The coronavirus pandemic has brought America to its knees, and local and national businesses have had to rise to the challenge like never before, from airlines and hotels forgoing cancelation penalties to local bars and restaurants closing their doors in an effort to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Individuals and families have felt the impact especially as many companies have asked their employees to work from home and several US cities and states have issued “stay at home” orders to residents. Many parents have felt the additional burden of ensuring their children keep up with schoolwork and stay entertained during the long days at home while schools are closed. Shondra Rhimes, the creator of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” tweeted a newfound appreciation for educators this week: “Been homeschooling a 6-year-old and 8-year-old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week.”
Amazon-owned Audible is throwing parents a lifeline. Audible is the largest audiobook listening platform in the country and the fastest-growing private employer in Newark, New Jersey, where the company is headquartered. Audible usually charges monthly subscription fees ranging from $14.95 to $22.95 to access their library of more than 525,000 titles, but they’re currently making hundreds of their most beloved audiobooks available to the public for free during this unprecedented crisis.
Audible announced the launch of the program this week with the promise that “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open.”
Bob Carrigan, Audible’s CEO, told Business Insider that “As the world grapples with new challenges, Audible’s younger listeners in particular have an immediate need.” He shared that just in the past week the company has heard from many of its customers that Audible is helping to keep their families relaxed and entertained during this difficult time.
“That’s why we launched Audible Stories, so anyone, anywhere can stream hundreds of our titles for kids and families, no strings attached. Our intent is that Stories will offer parents, educators, and caregivers a screen-free experience to look forward to each day, while keeping young minds engaged,” Carrigan added.
Select genres cater to elementary, tween, teen, and adult listeners alike. They also have many preschool titles ranging from “Winnie-the-Pooh” to “The Wheels on the Bus.” Other categories include a “Folk & Fairy Tales” section and a “Literary Classics” section with titles like Alex Haley’s “Roots,” Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” and Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.” Many selections are available to listen to in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Japanese.
To ensure this opportunity is user friendly and accessible to all, Audible has eliminated all log-in or sign-up requirements. No credit card, email, or password is needed to participate — just select the audiobook of your choosing and click “Start Listening.”
All available titles can be accessed via desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet at stories.audible.com.