Backup Your AudiobooksBy: Morgan Hobbes | 6th of March, 2021
Recently I had a bit of a catastrophe with my PC. Thanks to a hard drive failure, I had to spend a weekend reinstalling everything I'd lost. Trying to remember what programs I had. It took ages to get everything exactly right.
Fortunately, any critical files (and honestly, heaps of unimportant ones too) get automatically backed up to a cloud drive, so I didn't lose anything but my time.
But it did get me thinking about my Audible account and digital files in general. Every so often, there is some noise about how digital products aren't really yours, and you've only purchased a licence to use them. How they aren't a good idea because if the business goes bust, you risk losing access to what you paid for.
It's unlikely Amazon is going down the tubes anytime soon, but there are scenarios where you could still lose access to content you have purchased, and Audible don't have to do anything about it. All reports from stories I've read say they do actually do something about it, but they don't have to.
Sometimes it's because rights holders change, and editions are withdrawn from sale, so only the new editions can be sold. Whatever the reason, their get-out-of-jail-free card is there in black and white when you agree to their terms and conditions of use:
Purchased Content - Once we have made purchased content available to you for download, we encourage you to download the content promptly after purchase. As a convenience to you we may continue to make your purchased content available for re-download through your Service account, but we do not guarantee that such content will be available for re-download and Audible will not be liable to you if it becomes unavailable for further re-download.
So they agree to make it available for download, but not forever. They encourage you to download it as soon as you can, which I tend to do anyway.
There is a Solution
Now, this is a Windows solution. There are Mac solutions out there as well, and while I use an iPhone, my computers are always Windows-based, so this solution is Windows only.
A handy little program that I've used for a while now is AAX Audio Converter.
It's super simple to use to convert your DRM-protected Audiobooks into DRM-free audiobooks without any loss in quality. This, of course, falls completely under any definition of fair-use, as you're keeping a backup of your legally purchased and owned files. The DRM removal is necessary for the event when you can no longer play the file through Audible.
As stated on the developer's site:
Note that this software does not 'crack' the DRM or circumvent it in any other way. The application simply applies the user's own activation code (associated with his/her personal Audible account) to decrypt the audiobook in the same manner as the official audiobook playing software does.
De-DRMed audiobooks must not be uploaded to open servers, torrents, or other methods of mass distribution. No help will be given to people doing such things. Authors, retailers and publishers all need to make a living, so that they can continue to produce audiobooks for us to listen to and enjoy.
Which I thoroughly endorse. Do not use this to distribute files to others. This is for your own personal use.
On average, each audiobook I back up is between 150 and 200MB and takes less than 20 seconds to copy across to my storage. With cloud storage being relatively cheap for heaps of space (for me, I get 1 TB free with my Office 365 subscription), it'll take years to fill it, even with other stuff I'm always throwing on there. For the peace of mind it gives me, knowing I'll never need to worry about losing a copy of something I bought, it's worth the small amount of time invested whenever I get a new audiobook.
Before I moved everything off to the cloud, I used a large stick USB drive, and at one point, a micro-SD card I'd pulled from an old phone. The point is, you can get gigabytes of storage these days for cheap. It's worth spending a few bucks to make sure your favourites are always available.
Do you already backup your audiobooks? What's your solution to keeping copies of what you've paid for? Do you use AAX Audio Converter or something else? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians
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