Audible's badge model is fascinating to me...

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2014/03/02 15:29 -08:00, original URI:

I find Audible's whole model fascinating from a psychological standpoint.

There are 17 badgies that one can have.

And there are three levels (silver, gold and diamond) where one can have each.

To date, not a single person or wiki or blog I can find documents all seventeen of them, even when people claim to have emailed Audible directly (that usually gets a list of fifteen of them).

My actual interest is in reading or books I expect to enjoy and re-reading books I love in this fascinating new way that allows me to have the book read *to* me by someone else.

The only downsides to using the Audible App on my Nokia Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone 8 are some minor bugs I've reported to the App developers plus one I haven't yet reported (cannot change the speed at which the book is read to me) but I suspect that they would consider it by design.

I am left with the seventeen badges (only fifteen of which appear to be widely documented), none of which I am chasing though I've managed to snag thirteen just by being an obsessive (some might say compulsive) reader of books I enjoy.

I refuse to chase down the remaining three badges or how to raise to Diamond level any of the badges that are only at Silver or Gold level.

Though I find it fascinating how many of my own friends are obsessively or compulsively chasing them, for example when I find notes on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn (or maybe all three!) noting their reading habits, proving they are chasing after the "Social Butterfly" badge!

It can be easy to fall into such traps, though I would rather stay on target and just keep reading the books -- Audible (and thus Amazon!) gets the money anyway for the books I am reading by having them read to me.

The fifteen that are usually documented can be found at the following link:

I will list the seventeen badges, just for the record, and challenge anyone to explain how all seventeen of them work:

The last two badges are the ones seldom mentioned though a Bing or Google search can dig out obscure references to the *hands free* and *sleep timer* features, which are both available on all platforms but are apparently not understood very well.

Let's just call them doc bugs, which actually means they are user interface bugs due them not being designed more intuitively, and documentation failed to adequately cover for the lapse.

The features themselves are pretty easy;  one lets you work backwards and forwards through the book and add bookmarks with gestures (although the unclear connection to related Speech commands would be an additional UI bug and perhaps even a badge bug!), and the other helps you guard against falling asleep by shutting off at a set time interval if you're afraid you might fall asleep soon.

Another simple search will reveal that a lot of people are completely obsessed with the game of obtaining Audible badges, which have no intrinsic value and which have no benefit beyond the sense of accomplishment after getting it.

Oh wait. Someone gave Amazon some money for the books. Can't forget about that bit, right? ;-)

I can see obvious avenues to take if I ever wanted to chase the remaining four badges (and I will admit to once wasting two hours chasing the *Repeat Listener* badge by listening to Samuel L. Jackson reading "Go The Fuck To Sleep", though it was in vain -- I think it knew what I was trying to do and I can't use a five minute book to do it. There must be a minimum time required rule or something.

And I haven't yet run across any books longer than thirty hours other than The Bible and as an agnostic M.O.T. I can't imagine being willing to put up with *that*. But maybe there are other interesting long books out there....

Getting back to the psychology of the Audible badges for just a moment, I think it is fascinating to consider the consequences of how exciting it must be to be to imagine some mythical Program Manager or Software Development Engineer at Amazon who spec'd out or wrote the Audible badge feature that makes extra revenue due solely to personality quirks of people who read! My hat is off to them!

Well, it isn't all altruism having nothing to do with the bottom line. For example, the Diamond level of the "7 Day Stretch" badge has a simple requirement: "Completed 50 books in a single week." That is not so much altruism as enlightened self interest."

Still brilliant, either way! I remain impressed at the psychology here! ;-)

# M. Scott Kaplan on March 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM:

From one of the few people to mention the other two badges:

SandyK on 08/20/2012 at 11:09 PM

I have 2 additional badges on my Windows phone that haven’t been mentioned in any post that I have seen so far. This is what I know about them:

16. Look Ma No Buttons
a. (Silver)-it says I have used the button-free feature a total of 24 times, so I think I go this one at 20 uses.
b. (Gold) ?
c. (Diamond) ?

17. Sleepy Head
a. (Silver)-it says I have used the Sleep Timer 6 times, so I think I got this one at 5 uses.
b. (Gold) ?
c. (Diamond) ?

Not sure if anyone else have these two, but I am sure that people will start to ask about them.
It was a comment to this blog:

# M. Scott Kaplan on March 4, 2014 at 9:19 AM:

Of the two additional badges, I have Diamond on the 17th and I haven't earned the 16th.... I guard against falling asleep, I guess. πŸ˜‰

# P. on July 2, 2014 at 2:48 PM:

Robert Jordan and Diana Gabaldon have audio books over 30 hours. Quite a few, in fact.

# Jane on July 26, 2014 at 5:05 PM:

I would suggest "The Goldfinch" as an excellent book over 30 hours. It's a recent Pulitzer winner and the audio is narrated flawlessly. (So much so that I've sought out other titles read by the same voice actor.)

# GMoCampbell on July 29, 2014 at 6:09 PM:

All five books to date in the series A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones) is longer than 30 hours and well worth the read!!

# Kernel_P@nic on August 20, 2014 at 12:12 PM:

This post from 2013 seems to document all seventeen it looks like.

# Sair on April 15, 2015 at 12:19 PM:

I'm curious to know what happens when you collect all the badges, though I'm not going out my way to achieve any of them

# matthew bushong on May 24, 2015 at 5:48 AM:

If you max out all. You win 1000 books of your choice. But you must buy 1000 books first and must read each one three times once at nite , once on the weekend, and once at noontime.and you must have two witnesses, not related. Please pass this on.

# Lorene Hensley on June 16, 2015 at 9:54 AM:

Sleepy and buttons have been discontinued. Just for everyone's FYI. πŸ˜„

# Lorene Hensley on June 16, 2015 at 9:54 AM:

Sleepy and buttons have been discontinued. Just for everyone's FYI. πŸ˜„

# big none social girl on July 29, 2015 at 2:33 PM:

does anyone know how to get the stack badge?

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2015/09/25 On detection of Time Loss, and losing Audible Badges, and...

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