I've listened to audiobooks since they were on cassettes. I switched to CDs then to iTunes downloads. When my first book, Just One Look, was produced as an audiobook by ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange, an Amazon company, and distributed by Audible (another Amazon company), I joined Audible.
Audible offers a great membership plan. I now have 7 audiobooks available--here comes the commercial (hope you'll get one of my audiobooks whether or not you become a member):
Jane (I'm Still Single) Jones
Just One Look
Old Enough to Know Better
Romeo and Judy Anne
Still The One
The Trouble With Love
Currently, one of my favorite narrator/producers is recording the audiobook edition of Scents and Sensuality.
Become a Member
Audible offers several introductory offers for membership. Click here to get the first 3 months for only $7.49. When the Audible membership fee goes to regular price, but that's only $14.95 a month. Each month on the basic plan, you get 1 credit per month. If you don't spend the credit, they rollover. For 1 credit, you can buy any audiobook, regardless of retail price. Now that's a deal!
Plus, there are special sales for members throughout the year--sales like BOGO or $4.99 sale prices. I stock up during the sales.
So there are alternatives to paying high retail prices for audiobooks. I'm sure there are other audiobook sites with membership fees, but I'm most familiar with Audible which also offers another benefit to readers.
The added benefit to buying an audiobook from Audible is that you can pick up the Kindle book and switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book edition and listening to the Audible audiobook. Often, you get a discount price for this.
You can check the ebooks in your Kindle library to see if they're WhisperSync enabled. Not all are, but all of mine are. Learn more about WhisperSync here.
With Audible, you can download a book in just about any format so you can play it on your iPod or MP3 player, your computer, or even burn a CD and play it in your car if you're still listening to CDs.
The popularity of audiobooks is growing by leaps and bounds. If you read my post about library circulation statistics for audiobooks and ebooks, you saw the staggering increase in audiobooks. In retail sales, there was a 20% increase from 2011 to 2012 even as all book sales declined during that same period.
Once audiobooks were enjoyed mostly by the blind. In today's world, audiobooks have risen in popularity because they make books accessible to anyone--people who love to read and people who are marginal readers.
Save Time & Still Be Literate
Time is at such a premium in today's world that readers often don't have the time to devote to their passion. Being able to listen to an audiobook allows readers to indulge their love of books. Audio books can take away the tedium of commuting, traveling, mundane chores and tasks, and entertain you all at the same time. When chitchat at a social gathering turns to the bestsellers, audiobook listeners can hold their own.
About 5 years ago, a little more than 4,600 audiobooks were released. Fast forward a couple of years, and the audiobook releases increased to more than 13,000. It's only going to keep growing which is very good news for authors--and readers too.