Is Audible Worth It? Why I Use It and Love It Every Day

Audible Review blog
Audible Review Updated: August 10, 2018

Do you want to find time to read more often?

Or do you want to know: is Audible worth it?

Audible is an Amazon company that produces and sells hundreds of thousands of popular audiobooks.

A couple of years ago, I questioned the value of audiobooks.

Why?

Well, listening to an audiobook felt like cheating on a real book.

I was also skeptical about being able to get into something that an actor narrates. I saw audiobooks as expensive distractions from the written word.

How wrong I was.

I took out a 30-day Audible trial and I picked my free book and gave this service a try.

I haven't looked back.

In this 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. At the end of your trial, you can buy a monthly subscription of Audible.

Each month, Audible awards you with one credit. Then, you can use this credit to purchase audiobooks. If you want to buy more books, you can buy more credits or pay per audiobook.

You own your audiobooks even if you cancel your subscription. You can listen to your audiobooks anywhere using apps for your phone, Windows or Mac computer or Alexa device.

Audible Pricing

You can try Audible free for 30 days and claim one free audiobook.

After your Audible free trial expires, it costs $14.95 per month, but you can cancel your subscription at anytime. For this price, you get one credit a month that you can use to buy and keep any audiobook. You can also buy additional credits each month.

Alternatively, you can buy individual audiobooks 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 $15.59, at time of writing (August 2018).

Therefore, if you plan on listening to more than one audiobook, a monthly Audible subscription is more cost-effective. Audible also offer member-only deals whereby you can save up to 60% on the cost of an audiobook.

In the past, I also bought individual audiobook off the iTunes store.

This worked out fine at the time, but if you listen to at least one audiobook a month it's cheaper to take out a subscription. For example, that same Mark Manson audiobook costs $22.95 on iTunes at time of writing this Audible review.

1. You Can Read More Great Books, More Often

The Audible app is available on phones, tablets and desktops. I use this app mostly on my iPhone, and because my phone is always with me, I can listen to audiobooks while commuting, in the gym or out for a run. More recently, I've started listening to Audible audiobooks using an Alexa.

Audible books
My Audible library

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 books.

I particularly like that you can slow down or speed up the play-speed of each audiobook. Typically, I listen to my audiobooks at 1.25 times the normal playback speed. Any faster overwhelms me, but if you want to, you can listen to your audiobook three times faster than normal.

2. Audible is Affordable

So, how much is Audible?

Well, you can buy audiobooks individually on Audible or pay a monthly subscription. 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 audiobook 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 whereby you can pick up classics for as little as 99 cents.

Tip: Only use your credits for books that have a list of price of more than EUR10/USD15. If you use your credits to buy an audio book 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 to listen to an audiobook while out for a walk or run using the iPhone app.

Later that night when I pick up my Kindle, 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 the night before. Awesome!

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 audio companions to your Kindle books.)

Thirdly, both your Amazon and Audible accounts 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 30 days and get one free audiobook.

This is what I did before taking out a recurring subscription. (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 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 Audible was worth it.

If you don't like the service, after 30 days you can cancel and keep your free audiobook.

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

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 narrates 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 Kenneth Branagh's narration of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. His interpretation of Conrad's classic sent shivers up my spine.

7. You Can Cancel At Anytime

Still writing 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?

A monthly 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 mobile.

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 trial, you get a free book.

Just three of my favourite audiobooks are:


Want more recommendations after reading my Audible review?
Get this list of great audiobooks


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Audible Review Summary
  • Price
  • Selection of books
  • Features
4.83

TL;DR

Audible is a great service for heavy readers. The wide selection of books and affordable pricing will help you read more while spending less.

Pros

Affordable for heavy readers

Great selection of audiobooks

Good refund policy

Cons

Whispersync is region-specific

33 thoughts on “Is Audible Worth It? Why I Use It and Love It Every Day”

  1. Hey Bryan, you’ve convinced me to give audiobooks a try. I use Scribd, the ‘Netflix for books’ service. All you can read for $8.99 a month. This includes lots of free audiobooks, plus one credit for a ‘premium’ audiobook, every month. Which I’ve never used.

    However – I’ve been thinking about trying audiobooks to give my eyes a break, and also I’ve noticed there are several books I want which are on Scribd ONLY as audiobooks, so if I want to read them I need to listen to them. Maybe this will help me get through more books like you do with Audible.

    1. Glad to hear it Emily. I love audiobooks, I was talking to friend recently about how they are a great way to read more books, more often – hence the post. I haven’t used Scribd myself but go with what works for you!

  2. I love audible, have been a convert for a good few years now. Would love to know what favourites people have? I’ve found that the narration can make a huge difference. Mine are the Rivers of London books, The Woodcutter by Reginald Hill (amazing!), Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, and more recently the Kevin Herne Iron Druid series. Oh, and the Terry Pratchetts read by Stephen Briggs.

  3. Hello Collins.
    This is really a great overview on the importance of Audible. I’ve heard about it in the past but never took the time to really check it out.

    However, i also love listening to audio books and will have to look more into Audible.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Bryan. Audiobooks are a must for me. Rather than sitting down to read a book (which I still enjoy sometimes), I can be out and about and active while learning. There are times when I am distracted and miss some parts of an audiobook but I usually catch the most important parts. If needed, I can go back or I can listen to the book again whenever I want a refresher.

