Barnes & Noble wants you to give its new audiobook app for Android a try… and it’s giving away some free books to get you hooked.
The new NOOK Audiobooks app is available as a free download from the Google Play Store, and for a limited time when you install the app and sign in with a new or existing NOOK account you can download two audiobooks for free.
Right now you can choose from a list of free eBooks including Ender’s Game, Gone Girl, Charlotte’s Web, Seabiscuit, and The Heist. There’ll be new books added to the list each week… but you only get two free downloads.
After that you’ll have to pay for most recent titles, although there are a number of free public domain audiobooks, courtesy of LibriVox (which also has its own Android app).
B&N says its catalog includes 50,000 “top audiobook titles.”
I’m a long-time podcast listener, but just recently started listening to audiobooks on my phone. Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice got me hooked: Every month the company offers a free eBook and companion audiobook from Audible, allowing you to listen to a book and then pick up a tablet or eReader and continue reading from the same page where the narration left off.
So I’m always on the lookout for new ways to find audiobooks — and it’s nice to have another option… although it’s kind of annoying that the audiobook space is so fragmented. Titles you buy from Amazon or Audible can only be heard through the Kindle or Audible apps, while anything you purchase from the NOOK store can only be accessed from a NOOK Audiobook app.
In fact, you can’t even stream or download the tracks from the NOOK Audiobooks website — you can only listen to them on an Android device.
It’d be nice if these stores would offer DRM-free MP3 files that you could listen to in any player… but at this point it looks like most major booksellers (and publishers) plan to sell audiobooks the way they do eBooks rather than the way they sell digital music.