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Important Information for Audible Listeners


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Update: In the fall of last year we discovered that an update was incompatible with the existing Audible integration on Sonos and made the decision to remove the service. We realize it’s frustrating not to have an easy way to listen to your Audible books on Sonos. We’re working with the Audible team to make sure that when the service does return, we provide the best possible experience.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to get your audiobooks playing on Sonos, we can offer some suggestions here.


Update February 8, 2017: We know a lot of Audible fans are eager to get Audible back working on their Sonos systems and we’re pleased to announce that Sonos and Audible have committed to bringing Audible back to Sonos soon. Please bear with us—we appreciate your patience!
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Best answer by Ryan S 20 March 2018, 20:49

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Userlevel 2
Very bad news! Audible should be supported from Sonos.
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As someone who manages product development at a company that counts several household names amongst its customers, I find the circular conversation on this thread quite astonishing.

Why should the user care whether it was Sonos or Amazon who broke the functionality? Amazon and Sonos signed a partnership agreement for a feature that was working and now doesn't. They need to sort it out between themselves or come clean and say it can't be resolved. Whose fault it is, is irrelevant to the customer.

What users are requesting is to have their expectations managed. Users are normally fairly intelligent people. They are pretty accustomed these days to the idea of product iteration, fixes and not being able to have every feature from day one.

However, if some feature suddenly disappears and the response from the product owner is, "We are working on a fix", unless given an ETA, the user will probably assume that means it'll be done fairly quickly, say within a week or two. When that doesn't happen, they'll be a little annoyed and maybe start getting in touch with the product owner. At that point, I'd expect to start putting some context around the situation. For example - Sorry it's taking some time to fix 'x'. This is roughly 'y' priority on our roadmap. If fixing 'x' isn't high priority, I might hint at some other feature that is currently being worked on and provide an indication of when we plan to start work on fixing 'x'. At any rate, I'd be in fairly frequent contact with my customers, giving updates on the roadmap and when fixes and feature releases can be expected. In product development, you sometimes have to rewrite the roadmap or break bad news on delivery timescales. However, that's normally better than just saying it'll be ready when it's ready and we won't tell you until it's in beta.

As a product manager, if I fail at these things, my customer will probably conclude 1 of 3 things:

1. I'm arrogant and just see you as a dumb customer who doesn't understand the complex machinations of product development
2. My company is struggling to define and stick to a coherent product / business strategy (long delays can sometimes signal that something has been put on the backburner because of conflicting priorities or doubt about where the company should be applying its resources)
3. I'm one of the few companies that has a product that continually surprises the customer and has them weeping with gratitude during product launch keynotes

On this forum, I see many great questions and ideas coming from new and experienced users alike. What I don't see is a sense of that community being fostered by Sonos. As mentioned a few posts above, the users who post on this forum are your greatest marketing team. If they post on here, they are probably active on other forums and social media channels. Treat them kindly and they will evangelise for you. Fail to engage with them and it's a massively missed opportunity. At present, I don't see much love from Sonos for its community. Instead, there's an overwhelming smell of contempt for users who keep asking the same questions (possibly because they don't find the answers very satisfactory).

There's so much more I'd like to write but I'll leave it there for now.
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I thought I'd return after a year away and see what progress has been made.......well this thoroughly sucks. I thought there would be a proper simple solution by now. I guess the subset of audible and sonos consumers must be relatively small so it's not going to be anyone's number one priority. Anyway, we've got Alexa and Sonos playing nicely for the terminally lazy who can't summon the energy to move their finger around a screen so that's nice. Books and words are probably a bit high brow anyway. Keep up the good work.
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BUT

Sonos

sold

the

equipement

advertising

audible

compatibility

with

no

sign

of a

fix

and

that

is

the

problem
Userlevel 1
I submitted a one star review to the Apple App Store for the Sonos app, and I encourage everyone who has experienced the audiobook issue to do the same – please feel free to copy and paste the text from my review below. Sonos should see that there is pressure to make this fix quickly.


App loses features due to company error

We used to use Sonos every day to help our kids fall asleep listening to audiobooks - however, when updating the app Sonos made a "mistake" in programming and broke the support for audiobooks (as they have stated to the press). The issue remains unresolved after almost a year. The company has failed to provide a timeline or solution to this issue.

I cannot recommend a product that loses functionality due to company error in this way, and cannot provide adequate customer support to resolve the issue. For such a premium price point I am very disappointed at their support and customer service.
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As someone who has worked with IT AND media teams over the years I would point out that a year is a very long time and that suggests either Sonos is not looking to update the app or is in serious trouble of falling behind because it's systems are delaying it keeping up with changes.
Userlevel 1
I have spent thousands of dollars on these speakers and regret for one primary reason. The inability to play Audible books. I have been subscriber to audible for 7 years. When I originally bought the first 7 Sonos speakers Audible worked. They removed this functionality and then promised to return for over 3 years now. I have been checking this forum every month for the past 3 years just to disappointed again and again. I just carry the iPhone around and listen to the books on the phone speaker. As the Sonos crap collects dust.
Userlevel 7
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Development on the new Audible for Sonos is going well. We don't have a firm release date to share with you all as we're in the early stages. When there's new information to share you'll be along the first to know about it. We'll also let you know if there's any opportunity to beta test the new integration, but more on that later.
Userlevel 7
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Hi guys. Thanks for the continued feedback. We just removed a few posts here as they're attacking other posters and not adding to the conversation. Call it a little cleanup. Let's all try to remember to be friendly.