  5. Thanks for the awesome review Bryan. I’ve been on the fence for a while about Audible. After reading this, I think I’ll go ahead and give it a shot 😉

  6. Thanx, Bryan…! Very informative. I’m a Scotsman living in LA and two of my best friends are Irish boys…high quality brothers (one a renowned cardiologist). Shall become an AUDIBLE participant…especially having read your breakdown. Best wishes and much success to you. James McLachlan

  7. This says you get two free books from the beginning but I only got one! Any update on the number of books you get or if this is a glitch?

  8. Thank you so much for the very helpful review and tips. I’ve been wanting to give audiobooks a try since forever and now I’m certainly convinced. Btw, Amazon.ca gives a 90-day free trial, which is great.

  9. A few other benefits of Audible I haven’t seen mentioned. 1. Deal of the Day. Every day, Audible sends an email out with an offer (usually $2.95-$4.95) for an audio book. I’ve gotten many excellent “extra” books this way–at least 12 per year. The true cost, then, for me is about $8.00 per audio book. 2. Regular sales on audio books. Two books for one credit is quite common. 3. Some freebies–short stories, podcasts 4. Easy to share in family. My wife downloaded Audible app to her phone, logs in with my password, and she can listen as well. 5. You get the audiobooks the day they are released. I use my local library for audiobooks as well, but anything new and popular has a long waiting list. Audible has a wait time of about 10 seconds.

    BTW–I generally hate all “club” memberships figuring they’re a scam. Audible is the one exception

  10. Hello Bryan,

    This is incredibly amazing. So this is what I have been missing without even knowing it. I know Audible and even have an account with them but I haven’t taken time to check some of these things you listed here.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Emenike

  11. Audible has “dumbed down” their software, replacing useful information — especially about either existing or potential links between your audiobooks and Kindle books — with completely unnecessary big pictures of the books’ covers. As if we don’t know how to read a list of books and need a picture. What? Does Audible think its listeners are children? Incredibly annoyed and will be leaving feedback everywhere I can find on the internet.

  12. Suzin Blankenship

    Thanks for this information. I LOVE audiobooks and have been wondering about audible for awhile now. I typically get my books from the library, but run into the issue of either they don’t have all the books in a series in audible form or have to wait for a book to become available.

    I do have a few questions, firstly can you save up your monthly credits and secondly where are the books saved (i.e. on your device, in the cloud, on the website)? Thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Yes indeed you can. I stocked up 5 or 6 credits at one point. They expire after a year or so if I remember correctly. This never happened to me.

  13. Honestly, this sounds like a horrible deal. I Just read two books in 4 days. This does me no good at roughly $15 a a month for only one book? Why isnt it like spotify where you get unlimited access to books and media? I am a bit outraged at the price. I can go to a library to rent a book/audiobook or buy a book at an equal or lesser value. I could go through an audiobook fast. Unlimited access as a subscriber and i’m sold. I pay less than this for all my media combined.

  14. Bryan, I am bored out of my mind at work and therefore have at times weeks that I have to fill 6-hours a day. I have been reading on my kindle but thinking audible might be less expensive? So my question is how long does the average book take to get through in hours and would you be able to use the credit to get a bunch of 99 cent books? I really need to fill time with an engaging task so I won’t go insane.

    1. It takes about 5 hours to listen to the average audiobook. You can adjust the playback speed to get through them faster. I don’t recommend using your credit for 99c cent books as the credit costs about USD15.

  15. Newbie here – So please excuse kindergarten level questions! I apparently looked into Audible in January and signed up for the free trial. Never used it and am just now seeing that I’ve been charged $16.13/mo. Not mad, actually have been rather curious about Audible again recently. Researching EXACTLY how it works and I don’t see explanations. Are the books stored on my device (phone, computer) or are the retrieved when I want to listen? If the first, I worry about subscription causing memory issues 🙁 ~Digital Immigrant in this digital world 🙁

    1. Hi Katerina,
      Sorry if the review wasn’t clear…

      Basically, you can download the audiobook to your phone or computer listen to it offline. Your library of audiobooks is always available in the cloud (Amazon’s servers) so you can download them to any device too. You can access your library from your phone, many Amazon devices and computer. It works a lot like Spotify or Google Pay.

  16. Well I thought , you pay for the subscription and be able to listen to any book online free for 30days. Then buy one with the credit. Guess I’m crazy cheap.

  17. MARIE-EVE BELANGER

    I would also add that Netflix and most monthly subscription based apps are a problem for cultural industries nowadays because creators get pennies for work they have done for years and obliged big ressources. So why would they continue?

    For example, just for Netflix, I must watch dozens episodes and 1 or 2 movies a month for which I pay 11$ (Ca). It’s easy to calculate that the money they receive from me is not the actual worth of their work, even if we are hundreds to watch it. It applies to Spotify too.

    Therefore, during my binge watching/listening, I do not support my local artists and if I think about all the monthly subscriptions I pay for different types of content, I don’t really have money left for cultural activites that are not on those online platforms.

    I may be wrong here but I think we must show respect to the creators we buy from. . Artists have been trying to share their worries about it since the beginning and I think we should stop and think about it for a second.

  18. I have been using Audible for many years now. It’s recommendable for those who needed valuable audiobook. You are right, an audiobook is very reliable for all. Most people happen to use audiobook for convenience than reading books.

  19. Just know about Audibles 2 gotchas. You can only pause your account once a year. Unlimited pausing is just common sense. And 2, you lose any credits you have stored up when canceling, if you don’t want them to keep stacking 15 dollar credits up forever. I will buy a credit and cancel right after using it for every audiobook I want that would otherwise cost over 15 dollars, lower priced audiobooks can just be bought normally.

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