Do you wonder if listening to audio books through Audible is worth it?
A couple of years ago, I questioned the value of audio books.
Well, listening to an audio book on a device felt like cheating on a real book.
I was also skeptical about being able to get into something that an actor narrates. I saw audio books as expensive distractions from the written word.
How wrong I was.
A little while ago, I took out a 30-day Audible trial and I picked my first free book to give this service a try.
I haven't looked back.
Audible is an Amazon company that produces and sells hundreds of thousands of popular audio books and Audible Original titles.
In this 2019 Audible review, I will explain how much it costs and explain if an Audible membership is worth it.
How Does Audible Work?
First, you take out a free trial of Audible and get a free audiobook. This could be one of the classics or even an Audible originals.
At the end of your trial, you can buy a monthly subscription of Audible. You need to sign up for the membership using your Amazon account.
Each month, Audible awards you with one credit. You can use this credit to purchase Audible audio books in different categories including technology, fashion, romance, social media, ads, etc.
If you want to buy more books, you can buy more Audible credits or pay per audio book.
Interestingly, a member can download two of six Audible Originals on the first Friday of every month. They do not cost any credits. You can keep these Audible Originals forever.
You own all Audible audio books in your library even if you cancel your subscription.
You can listen to Audible audio books anywhere using apps for your phone, Windows or Mac computer or Alexa device.
You can get Audible for a 30 day free trial and claim one free audiobook. You need to add credit card details to start the free trial though.
After your Audible 30-day trial expires, it costs $14.95 per month, but you can cancel your subscription at anytime.
For your monthly subscription fee, you get one credit a month that you can use to buy and keep any audio book. This is the gold monthly plan.
If you opt for the gold annual plan, you pay $149.50 per year, for which you get 12 credits per year.
A platinum monthly subscription fee is $22.95 per month which gets you 2 credits per month, while you pay $229.50 per year for the Platinum annual plan that comes with 24 credits. The Audible Channels plan costs $4.95 per month with no credits.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, however, you can use Audible for no extra cost. The limit when using Amazon Prime membership to access your Audible account is that you get access to a rotating collection of 50+ books.
You can also buy additional Audible credits each month.
How to Save Money on Audible
If you’re a member of Audible and spend your credits each month, you will save money on audio books quite quickly.
You can buy individual audio books which costs anywhere between $10 and $25. For example, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson is currently an Audible best-seller, and it costs $23.95, at the time of writing.
However, a credit costs approximately $14.95.
That means you can save $9.
Similarly, if you plan on listening to more than one audio book, a monthly subscription of this audiobook service is more cost-effective.
Audible also offers member-only deals whereby you can save up to 60% on the cost of an audio book.
In the past, I also bought individual audio book off the Apple iTunes store.
This worked out fine at the time, but if you listen to at least one audio book a month it's cheaper to take out a subscription. For example, that same Mark Manson audio book costs $22.95 on iTunes at the time of writing this Audible review.
Here are 7 reasons why I love Audible:
1. You Can Read More Great Books, More Often
The Audible app is available on phones, tablets and desktops. You can download Audible for both your android and iOS devices.
I use this app mostly on my Apple iPhone, and because my phone is always with me, I can listen to Audible audio books while commuting, during my gym session or when out for a run. More recently, I've started listening to Audible audiobooks using Alexa.
In other words, I can read and do something else at the same time. The Audible app makes it easier for me to spend more time reading and finishing great titles.
Even if you have an Android smartphone or tablet, the Audible app works smoothly.
I particularly like that you can slow down or speed up the play-speed of each audio book. For readers (or listeners) who want to immerse themselves in a story when listening to audiobooks, this is a welcome feature.
Typically, I listen to my audio books at 1.25 times the normal playback speed. Any faster overwhelms me, but if you want to, you can listen to Audible audio books three times faster than normal.
2. Audible is Affordable
So, how much is Audible?
Well, you can buy titles individually on Audible or pay a monthly fee. As I'm based in Ireland, I pay Audible just over EUR10 each month for a credit. I can use this credit to buy any audio book on Audible.
Typically, it works out cheaper for me to buy membership credits as some audiobooks cost upwards of EUR20/USD20. Audible also regularly offer promotions and deals for members (who pay a recurring membership fee) whereby you can pick up classics for as little as 99 cents.
Tip: Only use your Audible credits for books that have a list of price of more than EUR10/USD15. If you use your credits to buy an Audible audio story costing less than EUR10/USD15, you're not getting the most value for money as your credit is worth more than the audiobook.
3. Whispersync For Voice Rocks
My favourite Audible feature is a clever technology known as Whispersync For Voice.
Here's how this works:
I use Audible for listening to audiobooks while out for a walk or run using the iPhone app.
Later that night when I pick up my Kindle Fire, it automatically finds my place in the book in question so I can continue reading.
Then, the next morning when I open Audible before my commute, it resumes narrating from where I stopped reading on my Kindle Fire the night before. I love Audible for this seemingly simple, yet awesome feature.
