Audible vs Apple Books Review: Which is Best?

Both Apple Books and Amazon Audible are front runners in the world of audiobooks, but which is better? This article examines features of Audible Vs Apple Books.

The technological revolution we’re currently experience is changing every aspect of our lives, including simple acts like reading. 

While some people love physically holding a good old-fashioned book in their hands and smelling that distinctive book smell, it’s not always possible to have one with you–sometimes lugging a book around just isn’t doable. Going out for a walk or run, heading out on a long drive, or lazing around a pool may mean a book isn’t easy to use.

That’s where an audiobook service can come in. They are becoming more and more popular as people realize how easy they make reading when you are on the go.

They are efficient and convenient–you can plug headphones into a small tablet or even your phone and listen anywhere. You can also take an entire library of books with you in one small device.

Now that audiobooks are so popular, there is a multitude of companies to choose from. However, the two biggest and most popular right now are Apple Books and Amazon Audible.

The ebook options in their libraries are equally expansive and can offer almost anything a reader could want. So which one should you choose?

Here I’ll give you a review of each service, some pros and cons, and hopefully enough information that will allow you to make the best choice for your particular reading needs.


Audible Vs Apple Books Review

Audible is one of the biggest audiobook producers and sellers on the planet, with more than 450,000 titles available. It is a subsidiary of Amazon, so it has lots of tech and money behind it and has the largest library of audiobooks in the world. Its depth of product and flexibility for streaming is impressive.

Audible Features

There is no other audiobook company that can touch Audible’s library size. It is well-established as the largest audiobook library on the internet and continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Features available in Audible include:

Compatibility with a wide range of devices. Almost any device can become an audiobook player once you’ve finished downloading the Audible app. Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows, Amazon Alexa, and Google Play are all compatible and will work seamlessly with each other.

Automatic syncing between devices. One of the best things about this compatibility is that your Audible books are always synced between your devices. You’ll never find yourself starting up the playback only to spend 10 minutes trying to fast-forward to where you stopped.

Audible can easily be accessed on just about any device

Free books every month. As part of your monthly subscription, there is a regularly rotating selection of free books you can download. I check them at least once a month in case there’s something there I just have to read. You also get credits each month you can use to purchase even more books.

Whispersync. Audible offers this additional program that lets you move seamlessly between regular e-reading and audio narration. You buy a regular book, and if it’s Whispersync enabled, you can add the audiobook to it for a reduced price. It will keep track of your place in both the page and voice version, and you can switch back and forth between reading and listening as you please.

A generous return policy. They have an amazing return policy! You can return any book purchased through them within 365 days. They do pay attention to your e-reader usage to prevent abuse of this feature–if you make a habit of listening to entire books and then returning them, they’ll notice–but they make it super simple to return a book if you simply don’t like it or find it’s not what you were looking for.

Audible has a reasonably priced subscription service. First, a listener can get 30 days free to try it along with a free audiobook. The free trial offers access to their entire library including books, podcasts, guided sleep recordings, and even Audible Originals, which are theatrical recordings with actors made specifically for Amazon.

Apple Books

Apple separated itself from the iTunes Music Store in 2015 when it moved to its own iBooks app under the release of iOS 8.4. Following that, in 2018, iBooks was rebranded as Apple Books.

The change to being a stand-alone app means that listeners can organize their books and not have to worry about chapters playing while shuffling music, as happened when music and books were together.

Apple Books Features

Apple, like Audible, has a substantial library. There are a huge number of selections and popular titles and lots of new and up-and-coming authors as well as free, public domain works like the ancient and classical writings found on Project Gutenberg.

Apple Books
Apple Books has fewer of the latest bestsellers available than Audible but does have a much wider selection of classic novels in audiobook format for free or just a few dollars

Some of Apple Books Features include:

The sleep timer. This is its greatest feature in my opinion; it allows the listener to set a time for the book to stop playing automatically. This is a real bonus if you are notorious for falling asleep while reading or if listening to a story soothes you to sleep.

A 5-minute preview. Apple Books has a really nice, lengthy preview. You can listen to 5 full minutes of a book to see if it catches your attention before purchasing.

A great selection of audiobook titles. It has fewer audiobook titles than Audible does, but also has a greater selection of high-quality, hard-to-find audiobooks than Amazon.

It’s limited to Apple devices. Apple Books can only be used on macOS devices such as the Apple Watch, iPhone, Ipad, or Mac laptops, and all books have to be purchased through the Apple books app store. There is no way to transfer books purchased through Apple onto a non-Apple device like a kindle, an Android phone, or a PC laptop.

An easy-to-use app. Purchasing anything through the Apple store is designed to be user-friendly and as smooth an experience as they can possibly make it. You can easily search their entire library on your smallest devices, and buy books with just a few swipes using your Apple account. Even works in the public domain are easily downloaded through the app store.

No monthly subscription fee. Because Apple Books has no monthly subscription fees, their books cost more individually than books at Amazon do. They also don’t have a rotating selection of free audiobooks because of this pricing structure. The upside is that you don’t need to pay monthly–only when you want a specific book.

