital world.
iTunes has an extensive audiobook program where customers can download purchases, onto their computer and then send them to iPhones, iPods and other devices. There are tons of samples for listening, which is a useful feature if you have a preference for the type of vocal performances you enjoy hearing. With a library of over 100,000 titles, it might be easy to get lost finding a book; thankfully, iTunes has an excellent search engine to see you through the process of finding the right books.
One surprising thing about the audiobook services on iTunes is that there is no rental service available directly from the iTunes page. There are apps you can purchase that will facilitate rentals, but those will not necessarily give you access to the entire iTunes library. Most of the best audiobook websites have rental plans, but iTunes has chosen to stick with letting you buy the books.
This site is very easy to use, but there are still a couple of barriers. For one, iTunes is not as easily accessible to users as other sites on our lineup because of the software installation, and the downloading process can be long and taxing upon your computer. There is no option to rent CDs, so the burden falls upon your computer or mobile device for space. iTunes is great for people who have a ton of space and time to wait for downloads, but if not, you might be in for some adjustments.
Finding the right genre of book will not be a problem at all. With iTunes, you have access to one of the most comprehensive libraries in the digital realm. There is popular fiction such as the Harry Potter series, and classic literature such as the books of Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte. If you have children interested in audiobooks, or if you want to download one for a family road trip, there are plenty of children’s books and abridged books for their enjoyment.
Another useful option on iTunes is its Spanish-language and language instruction books. If you are travelling frequently and want to brush up on a foreign dialect, these audiobooks will give you the perfect tool to familiarize yourself with a different language.
The help and support services for iTunes are not the most impressive we have seen for an audiobook service. There is a telephone support line available, but we were often kept waiting for extensive periods of time when we called. There is also an email service, which has a decent response time of just a few hours. But there is not a FAQ section for iTunes audiobook users, or a user guide to assist you if you are unfamiliar with how to use its services.
If you need an expansive library and have a lot of space on your computer to store it, iTunes is a great choice for you. However, if you prefer to rent or want a CD rather than a download, you might want to look for an app or a site with a rental service.