It's perfectly fine to disagree with someone's comments, but let's not be hurtful to each other just because you disagree. I know we can get along with a little less snark, it goes a long way toward make everyone a little happier 🙂
Userlevel 2
Hi Ryan,

Thanks for showing someone from Sonos is still reading this thread, but to be blunt, your response doesn't cut it. This regression has been ongoing for nearly a year and many of us have huge investments in your platform. All we've heard is 'its coming back, sometime, someday, maybe. But it'll be great!'

Please get someone in your organisation who CAN share details about the roadmap in here to chime in. Is this two months out? Six? Another year or more? Keeping customers in the dark is a great way to frustrate them, damage your brand, and ultimately, lose them.
Userlevel 1
Agree with wurchr. I have a ton of music from artist that doesn't exist on The internet on Any streaming service. As The songs are only released on vinyls (and when in digital form ripped at home).
Ofcourse i can Work this out by either hook up a recordplayer to Sonos or use some 3.5mm to play them but it's sad I need another step to listen to them.
Userlevel 2
Seems someone's been pissing in your cornflakes for the last nine years, jgatie. I'm certain folks must love having you around.

The primary reasons I purchased my sonos system was to be able to stream my audiobooks throughout the house. It's more than a bit frustrating to have the feature disappear for a system that's cost me several hundred dollars and have not even a rough estimate on when it might return because of 'policy'. My wants aren't any *less* special than anyone else's.

I bought an expensive product based on a feature being advertised. Feature went away. Fine, it happens. Its been over a year, and not a word of when I might be able to use the feature again. It's not that unreasonable or difficult to ask for an actual estimate instead of the non-answers were getting.
John M.

Two issues. One is that Sonos is removing functionality that I, and probably many others, understood was supported when we bought our gear. By removing support for an existing format, you are removing a whole class of content after we have made a buying decision. At the very least, I would expect to receive the courtesy of a reasonable explanation for the withdrawal. Your post does not offer such an explanation.

Second, while you are developing a streaming alternative, you ought to at least allow those of us who have been using Audible to continue to do so. I joined the public beta before understanding that I would lose the ability to play Audible files. I have left the beta program, and reinstalled the release software, according to your instructions, but am unable to access my Audible service, or to play Audible files.

Your advice?
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This is ridiculous ans annoying. I am a great fan of the Sonos ecosystem but regarding the integration of audible it is a pita. I have been waiting for nearly 7 (seven!!!) years for aax support (not implemented yet...) And now nearly one year no access to the audible files on my NAS any more. Only empty promises. On a technical perspective, it should be bloody simple to make it, I would assume strategical reasons for the lack of support. I am very disappointed and I currently advise my friends from getting a Sonos because obviously they don't appreciate their customers after they bought their systems. I grieve.

I tend to agree. I have already moved on and use my Echo to listen to audiobooks, well, frankly there is no choice as there is no way to play them via Sonos any longer. I'm like this: There was already a method of Audiobook playback available from sonos, the Audiobook format 4 has not changed and the app Sonos had used to play our downloaded audible files was working 'perfectly'. I'm thinking that it did not NEED to change, there seems to have been a choice to kill it's functionality with the Sonos update. I believe that it could have been retained until this new streaming method was sorted or even left alone so as to offer Sonos users the option to use one or the other method of playback. I think it doesnt even require voice-- nothing in the Sonos ecosystem depends upon voice command/control, there are other methods of playback of audible content other than the alexa voice functionality, you can still play it back via iTunes, a method that we were freed from when Sonos first gave us Audible playback capability. There is the audible web player and the audible and kindle apps for smartphones and tablets. They all continue to play the same file format. I do believe the choice to kill the long-standing audible playback method via sonos was a choice and one that didnt need to happen. No time was wasted to ensure functionality with Apple Music was spared, oh no. . . but audible, over a year later, and the suggestion of some ambiguous plan but no promise of a solution down the road in another 6-months, really!! What vendor of a product does not fervently work on a solution for their customers to retain marketshare and value in their product/service? Yet here we are a year and a half down the path, and. . .maybe.

I'm a voracious Audiobook listener, 90+% of my media consumption is audiobook listening, The other services I use on Sonos are sirius and tuneIn for news. I do pay for subscription to 4 other streaming music servces (napster, apple music, amazon prime music, spotify) but the truth is in practice I barely ever use them, not enough to where a more sensible person than myself would retain and keep paying for them month after month, and some of them are available on the Echo, thus I have barely used my Sonos units since the Echo was able to play back Audible. It's in fact Audible that has been that 'magic' that has had me find a practical real world value in the Echo, else for me it was a curious gadget no real value other than a curiosity piece and who's initial hype was quickly wearing off. Now I own 4 (bedroom, living room, home office, work office). . . all so that I can listen to Audible content.