Audible Vs. Apple Books: A Comparison

The most obvious comparison has to come from the platform where the books can be listened to. While Audible can be played on many different platforms, Apple Books is limited to Apple products. This makes it inconvenient if you need to use a non-apple product to listen to your audiobook.

I like to hook my Android phone up to the audio system in my car, and stream books while driving. I live out in a rural area, so it’s a half-hour drive just to get to the store. Audible‘s sync feature makes this so convenient! I can listen to part of a book on my drive there and back, and then fire it up again on my MacBook later that evening after dinner, and it will automatically start right where I left off.

Product pricing is the next significant difference. Audible has a monthly subscription model which costs $14.95 per month, which includes a selection of free books every month as well as credits toward purchasing other books.

Apple doesn’t have a monthly subscription fee, they charge per book. Book prices can range from a few bucks for older novels to $30 for the latest bestsellers.

Apple book example
Greenlights, the memoir by Matthew McConaughey, is $14.99 on the Apple Books app store

The better choice is going to be based on how much you listen to books. If it’s a lot, then a subscription is the way to go but if it is just a few books a month, then perhaps the per-book price might be better.

Comparing by selection puts Audible out ahead. Its library is outstanding and it covers every genre in-depth and offers both current and classic authors. The topics are extensive, and best-sellers are easy to find.

Overall, Audible is a good option if you have to make a hard and fast choice. It holds more than a quarter of all audiobook sales in the industry topping Apple Books significantly. However, pricing and platform use will play into your decision as well, so it is wise to consider the other options out there before making your choice.

If you own a Kindle e-reader, you read regularly, and you like to buy a lot of new books through Amazon, the monthly fee will probably be the most economical to you.

If you are someone who prefers to use nothing but Apple devices, Apple Books makes it incredibly simple to keep all your media content in one place and available across every device you own, offline or on.

And finally, if you dislike giving your hard-earned money to large tech corporations like Amazon or Apple, try looking into smaller subscription services like Scribd, Downpour, or the Libby app.

Audible Vs Apple Audiobooks: The Final Word

So there you have it, Audible vs. Apple Books, and the main differences between both. Which is the best audiobook service for you?

The final decision will come down to the files you want to download, availability, and payment. Both Apple Books and Audible have excellent DRM protection, so the security of your devices and their copyrighted content is not something you need to worry about.

You can try a DRM converter for audiobooks, which removes that issue for either brand. The other option is to go with both Apple Books and Audible. While you will pay a subscription fee for Audible, buying one-off books can help when you want something special and can only find it in Apple Books.

It will cost you a bit more to do this, but you won’t be locked into having two subscriptions to get the books you want. You will have double the options without paying double the monthly price.

I personally use both on my Macbook. However, I rarely make purchases through Apple Books–my favorite thing about it is the ability to listen to classic works of literature for free, sometimes with very recognizable voices. These are great to listen to at night before I fall asleep.

When I want a newly published work or something I know I want to listen to on a long drive, I purchase it through Audible, because I have an Android phone and am easily able to stream it through my car’s speakers with their app.

The trick to finding audiobooks simple and enjoyable is to find out which app is most useful to you and focus on getting your books through it. If you’re really into reading (as many writers are) you may use both for different reasons like I do, but when in doubt, I recommend picking one and sticking to it.

Whichever one you pick, audiobooks are a wonderful way to increase how many books you read!

FAQs on Audible Vs Apple Books Review

If I Cancel My Audible Subscription, Can I Still Listen To The Books I’ve Previously Purchased?

Yes, once you’ve purchased Audible audiobooks, they remain yours forever, even if you stop paying your monthly subscription.

Is It Difficult To Cancel An Audible Subscription?

No, it’s really simple. You can do it completely online; you don’t need to call and speak to anybody to get the monthly charge to stop.

Is Audible Free With A Subscription To Amazon Prime?

No, it’s not free, but you do get extra perks if you’re a Prime member as well, like 2 free books instead of one when you sign up.

Why Are Audiobooks So Expensive Compared To Traditional Print Ones?

Audiobooks aren’t cheap to make. They tend to have high production values and often use well-known narrators such as celebrities. They’re also really long! One book can take hours and hours to listen to all the way through, while a series can sometimes take days.

Can I Put Apple Books On A Kindle Or Vice Versa?

Unfortunately, you can’t transfer Apple books to a Kindle, you need an Apple-branded product to access it. However, you can download the Kindle app onto a Mac device and access your Amazon-purchased books that way. This includes both print and audiobooks you’ve purchased.

Where Do The Services Store My Audiobooks?

Both companies store your books on their cloud servers. This allows you to download the books you’ve purchased to every device you own separately, without technical issues, and lets you access them even when you’re offline.


  • A E Inman is a direct response copywriter and humor blogger. When she's not poking fun at her attempts to start a writing business, she can be found in the tea aisle of her local import store, arguing with strangers over the merits of rare tea varietals. She enjoys writing copy while consuming copious amounts of coffee and gunpowder tea.