THE BLOG

Audible: The Worst iPhone App I Have Ever Downloaded

14/02/2014 14:57 GMT | Updated 15/04/2014 10:59 BST

This evening, on returning home from a gig and after watching some 'Always Sunny In Philadelphia', somewhere around midnight maybe, I decided it was time for bed. I didn't feel like reading though, or watching any TV, or going straight to sleep. While doing my usual last Facebook check of the day I saw an advert for the Audible App, advertising the audiobook version of the Red Dwarf title 'Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers'. Now we're talking.

I click the link and I'm taken to the Apple Store to download Audible. I do so, load the app and am taken to the Audible home screen. For future reference to all app developers, or anybody advertising anywhere online really, and especially on iOS devices... when I see an advert for something and click on it, I expect to wind up at the thing I clicked on pretty damn quick. But no problem, I can search for the title. Or rather I can't, as that title doesn't exist anywhere on the app.

The app itself consists of a few tabs. At the top is 'Cloud', 'Device' and 'iTunes'. Oddly, this app is owned by Amazon, so I was surprised to not see an Amazon tab on there, but that's by the by. As I hadn't already downloaded the title, it wasn't going to show up on there. The first tab on the bottom of the screen is 'My Library'. Again, I won't have any joy there. Next is a plus sign called 'More Books'. Aha, I though, but alas not. This tab merely brings up a screen that says "More books - Audible is home to a vast catalogue - you'll find bestsellers, sci-fi, romance, classics, humor and more". All well and good, BUT WHERE? That was it - just a screen telling me those words, with nowhere to actually browse titles. Fuck me. Then there's an Audible logo in the middle - this does nothing. Followed by 'News' and 'Me' - both useless.

Okay, I'll try iTunes. There's a damn iTunes button on there so I'll try iTunes. The button itself doesn't do anything - surprise! - maybe it's purpose is to sync titles I've already bought. I load my iTunes Store and search for the title with no joy. Starting to think the damn thing doesn't actually exist.

By this point I really wanted to listen to the audiobook, so I gave it a Google on my MacBook. Would you believe it, towards the top of the results was the title I was looking for on the Audible website. Now we're getting somewhere. I visit the main website and here I learn the details about how the platform works, or is kind of meant to work anyway. For £3.99 a month you become a "member" and receive a "credit". A credit can get you an audiobook, or money off a more expensive audiobook I presume. I click all the right switches to confirm and pay my £3.99. Back on the iPhone I look for my new purchase, yawn, and stroll through to my bedroom when I'm stopped in my tracks by not finding the title available on my device. Back to the computer, back to the website, and I check my Library on the full version of the Audible website. Nope. Nothing. I look at my account though and I have been charged £3.99, while I also notice I have zero credits available.

Just to recap here, I was advertised via my iPhone a Red Dwarf audiobook through Audible, but had so far paid £3.99 to not have anything. Bargain. I then clicked through to get a refund and there it was - at the bottom of my purchase history, the very title I've been looking for. There's a clickable link on the order number that takes me through to the order details, where the train finally stops. Nothing else to click, and nothing in my library.

According to this app, or website I guess, I have paid my membership, ordered my item, and got nothing to show for it. After half an hour of messing about on various devices I'm £3.99 out of pocket and I'm not listening to my Red Dwarf audiobook. Instead I'm writing this, which is an equally as productive, though far less entertaining use of my time. Ah well.

Additional. Just as I'm filing these words an email comes in alerting me to a credit. Maybe I've been too quick to judge. Back on the website I search for the title, find it listed as £7.49 or 1 credit. Well, I have one credit so yes please. Fill my library with your Rimmer goodness. Add to basket. Boom. View basket. Boom. Buy this title for £7.49. Oh, that's a shame. Remove item, back to the home screen, try again, and YES. 1 credit in the system and I'm told, "you pay £0.00". I get my phone out, download the audiobook, and zzzzzzzzzzzz.