Our Downpour review reveals the full potential this unique audiobooks platform can offer. In addition, we tested the service to provide an honest opinion about its features, strengths, weaknesses, pricing, and more.
Downpour might be just the right app if you’re looking for a DRM-free audiobook selection and have the option to rent out titles.
Read on to find out all about its pricing model, playback features, device compatibility, ease of use, and more.
Pros & Cons
*1 credit to buy an audiobook per month
(over 97% of digital downloads are 1 credit)
Downpour Review — Features and Services
A team that loves books and believes people should enjoy them anywhere and anytime created the company. Officially launched in 2012, Downpour is a part of Blackstone Audio, one of the largest audiobook publishers in the US. Two years later, Downpour introduced its digital rental program that changed the industry game. The app is one of the few that offers audiobook rentals and an entirely DRM-free selection.
Downpour Audiobook Library
You can choose from 80,000 titles, which is twice less than with some competitors. Downpour library isn’t the largest, but you’re still getting a decent selection of classics and new releases. Audiobooks are carefully divided into categories for convenient browsing. For example, you can search by century, author, or genre. Also, there’s a dedicated section for featured audiobooks.
Each Downpour audiobook comes with details about the price, synopsis, author name, narrator name, and format. Additionally, you can play a sample. Downpour also offers some extra info like short summaries, editorial reviews, and user reviews. It also provides the author’s biography along with suggestions for other titles by the author.
Downpour Playback Functionality
Downpour has the standard playback options that are well-designed and highly functional. They are placed on the player, so you can easily pause and resume the audiobook. In addition, when pausing Downpour audio, the bookmarking feature saves your place so you can automatically pick up where you left off. What is more, you can adjust the playback speed and jump time, set a sleep timer, advance the track, or play the previous one.
There’s also an auto-pause feature for incoming calls. Other functionalities include a track-list view and an overview of the time elapsed.
Downpour Audiobook Review of Available Formats
Downpour offers a variety of formats that bring about an excellent user experience. You can have audiobooks in the form of CDs and MP3 CDs. Furthermore, there’s the option for digital download and even digital rental. Rentals offer the same experience as downloads, except you have 30–60 days to preview an audiobook. You can then extend the rental period or purchase the book.
Downpour Device Compatibility
Downpour audiobooks can be used on desktop and Android and iOS apps. All audiobooks are DRM-free, which means you can play them on as many different devices as you want without any restriction. In addition, you can stream audiobooks online or download them as MP3 or M4B files.
The latter option allows you to create a bookmark, which isn’t the case with MP3 downloads. Plus, M4B files are smaller and have a better quality of sound. What is more, they are compatible with iTunes.
Downpour app for iOS and Android has a simple layout, which makes it very easy to use. Unfortunately, you can’t download the app on Kindle or Nook, but you can download audiobooks onto them. The app allows offline listening and gives you immediate access to all the main options.
Upon clicking on an audiobook, you can read the summary, customers’ reviews, editorial reviews, publisher’s info, and the author’s bio — just like on the desktop version. A potential downside is that you don’t have an overview of all the categories at once; instead, you have five headings under the browse feature. Luckily, there’s a highly intuitive search bar where you can search for specific titles.
Downpour audiobook reviews reveal that users would like to see more advanced features like a lock screen button for play/pause and download an audiobook to a specific folder.
Downpour Ease of Use
The service is straightforward to use. The website design is simple, and the interface is intuitive. You can learn the details about an audiobook by simply hovering above. In addition, you can easily find the desired title among the Downpour audiobook selection by using the search bar or searching the categories.
You can further filter books into specific categories by release months, sub-categories, formats available, publisher, abridgment, and release date. The tracks are chaptered, and you can save titles for later by using the wishlist feature. Furthermore, you can add bookmarks and notes to remember important parts.
Downpour Customer Support
Downpour’s customer support team is available via phone and email. The team is responsive, and they get back within a couple of hours. Additionally, the FAQ section covers all the bases, so you can usually find your answer there.
Review of Downpour Service Pricing
The monthly Downpour membership costs $12.99, and it earns one credit to buy an audiobook. Compared to Audiobooks Now and similar competitors, the price is pretty high. However, the price of audiobooks depends on the format you choose.
You can see the price comparison before you purchase audiobooks so you can decide if it might be better off buying the copy at its retail price and save your credit for something that costs $12.99. Also, if you have a Downpour promo code, you can use it upon checkout.
Overall, about 97% of audiobooks cost one credit. If you need additional credit, you’ll need to purchase it for $12.99. You can buy more than one credit per month, which is excellent, especially compared to Audible, where you need to wait until the next month for new credit or pay the total price. The period to use credits is 12 months. In fact, the membership auto-renews, but you can cancel it anytime.
You can also purchase an audiobook without becoming a member. However, you’ll need to create an account to complete the purchase.
