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If you’re an avid reader (and especially if you are a lover of audiobooks), there’s a preeeeetty decent chance you’ve heard of Audible. And by pretty — I mean I’d be willing to bet money on it.
I mean, I have even seen commercials for it on tv at which is pretty cool so even if you aren’t fully emerged in book world I’m sure you have! Team Audiobooks for life!
It’s one of the most popular audiobook services out there. But maybe you aren’t exactly sure what is it? How does it work? And is it worth the cost?
In this blog post, I’m going to try to break all of that down, reader to reader, and answer those questions with this Audible review! We’ll take a look at what it offers, how much it costs, and whether or not it’s worth your money.
If you are just getting into audiobooks, check out my dedicated guide for beginners to get into audiobooks!
P.S. If you need audiobook recommendations:
What Is Audible?
Audible is a monthly subscription service that offers access to a wide range of audiobooks at a reduced price which is cheaper than if you just outright bought the audiobook.
A membership with Audible gives you unlimited access to a large number of audiobooks at an inexpensive cost.
The basics are:
- If you are an avid audiobook fan, you can save money with an Audible subscription. Seriously, go look at the price of a single audiobook without a subscription. I’ll wait and be here to help you collect your jaw off the floor.
- Amazon also tries to provide you with additional incentives and bonuses in addition to saving money.
- You can sync your devices and pick up listening to a book from one to another easily. I love this feature as someone who might listen from my phone or from my computer when I work.
- There is no limit on how many times you can listen to your audiobook. It’s in your library and yours to listen to — it doesn’t get returned like a loan or anything.
How Does Audible Work?
You can get a 30-day free trial of Audible (more on that later). The membership is then determined by the plan you pick, where you live, and when you sign up (there’s sometimes specials running throughout the year).
Depending on the subscription you pick, you receive one or two free credits every month as part of the monthly fee (the Premium) or no credits but unlimited access to stream what is included in the Plus Catalog (Audible Plus).
With the credit based ones, each credit may be used to buy one audiobook for the following exchange rate: 1 credit = 1 audiobook.
The cost of an audiobook is always one credit whenever you buy it through Audible, so you’ll always pay just 1 credit for any audiobook.
So it doesn’t matter if that audiobook is only 4 hours or 23 hours long — it’s one credit. I have this habit of always trying to pick really long books to get more bang for my buck with a credit when I am deciding between audiobooks on my to-be-listened-to list.
The type of membership plans available
* prices reflect what they are at the time of writing this and are subject to change
There are a few different memberships to choose from:
- Audible Plus: $7.95/month gives you unlimited streaming access to thousands of included titles in the Plus Catalog. Think Kindle Unlimited but for audiobooks.
- Audible Premium Plus (1 credit) – $14.95/month includes access to everything in the Plus Catalog + 1 credit per month for any audiobook you want
- Audible Premium Plus (2 credits) – $22.95/month includes the Plus Catalog + 2 credits per month for any title. Once you activate your free trial of Premium Plus you will see an option to add that second credit to your plan.
The Plus Catalog has audiobooks, Audible Originals, podcasts, sleep tracks and meditations.
Listen, I am free trial queen so I’m going to say it’s never a bad idea to sign up for the free trial to try Audible out.
I mean, there is no downside. Even if you don’t want the membership, it’s like getting two audiobooks for free! Just don’t forget to cancel before the free trial is up!! Pro tip: I used to be the queen of forgetting this until I started setting reminders on my calendar for when I need to cancel so I don’t get charged.
You can even get up to three free audiobooks if there’s a special promotion in place sometimes. I always like to alert my social media followers for any special deals because it’s a great time to try out the service (or come back to it and really get more for your money).
At the end of the free trial, you’ll go onto a subscription depending on what you choose if you decide you want to subscribe.
What If You Don’t Like A Book? (The Dirt on Audible Returns)
If you don’t enjoy an audiobook you’ve downloaded, even if you finished it all the way through, you can trade it for another one.
It’s a fantastic service, but it has its limits, of course, to safeguard against people using and abusing the return policy.
As far as I can tell there are no set rules that are written anywhere. So you don’t always know if you have gone over your limits for returning books.
Instead, from what friends have told me, they just won’t allow you to return anymore. I’ve heard you can still request a return afterward but you’ll have to tussle with customer service.
I think the bottom line with that is — don’t try to scam the system. I’ve genuinely only returned one audiobook halfway through because I just couldn’t stand the narrator and needed to switch to a physical copy.
The author/publisher is really who loses if you are trying to just “get audiobooks for free.” There’s always your free library service like Libby if you want free audiobooks. Let me jump off my soapbox for now though.
What If You Want More Than Book Per Month?
If you want more than one audiobook each month, the more costly subscription plan for two audiobooks per month is available.
