Books.app does not work on Audible; Apple and Audible blame the other

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I’m stuck in a permission loop when trying to play Audible books on my 2019 iMac running macOS Monterey 12.4. Starting with Catalina, Apple replaced iTunes with Books.app and Music.app. Audiobooks can now only be opened by Books.app. When I try to open an audiobook I purchased from Audible, Books.app asks me to authorize the audiobook. I say yes, and it takes me to the Audible site, where I press Activate Now. This then takes me back to Books.app, where it says “Computer could not be authorized for your Audible account”. See screenshots 1–3.

Here is another poster with this issue: https://forums.macrumors.com/thread…le-books.2337027/?post=31229607#post-31229607

I contacted Audible and ended up exchanging emails with an “Audible Tech Tier 3 Lead”. He wrote the following:

“This behavior started when iTunes was replaced on MacOS. It started on MacOS 10.15 (Catalina). When we encountered this issue with Catalina, we encountered several workarounds, but none to actually fix it. We (Audible) filed a bug report to Apple, which at the time was about to release Big Sur. Unfortunately, the issue was not fully resolved with this update. Monterey, no updates have targeted this bug. We have created a new bug report to Apple including Sysdiagnose logs to help them find the root cause of this behavior. At this time, we have not yet received a response, so we are looking for other methods of communication with them.

Finally, let me respond to your request to research what works for some users with Monterey. We were unable to reproduce this activation issue during internal testing. We used several Mac computers, but they were all able to be activated successfully. Our development team was unable to identify any issues with the activation method on our end, which is why we have alerted Apple.”

As Audible says this only affects certain users, I figured it might have something to do with my user accounts setup, so I created a fresh install of Monterey on a new volume. On the fresh volume, I saw the same behavior.

I also contacted AppleCare. The Senior Advisor escalated my issue to the SSE Engineering team. Here’s what the advisor wrote about the engineering team’s findings:

“Engineers tested the audible issue on a computer running an older version which was MacOS Mojave and they were successful with audible, but when they tried with our current version, macOS Monterey audible did not work and they encountered the Same issue you are having. They were able to determine that at this time audible is not compatible with any version later than MacOS Mojave. So anything on Catalina and later will not work with audible.

So, to sum it up, Audible says this:

(a) This is due to a *bug in Books.app* which Apple has not yet fixed; (b) Audible *is unable* to reproduce the bug itself, but is aware that it affects many users; and (c) Audible does not know why some users are affected but not others.

And Apple says this:

(a) This is due to a *bug in Audible*; (b) Apple *is* able to reproduce the bug on all versions of MacOS that use Books.app.

Finally, I’ll add that when I try to do the authorization in Chrome instead of Safari, I get a pop-up asking if I want to open Audible in Music.app, suggesting the problem is that Audible is trying to authorize. ‘allow the wrong app (see last screenshot). Audible blames Apple for this, and Apple blames Audible.

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