Downpour Audiobook Rental
Downpour pioneered the audiobook rental service. It allows you to rent audiobooks at a fixed price instead of using your monthly credit. The rental periods are 30 and 60 days, but you can extend that period at an additional fee.
There’s a selection of audiobooks you can rent at a discounted price. Plus, you can opt to purchase an audiobook after the rental period ends. Additionally, the Rental of the Week section recommends an audiobook available for renting, easing your decision.
Downpour Audiobooks Gifts
Downpour doesn’t offer an option to give an audiobook or a coupon to a friend. However, considering that all audiobooks at Downpour are DRM-free, you can share them however you want. This means you can purchase an audiobook and then send it to the person you want, letting them enjoy their favorite audiobook for free. They can play the audiobook hassle-free as they would if they normally purchased it.
Downpour Discounts and Deals
A Downpour free trial isn’t available. However, an option to save is to rent books at a reduced cost. Moreover, you can discover many titles at up to 75% discount and downloads under $15, $10, and $5 in the Downpour Deals section. What is more, there’s a Daily Steal of one title.
Editor’s Pick and Staff Pick are also places where you can discover some excellent deals. Additionally, when you create your account, you’ll get access to one Downpour free audiobook. You can find the audiobook in your library and download it at no additional cost. Although you cannot choose the title, it’s a nice gesture.
Downpour Refund Policy
The membership auto-renews every month, but you can cancel it anytime. To do that, you need to log into your account and go over the account details from the drop-down menu. Then, under Membership Plan, click Cancel Membership. Even if you are no longer a part of the Downpour audiobook club, the titles from your library will always be available, and you’ll have the option to listen to them whenever you want and re-download them on other devices if needed.
Downpour will issue a refund or exchange if you contact customer support within 30 days of the purchase or rental. After that period, your membership or rental can’t be subject to refund or exchange.
Downpour Reviews and Online Ratings
Downpour doesn’t have massive feedback on the most famous review directories like Trustpilot and Site Jabber. In fact, the app has a 4.3-star rating on Google Play Store and 3.4 stars on the Apple App Store. Moreover, the majority of users are satisfied with the app’s simplicity and ease of use.
Additionally, users highlight the option to stream audiobooks and play them offline. Also, they praise the samples and synopsis, highlighting that they inform your choice. Complaints usually refer to glitches in-app. It appears that this happens more on iOS devices.
Downpour is one of the many options on the audiobook market. For the sake of this Downpour review, we’ve compared it against two of its main competitors to check where the app shines and when you should consider another app.
Downpour vs. Nook
Nook is an audiobook service by Barnes & Noble, the largest book supplier. However, unlike Downpour, Nook doesn’t work on a subscription model. Instead, you can listen to any audiobooks in its catalog on your Android and iOS devices or NOOK Color and NOOK Tablet.
When reviewing Nook, we found out it has a more extensive selection of titles compared to Downpour. That said, Nook doesn’t have a sleep timer, which means people who want to fall asleep while listening to an audiobook would be better off with Downpour.
Downpour vs. Audible
Audible offers two membership options — Plus and Premium Plus. Both provide unlimited access to its vast selection of titles, but with Premium Plus, you can keep audiobooks from your library forever. Downpour also lets you keep the audiobooks you’ve purchased even after canceling your membership.
Both audiobook apps issue purchasing credits. Audible is pricier than Downpour, but it allows you to request extra credits only after 30 days. On the other hand, Downpour doesn’t pose a limit on the monthly credits you purchase.
Downpour Pros and Cons
- Audiobook rentals — Downpour is one of the few services that let you rent an audiobook. You’ll pay a significantly smaller price and have the option to extend the 30–60 days rental period.
- Multiple formats available — You can get audiobooks in various forms, including digital download or rental, MP3, and CD.
- Exclusive Downpour audiobook promo code discounts and offers — Members of the email signup program get access to exclusive deals and discounts.
- Flexible membership — The membership is renewed each month, but you can cancel it anytime.
- Easily purchase extra credits — For $12.99, you get one credit a month; however, you can easily buy multiple credits if you need.
- DRM-free audiobooks — All audiobooks at Downpour are DRM-free, allowing you to download and share them freely.
- No free trial available — Unfortunately, Downpour doesn’t offer a free trial.
- Pricey — Downpour is more expensive compared to some alternatives like Audiobooks Now.
- Some books cost more than one credit — 97% of books cost one credit, but some cost more.
Downpour Audiobooks Review — Final Verdict
Downpour is a reputable audiobook app that offers a fine selection of audiobooks from all genres. It’s perfect for those switching devices often as all audiobooks are DRM-free, which means you can download and listen to them on as many devices as possible.
Additionally, it offers the option to rent audiobooks for a small fee, a service that not many of the best audiobook apps provide. Price-wise, you might find cheaper options, but Downpour provides a good value for money.