If it still isn’t enough (I see you, you are my people), you may get whatever audiobook you like at a 30% discount.
The 30% discount does not apply to all audiobooks, but a significant number of them. If your title is not on the list, you may wait until the month ends and snag it with your new credit. Or check the sales they run!
I also always say, for avid listeners, supplement your audiobook subscription, if you find yourself going through them faster than you can afford, with something like Libby from your library while you wait for the next month’s credit!
Amazon has long been the biggest bookseller on the planet. There title selection is vast. So vast. As long as there is an audiobook for it, Audible pretty much has it.
There are more than 425,000 audiobooks available and some of those are even Audible Exclusives that you can’t even get from your library (sad for everyone who I recommend Project Hail Mary (one of my most recommended audiobooks) to who tries to get it from their library).
It’s vast — I promise you won’t have issues finding the books you want so long as the publisher has made an audio performance of that book.
Where to Listen to Audible Books
The major benefit of audiobooks is that they allow you to better utilize your time and multitask better. As a mom, this helps me enjoy the laundry process or cleaning up at the end of the night much more. It also helps me find more time to read.
Even before I was a mom I loved the fact I got less road rage during my commute because of listening to audiobooks and it made the treadmill less of a buzzkill for me.
One of the advantages of a subscription through Audible is that you have a variety of ways of where you can listen to your Audible audiobook.
Options include on your smartphone or tablet, any Amazon Kindle device, or even via a speaker with a Bluetooth setting connected to a laptop or smartphone. (Uh this can be good or bad when your audiobook starts playing on Bluetooth and your spicy audiobook comes on).
What happens if you cancel Audible?
The procedure for cancelling your membership with Audible is simple and straightforward but there is an alternative to consider before cancelling and see what works for your situation.
Do you want to listen to your stockpile of audiobooks but don’t want to keep paying for more credits? It’s really easy to put your subscription on hold. Subscribers can put their account on hold once every 12 months, and for anything from one month to three months.
You’ll have to contact customer service, but after that, it’s pretty simple. In the meanwhile, you can still access your library and use any remaining credits.
Cancellation process: If you well and truly want to cancel, you only have to go to the site on a computer, scroll down to the Account Details page, and click Cancel membership at the bottom of the View Membership details section. After you’ve done that, you’ll receive an automated email confirming your cancellation.
When you cancel your Audible membership, what happens to your library: You don’t lose access to your audio collection when you cancel your Audible account. You’ll still be able to listen to titles you’ve stored, and the same membership-level listening experience will be available. Everything in the Plus catalog will go away though.
If you have unused credits though, use them up or you will lose them!
Starting your membership again: Simply go to your Account Details page in Audible and log back in. You may double-check that your payment information is correct and renew, and Audible will charge you monthly from the renewal date.
Now we know the basics of what Audible is, let’s take a look at some of the plus points to help you decide if it is worth it for you.
Audible is Affordable
You can buy titles from Audible or pay the monthly fee but the subscription works out as the most affordable option for most people. When you consider the cost of an audiobook then adds extra benefits such as classics for $0.99, it is a good deal.
Only use your Audible credits for audiobooks that cost more than like 15 bucks is my typical rule. If you purchase an Audible audiobook that is cheaper than that, you’re not getting the most value for money out of your credit because the credit is worth more than the audiobook.
Unlimited Streaming with the Plus Catalog
Depending on what your book taste is and how quickly you listen to audiobooks, this is such an amazing perk if you finished listening to your audio selection that you picked with your credit. Lots of books (and other things) you have access to and can listen to.
Whispersync For Voice Is Pretty Cool
My favorite Audible feature is Whispersync for Voice, a clever audio technology.
Here’s how this works:
You can start using one device, say a smartphone, to listen to an audiobook when out and about. Then when you are home and grab your Kindle, you will find you are in the same place on that device as where you stopped on the other one.
It is worth noting that the book must be on Kindle and Audible for this to work and you have to have Whispersync on both of the devices. You also need to use the same Amazon store (i.e. the US one) on both devices.
Sometimes when I’m trying to get through an extra long book or I’m late on getting through the book club book I’m reading I will do both the audiobook and either an ebook on my Kindle (or a physical copy if I already own the book) to really get through it quickly and this technology makes it really easy.
Your First Audiobook Is Free With A Premium Plus Trial
With the 30 day trial, you can get from one audiobook for free to see if you like listening to them if you haven’t tried the format before (here are my tips for getting into audiobooks if that’s the case!).
If you are a Prime member you will get any 2 titles free with an Audible Premium Plus trial.
The membership will continue afterward if you don’t stop it but doing that is easy enough through your Audible account. And you get to keep the books you downloaded.
Canceling is Quick and Easy
The cancellation process outlined above shows you that it is easy to both pause and cancel your Audible subscription. In the days of complex cancellation processes, this is a great benefit.
