When Audible.com rolled out its iPhone app earlier this year, the big complaint was that you couldn't browse the Audible store or buy audiobooks on the fly. You could access your existing library of purchases, but for new stuff, you had to stop by your PC.
Not anymore. Audible 1.3 provides access to a new mobile store, where you can browse and search Audible's catalog of more than 85,000 audiobooks. See something you like? Buy it or add it to your wish list on the spot. (To actually download books, however, you need to be connected to a Wi-Fi hot spot--understandable given that the files can be dozens of megabytes or larger.)
There's just one little wrinkle: This mobile store isn't built into the app itself. Instead, tapping the Enter the Mobile Store button dumps you out of the app and into Safari, which is where all the store action takes place.
It's a minor hassle, but a hassle all the same. Given that the iOS supports in-app purchases, I'm not sure why Audible deployed the mobile store this way. On the other hand, Amazon's Kindle app works the same way, and Amazon owns Audible.
Other than that, the Audible app rocks. You can sort your library by title, author, or recent additions, include iTunes-purchased audiobooks in your library (a nice little convenience), and read Audible-related news. We particularly like the smart player controls, which include a 30-second rewind button, a sleep timer (any 15-minute increment up to 60 minutes), a Facebook/Twitter sharing option, and a full-screen, button-free interface that's much safer for listening in the car.
The Audible service itself is a longtime favorite of ours, with plans starting at $14.95 per month (a price that includes one audiobook credit and big discounts on purchases). That said, we'd love to see some kind of unlimited-listening option a la Tales2Go or Rhapsody. In any event, if you're an Audible subscriber (or an audiobook fan) and an iPhone/iPod/iPad owner, you'll absolutely positively want to grab the new app.