Some people may not particularly enjoy reading books, but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on all the potential benefits of reading.
Thankfully, we now have the option of audiobooks, which allow users to listen to their favorite books while they’re running errands or enjoying a bubble bath.
Audible, the world’s largest producer of spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, aims to satisfy our need for great books on the go—but is it worth the price?
What Is Audible?
Don Katz founded Audible in 1995 as an Amazon company. Audible is currently the largest producer and provider of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment.
And it’s not limited to audiobooks: Audible also sells audio versions of newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and TV programs.
At the time of this writing, Audible boasts more than 425,000 titles in its library. Being an Amazon company gives it a lot of edge, as it has access to nearly every book available on the planet!
The Audible library is easy to browse: you can search by category (there are currently 26), lists and collections, or featured material.
How Audible Works
If you’re a new member of Audible, you can enjoy a 30-day free trial period, during which you can download one free Audible audiobook and listen to it on multiple devices using the Audible app.
Pro Tip: One negative aspect reported by many users is that they didn’t get an email confirming whether they want to continue the account—so you’ll have to set a reminder to cancel your subscription if you wish to discontinue and avoid getting charged!
After the trial period, assuming you want to continue, you’ll be charged for a subscription service depending on the plan you want.
Each plan gives you a 30% discount on additional audiobook purchases, an exchange option, and free access to Audible original podcasts. The differences are outlined below:
- Gold Monthly: This standard plan at $14.95 per month, and gives you one Audible credit that you can use to buy an audiobook. As a subscribed member, you get one credit per month, which you may use to redeem for one book of any price.
- Gold Annual: At $149.50 per year, this plan allows you to pay for the whole year and get 12 membership credits upfront, usable in one year.
- Platinum Monthly: This monthly plan gives you two credits per month
- Platinum Annual: This gives you 24 credits a year.
- Audible Channels: This plan gives you access only to Audible original podcasts.
You also have the option of buying gift subscriptions in three-, six-, or 12-month increments.
Credits that you don’t use for the monthly plans get rolled over to the next month, but they do expire after one year.
This is one of the challenges of using Audible, so be sure to keep track of your credits so you don’t lose them on their one-year expiration date.
The Audible App
The Audible app is very user-friendly in terms of navigation. You can easily toggle between menus and pages, making access to thousands of titles so much easier. It also comes with sub-categories like Wish Lists, Pre-orders, and Browse.
The app comes with easy-to-read text, customizable toggles, and a Dark Mode for easier use at night. The site also has a standard search bar, as well as an advanced search option where you can filter your search by author, title, publisher, or narrator.
Each audiobook comes with a page with information about the author, the length of audiobook, publisher, and release date.
You’ll find a “Sample” button so you can listen to a short bit of the audiobook and decide if you like the narrator or would like to choose another narrator.
Plus, similar to Amazon, Audible’s book page also has a section on “People who bought this also bought…” which gives you recommendations of other audiobooks to try, accompanied by customer ratings based on performance and story.
You can also personalize the settings on your Audible app. For example, you can adjust your audio playback speed. Some listeners find it helps their comprehension to slow down the playback speed. Another feature you can personalize is setting an automatic sleep timer.
Is Audible Free for Prime Users?
Since Audible is an Amazon company, you might wonder if it’s free for Amazon Prime users. The good news is that a selection of audiobooks from Audible are free for Prime users, but the Audible subscription itself does not come with it.
If you are an Amazon Prime user, though, watch out for special occasions, such as Amazon Prime Day. Sometimes Prime users get a huge discount on Audible membership on these special days.
Why Is Audible So Expensive?
Audible has a lot of advantages over other subscription services, such as:
- Audible boasts of the most extensive library to choose from.
- You can share Audible books with members of your Amazon Household.
- You get an ad-free, high-quality audio file to listen to both online or offline. This helps remove all the hassle involved in finding a Wifi connection just to listen to your book.
- All Audible books come with an exchange option: if it turns out you don’t like a book you bought, you have the option of switching it for something else.
- Audible also gives you an exclusive 30% discount on additional purchases on fiction and non-fiction books on top of your monthly credit. This includes the most popular genres such as personal development, bios and memoirs, business, mysteries and thrillers, science fiction and fantasy, romance, and Audible originals.
- When you buy an audiobook through Audible, you will have that book in your library even after you cancel your subscription. For other subscription services, once you cancel, you lose your entire collection as well.
- Being an Amazon company, Audible offers 24/7 support via phone, live chat, or email.
- You can sync all your devices to Audible! This means you can continue listening on different devices and never miss your place!
- You can sync Audible to your Kindle: never miss a beat when you switch from listening to the audiobook and pick up the ebook to read it yourself. All you have to do is find the Audible companion to the Kindle book you already own.
- You can listen to audiobooks on the speed that you want; for example, some listeners go for 2X speed to go faster, while others prefer to go slower to allow for more contemplation while listening.
Although $14.95 per month might feel expensive, if you look at buying an audiobook straight from Amazon, many of them go for prices that are higher than $14.95. In that case, buying the book through Audible makes a lot of sense!
(The flip side is that buying the audiobook companion of a Kindle e-book comes with Whispersync technology, which allows you to sync your audiobook to your Kindle for seamless listening and reading. You can also do real-time highlighting, which helps to boost comprehension, retention, and engagement.)
Is an Audible Membership Worth It?
Just like a gym membership, an Audible subscription can be worth it if you actually use it. After all, you’ll get an audiobook every month for a cheaper price than what most audiobook retailers charge. If you’re unable to listen to your audiobooks now, you can store them in your library and listen to them later.
But, if you don’t spend the monthly credit and end up forgetting it, you may reach a point when the credits expire (after a year), and that would translate into a lot of money just going down the drain.
Audible is best for those who can listen to one or two books per month. If you go more than that, it might end up being a bit on the costlier side, since Audible doesn’t allow you to buy additional credits. Instead, you have to buy the next book at the 30% discount rate.
Check your own reading or listening preferences, and if you feel like an Audible membership is worth it, take the plunge!
What’s the first audiobook you would download with an Audible subscription? Share it with us in the comments below!