There are a few caveats.
Firstly, the book must be available on Kindle and Audible.
Secondly, I have to buy both versions to use Whispersync. (If this puts you off, Audible offers generous discounts for buying the audio versions of your Kindle books.)
Thirdly, both your Amazon account and Audible account must be in the same region e.g. Whispersync won't work if you buy a book off the UK Amazon store and an audiobook off the US Audible store..
4. Your First Audiobook Is Free
If you're unsure about an Amazon Audible membership, you can subscribe to the service for the 30 day free trial and get one free audiobook.
This is what I did before taking out a recurring subscription which would involve paying a monthly fee. (Don't worry, it's easy to cancel your membership if you don't like it.)
I browsed the audiobook user reviews and downloaded the audio version of Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk and Accidental Genius by Mark Levy for free. Then, I spent the next 30 days listening to these books to figure out if this audiobook service was worth it.
Like Grammarly, if you don't like the audiobook service, after 30 days you can cancel your membership and keep your free audiobook. There is no need to pay any membership fee to experience the service.
5. Don't Like Your Audiobook? Audible Will Refund You
If you're wondering, can Audible books be returned, the answer is yes!
A while ago, I contacted Audible about a technical problem I was having with my device.
While chatting to an Audible rep, I mentioned I didn't like an audiobook I'd bought a few months previously. Audible refunded me the cost of the book, no questions asked. The rep explained Audible has a Great Listens Guarantee whereby they will return any book you bought over the past 365 days if you don't like it.
6. You Can Listen to Top Authors Narrate Their Books
There are over 200,000 audiobooks on Audible, many of which are classics or bestsellers.
Recently, I've listened to the audiobooks Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and On Writing by Stephen King. These are just two examples of where the author in question is also the narrator of his or her book.
Whereas before I was skeptical reading this way, now I believe there's something intimate about having the author of a book read it to you the way he or she intends.
In other cases, professional actors narrate popular books and classics. One particular standout is Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Kenneth Branagh's is the narrator of this book. His interpretation of Conrad's classic sent shivers up my spine.
7. You Can Cancel At Anytime
Before updating this Audible review, I cancelled my Audible.co.uk subscription and took out an Audible.com (US) subscription.
I did this because I buy Kindle books off the US store and Whispersync only works if buy both the book and audiobook from the same regional Amazon and Audible stores.
When I contacted the UK Audible support to cancel, they said I could pause my subscription for several months. I explained my situation. They said not to worry and that “Audible books are yours to keep” even after cancelling.
Today, I subscribe to Audible.com.
So, Is Audible Worth It?
Paying a monthly fee to get Audible membership is worth it if you listen to audio on the go and love reading.
I often buy the ebook and audiobook, a habit that proves expensive, but I like having versions I can annotate and highlight. For me, it simplifies reading and writing. You can mark your place in an audiobook and make notes using the Audible app.
However, this isn't as efficient as having a copy of the book that you can flick through on a screen or a tablet.
I also haven't found a way of lending audiobooks to friends or colleagues and the audiobook recommendation system in the app isn't as developed as the one on the Amazon.
I've been an Audible subscriber since 2014. I've listened to dozens of fiction and non-fiction books over the past years on Audible using my Apple iPhone.
Audible is my favourite way of making the most of my time while commuting, exercising and travelling. If you want to take out an Audible 30-day trial, you get a free book.
Just three of my favourite audiobooks are:
- Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Just Kids by Patti Smith
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Want more recommendations after reading my Audible review?
Get this list of great audiobooks
Common Questions About Audible
Where are my audiobooks stored?
Audible stores your books in the cloud. You can download them to your mobile or computer and listen to them while offline.
Can I have multiple users on one account? Can my family use it?
You can activate three Audible mobile apps at once. So in theory, you could use one device while a family member uses a second.
How many free books do I get when I sign up?
At time of writing, one
Can I give Audible as a gift for the year?
Yes. You can give Audible as a gift for one, three, six or 12 months via the gift membership section of their site.
Can you exchange a free credit book after reading it for another?
Audible has a great listens guarantee. If you don’t like the book, you can return it and get your credit back. I returned two books without issue.
Do the credits accumulate?
Yes, I had five credits in my account at one point. However, you can’t have more than six.
Are the audible books cheaper than the hard copies or other copies?
For the most part, yes. At time of writing, the audiobook of Michelle Obama’s Becoming costs $35.71 to buy, while the hardback costs $17.24. However, an Audible subscription costs $14.99 for one month meaning you can buy it at a discount.
Can I listen to a book more than once?
Yes, once you buy a book, you can re-download and re-listen to it at any time.
Do you have more questions about this 2019 Audible review? Ask me below.
You'll love this great audio books
Audible Review Summary
- Selection of books
Audible is a great service for heavy readers. The wide selection of books and affordable pricing will help you read more while spending less.
Affordable for heavy readers Great selection of audiobooks Good refund policy
Whispersync is region-specific