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When An Amazon Audiobook Library Disappears
March 19, 2013 - 9:00pm

Below is a screenshot of what I saw when I opened my Library this morning.

0 results.

No audiobooks.

Nothing.  Nada.

Now I know for a fact that I have more than zero audiobooks in my Library.  The first book that I purchased from Audible was in April of 2005 (The World is Flat). As of today, I have downloaded 368 (the latest one being Salt, Sugar, Fat )

 For some of these audiobooks I have local copies on my laptop. Most only exist as links in my Audible Library. 

What this means is that I rely on Audible, on Amazon (which owns Audible) to hold my book library.  It gets worse, as I do the same thing for my Kindle books..

Relying on a company to store my content is wonderful. Until it is not.  Audible fixed the glitch and my audiobook library came back about 30 minutes or so after I took the screenshot, but maybe this glitch was some kind of warning.

  • What would happen if the technology failed in some bigger way?
  • What would I do if my account were hacked?
  • What is the plan if my account credentials somehow get corrupted?
  • What happens to all these books when I die?

There is no getting around the fact that I am putting a great deal of trust in Amazon.   

Don't get me wrong - it is a great service that Amazon holds my entire digital book library.  I don't want to keep my digital content - I'm happy to off-load this task to Amazon's cloud.  It is great that I can so easily search or browse for my books, and download them again whenever I want.   

Am I furiously downloading all my digital books to guard against a reoccurrence of a vanishing Amazon/Audible Library? I plead the 5th.  

My (briefly) disappearing Audible audiobook library was a glimpse into the price that we (I) might pay  for turning Amazon into our (my) digital bookseller and bookshelf.   

Where are your digital books stored?

Are there lessons here for our academic libraries?


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