Most of the time, you can cancel through the account without speaking to anyone but there are real people available if you want human support as well.
It’s A Well-Oiled Machine
I mean, for better or worse depending on how you feel, Audible is part of Amazon and is the longest running audiobook subscription service. They know what they are doing and it’s easy to subscribe and use the service.
No free account
Audible is a pay-to-play game. Sure, there’s a 30-day free Audible trial to try out the service before signing up for a monthly or yearly plan, but that’s all it has for free customers.
After the trial, you may either keep your membership, not pay a monthly fee and pay full price for the books (expensive but maybe suitable if you rarely listen to audiobooks) or change to one of the other subscription plans.
The mobile app interface is annoying to use (IMO) and could be way better
In my opinion, the Audible user interface is a pain to use and the app just is a mess sometimes. The pages can be slow to load (especially if you have A LOT of audiobooks in your library) and some of the great features are hidden deep in menus or there are just things that SHOULD be easier to do in it that aren’t.
There’s just so many ways I think it could be designed better — like I could go on but this isn’t a post about my app gripes. I just think, considering who owns it, it could be WAY WAY better and should be honestly.
Overall, the interface isn’t horrible enough to be a deal-breaker but it’s worth noting.
You don’t OWN the audiobooks/not DRM-free
You don’t “own” the audiobooks from Audible even if you paid for it.
You’re actually purchasing a license to use the file. As a result, if a book is deleted from Audible, it will be removed from your cloud library and you will be unable to listen to it again, even if you paid for it.
The only exception is if you downloaded the audiobook to your device before it was removed. Audible won’t touch audiobook downloads that are already on your device, so they’re safe (as long as you don’t run out of storage space).
The other thing is they make it hard to listen to your audiobook on any other media player you want. It has to be an Amazon/Audible product or device to listen to your audiobooks though there are ways around it.
This is the biggest difference between Audible vs LibroFM which is DRM-free.
Audible is not included for free in Amazon Prime
Unfortunately, being an Amazon Prime member does not mean you are able to access Audible for free, like Amazon Prime Video. That would be nice to even get a limited bit of Audible Plus included in your Prime membership.
The primary benefit that Audible currently provides to Amazon Prime subscribers is that they receive two credits rather than one during their free trial. That’s about it.
It’s owned by Amazon (which can be a pro or con for you depending on your feelings towards Amazon)
I mean, Audible is owned by Amazon so if you are staunchly anti-Amazon or try not to buy your books from Amazon, then that is a huge con.
Luckily there is finally a worthy Audible alternative that rivals it for you!
Is Audible Worth It?
It honestly depends on you as an audiobook listener, truly!
What it comes down to is how much you listen to audiobooks and your audiobook habits.
You might be a person who only listens to them once in a while or takes quite a while to get through them because of limited audiobook time. Does paying per month for Audible Plus or Premium make sense? Add up a typical year of audiobooks for you and the cost of the services and see!
Or maybe you might not be too fussed about the waits or availability of free audiobooks through your library and don’t really care about listening to one specific audiobook when you want to listen to it (with my library app if I want to listen to a specific title I might be waiting several months for a new title and won’t be able to listen to it right then and there).
In that case maybe you don’t need the extra expense when you can get a slew of other options for free.
But if you are a heavy audiobook listener with a regular stream of full-priced books you want to listen to, then the either monthly cost can be a good option. Plus, if you do the Premium, you get the benefit of whatever is in the Plus catalog in addition to your credit.
If you are wanting to listen to the latest and greatest right away — it’s a great option versus the long waits of the library audiobooks.
If you listen to a lot of audiobooks per month and aren’t looking for a particular title and are pretty open to listening options, than maybe a Audible Plus membership would be more worth it than the Premium Plus to get a credit every month.
Those things all would factor in to your decision.
As long as you have a sense of how many audiobooks you’ll listen to and what their cost will be on a regular basis, I think you can deduce if it makes sense for you.
Within that, figuring out which membership type would further determine if it’s worth it dependent on the type of audiobook listener you are.
It’s not worth the money if you read fewer than 5-6 books per year, in my opinion. Audible also isn’t worth it if the books you pick are cheaper than your monthly membership.
I personally, as an avid audiobook listener, find an audiobook subscription to be useful and worth the money for me — in addition to using Libby because I listen to a lot of audiobooks per month. But I LOVE being able to pick the book I’m really in the mood for (typically a brand new release) and then find things available/wait for holds with Libby until my next month’s credit.
I personally don’t think I would get as much use out of just the Audible Plus membership based on what I listen to. I like to have that credit to pick what I want and just see the Plus Catalog as an amazing additional perk when there are books I want to listen to in there after I’m done with the book I used my credit on.
If, after reading that exhaustive review of Audible, you think it’s for you:
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