Saturday, April 25, 2009

Audible vs. iTunes... FIGHT!

Strom Front coverI finally decided on what books to get from, I got Book 10 and 11 of The Dresden Files even though they don't have books 1-9 available yet. I actually went out and bought the first book, "Storm Front" in paperback, decided I liked the series and figured I would get up to book 10 eventually. I am also expecting them to catch up on the rest of the series pretty soon. I know that books 1-4 were already recorded once on Audio for another company. I wrote Audible and Jim Butcher, the author, if they had any information about the earlier books becoming available on but so far I've gotten no response.

I also found out that the soon to be stupidly renamed, SciFi channel, did a TV series based on the books that lasted 12 episodes before it was canceled. It is available free and legally on, but I'll wait till I'm caught up with the books to watch it.

I also finally got season 2 of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" from iTunes. At the same time I realized that I never downloaded the last episode of season 1, titled "What He Beheld." Thinking back I remember that was the first time our internet connection in the house in Perth got shaped down to modem speed. I had started the download, left the house and when I got back it said it still had an estimated time of 40some hours. I didn't log back into the iTunes store for a few months and forgot about it.

I got into a multi-email exchange with iTunes customer service trying to get them to let me download it. Note that I don't say, "re-download" because it had never been fully and successfully downloaded in the first place. It is ridiculous to me that I have spent several hundred dollars on the iTunes store last year and yet I have to go through this crap to download an episode that I have clearly already paid for.

They are out nothing but a fraction of a fraction of cent in bandwidth to let me re-download something. Seems like a very fair exchange to keep a loyal customer. I swear sometimes Apple is going out of its way to piss off their customers.

The first email was a macro'ed:
Your request for a refund for "What He Beheld" was carefully considered; however, according to the iTunes Store Terms of Sale, all purchases made on the iTunes Store are ineligible for refund. This policy matches Apple's refund policies and provides protection for copyrighted materials.
To which I responded
Your response was carefully considered; however, it did not match my request.

I do not want or nor did I ask for a refund. I want the episode that I have clearly paid for but never got. It was never completely successfully downloaded but instead was interrupted due to a bad internet connection. It should have been available the next time I checked for available downloads, but it never came up again and I don't have it.
Eventually, after being scolded for the fact that this purchase was from just over a year ago, they allowed me to re-download it.

But this whole incident just highlights why I stopped buying audiobooks from iTunes. When I buy them straight from, I am safe in the knowledge that if anything were to happen to my iTunes library, as it does every 6th update or so, I can re-download all purchases from the Audible website at any time.

I just spend the last few days rebuilding my iTunes library from when I reformatted my laptop last month. I now have the library pointed to my F: drive which is what my external drive maps too when plugged in. I duplicated the library on both my external drives so as long as either is plugged in as the F: drive it will work. And later when I get my desktops re-setup, I can set them up the same way so they will work as long as I have either of the external drive plugged in as the F: drive.


Anonymous said...

That was a whiny post. You waited a whole year to ask for the download. You should keep batter track of your downloads. Also, while not an Apple fanboy, if you don't like the way they treat you, don't buy from them---not that that will hurt their bottom line.

Joseph B. Hewitt IV said...

That wasn't whiny, my latest post about the Star Trek movie, now THAT was whiny.

I think I'm just annoyed with the whole digital download thing where I'm paying money for something that isn't physical and yet they have an attitude as if it is. I think once we go digital, that if I buy it, it is mine and I should be allowed to download it again later if something happens. Something, like I said in my post, tends to happen to my library every once in an iTunes update.

Yeah, its just the frustration talking... that and Fox canceled the show.

James said...


So I know I'm really late to this post, but I just wanted to agree with you! Apple allow you to re-download all applications from the app store, why not movies and music?

I 'spose it could be a licensing issue, in fact the more I think about it the more I suspect it is. But whatever the reason it's just not good 'customer service'.

A phrase that seems to disappear when we go digital.


~Drifter~ said...

I'm a little late on this post, but I have a similar issue and I'm not sure a lot of people have thought if it yet. What happens to all my digital movies/books/music that I've purchased over years when I pass away one day. If it was a book or DVD I would leave it for my children or whomever, but with the digital age, how do I leave these items to them. Anyone have an answer on this one, I would love to hear it.