Over the years I have ponied up and have 12 Sonos devices about my home as I jumped in up to my eyeballs when its arrival seduced me away from my squeezebox and vortexbox combo that I had spent lots of time and sweat equity to figure out and get it near perfect. It was actually just when I got it all to integrate as a well oiled machine that the Sonos solution hit the marketplace and sweet talked me away. I had to struggle with the price point, but component by component I was in. When they added Audible functionality I was all in! Then one day it was taken away.

It's been some time since I've visited this forum and today I poked my head in to see if there was any progress on an audible solution as I had recently performed the Sonos app update. I did not intend to post and I initially certainly did not mean to bellyache. Ugh. . .I really didnt.
Userlevel 7
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Hi everyone, we're hard at work bringing Audible back to Sonos with the Amazon team. We'll have some more news for you as soon as we can share, but for now, it'll be available as soon as it's ready. I'll let you all know when there's more to share. We want to get it in your hands just as much, if not more, than you want to have it :)

I removed a few posts that were talking about some confidential details. Sorry for the confusion and pardon the dust.
Userlevel 7
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so has audible integration been totally abandoned now?.

It has not, we're working with Amazon on a number of things now and Audible remains to be on the list. We'll update you all as soon as we have news to share.
Userlevel 7
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Hi everyone, I have an exciting update to share with you all today.

We know a lot of Audible fans are eager to get Audible back working on their Sonos systems and we’re pleased to announce that Sonos and Audible have committed to bringing Audible back to Sonos by this summer. Please bear with us—we appreciate your patience!

I'll be updating the main post here with that information as well.
Userlevel 1
Hello there;

For what it's worth I bought my Sonos system explicitly to listen to both Audible audiobooks and music. Clearly it was disappointing that the Audiobook functionality has been removed; and I can't help but feel that overnight the value of my Sonos setup was diminished in a way I had no say over. In that way it feels like something I had was stolen; and thats frustrating.

However that said I read the initial post that was made here, and I respect that Sonos was attempting to address a situation that was outside of their control. As to how much outside of their control it was is of course up to you to guess at. I for one am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt; they acknowledged the problem in what seemed to be a frank and honest way and have been good at comunicating thereafter.

I feel that audiobook listeners tend to feel somewhat of an underappreciated segment of the digital media industry. You only have to look at the way iTunes treats its audiobook customers to see that it's very much an afterthought for them.

What we don't want to have happen is for us to get forgotten about; to have this feature get buried in a list of features deemed 'higher priority'. So I add my little post to this thread in the hopes that Sonos will be able to give addressing this issue with Amazon the priority we feel it deserves. As to whether its Sonos or Amazon that really need to understand our frustrations on this matter; I would welcome Sonos providing contact information for those at Amazon who might better benefit from these messages.

All that said, and despite losing a large part of what I bought the system for; I still believe Sonos is an excellent product and I am excited about the possibility of a proper streaming Audible app. So keep up the good work Sonos; keep talking to us and don't forget Audiobooks can sound great on your system to.
Userlevel 7
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Thanks for all the great feedback everyone. We know you’ve been patient and we appreciate it. We’re working hard with the Audible team and are making sure that everyone involved is aware of your interest and support. We’re going to continue working to make sure we can provide the best possible experience for Audible on Sonos.

We know our policy around not publishing timelines can be frustrating, and understand that some people disagree with it. Gekko21 had some good feedback on the policy which we shared internally, and we welcome other comments on it too.

At this time we don’t have a timeline to give you, but development is going well. Stay tuned here for the latest news on Audible and Sonos. We’ll let you know what develops as soon as possible. We’ll also reach out to you about any opportunities for beta testing prior to the release when we reach that stage.
Userlevel 7
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Isn't this the problem with closed ecosystems, how can they ever keep up with a now rapidly changing on-line market?
Open sonos up to goggle cast, then all native apps can stream to sonos and only the app provider can break it, not sonos being left behind with services that don't work.
Using the line-in with another product is the first move away from sonos.

Panasonic are already doing it this way.
"Because control is possible directly from the GUI (graphical user interface) of a music subscription service app or internet radio, AllPlay can be enjoyed with constantly updated screens and functions. Also, after listening to music on your smartphone while away, you can easily pick up a song where you left off when you return without changing the App"
Userlevel 3
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So it's been 8 months and still no SONOS/Audible connection or an update? From the number of posts on this thread, SONOS hopefully realizes how important this is to its users. It's really annoying having to tie up a device to plug into the Play 5.
Userlevel 6
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Perhaps at this stage this discussion should be re-titled "Lack of Important Information for Audible Listeners."
It's getting really tiresome waiting for this to be fixed.... 😞
Userlevel 2
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SONOS have been delaying this feature for too long now. They keep promising Audible integration, which never comes. I suppose they don’t even know how they will integrate it exactly. The simplest thing would be to open SONOS to AirPlay (which they have scheduled for 2018) and Google Cast (which surprisingly they don’t even plan to integrate.
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Hopefully the Audible.com streaming option will support WhisperSync. Not having support for WhisperSync was the primary usability blocker for the current Audible.com implementation.