Earlier today, the Apple Books app sent out a push notification offering a free Apple Book to users. The notification mentioned read-alongs for kids, cozy mysteries, and audiobooks for the whole family.
Most likely aimed at helping folks pass the time when much of the world is social distancing due to COVID-19, Apple is offering a wide-ranging collection of free titles in various genres. In browsing the section, I found several titles that I picked up for my kids and me. My family has gotten in the habit of listening to kid-friendly podcasts and audiobooks on the way to school, so I grabbed several titles for when our daily commute returns.
I have been a long time Kindle and Audible user, but I just switched to Apple Books for my daily reading using an iPad Mini, so I am using this opportunity to build up my library of books to read. Click here to view the entire list. The link doesn’t take you to the same Apple Books UI as clicking on the push notification, but it’s generally the same content.
Here are a few of the titles I picked up:
- The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
- Winnie the Pooh
- If She Knew by Blake Pierce
- Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor
- The ABC’s of Cookies (Sesame Street)
Many of the titles that are free are the first book in a series, so this collection is a great way to sample a series before purchasing the entire thing.
Zac Hall argued that the entire Apple Books experience could stand an overhaul from a pricing perspective, and I agree with him. I’d love to see an Apple Books subscription option.
If Apple really wanted to modernize its audiobooks business, it could match Amazon’s WhisperSync feature — sync between ebooks and audiobooks — but I would be perfectly happy with a simple subscription audiobooks business with streaming. I really enjoy audiobooks as a form of entertainment and learning after reading text on a screen all day.
You can listen to a lot of audiobooks in a month, and new release audiobooks aren’t cheap. For this reason, you could imagine the service having limits similar to Audible — only a certain number of audiobooks per month. But it would be even more compelling if Apple was more aggressive and built an audiobook streaming service that worked more like Apple Music: build your library and keep access for as long as you subscribe.
Audiobook streaming that could power playback in more places doesn’t have to be tied to a subscription service, but overhauling the way audiobooks are delivered seems much more likely to be tied to a new revenue model for Apple — at least in the current climate where Apple is looking for ways to lessen its dependence on iPhone growth for revenue growth.
Did you pick up any free Apple Books during this promotion? What were your favorites?
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