Have you ever wondered, “Is Audible worth it?” In this post, we’ll break down the pros and cons of the two Audible subscription options. Then we’ll help you decide if Audible is right for you based on your reading habits.
Angela discovered audiobooks 10 years ago, right after her first son was born. She was looking for a way to keep up with her book club, and loved the ability to listen during late-night feedings without risking dropping a book on her sweet baby’s head (moms, you get it!).
She joined Audible and only years later discovered that she could also listen to audiobooks through her local library. Recently she sat down to analyze whether she should renew her Audible membership.
Is Audible Worth It?
We’ll start with a few basics, compare the Audible Plus vs Premium memberships, and then address how to use audible and answer other frequently asked questions.
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Audible vs. Audiobooks
Audible is a platform via which you can listen to audiobooks. The Audible app itself is free. You can download it on iOS and Android devices, as well as Windows 10 and Fire Tablets. As discussed throughout this post, there are two Audible memberships available – Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus. These memberships allow you to borrow and purchase audiobooks that you then download and listen to using the Audible app.
There are numerous other platforms for purchasing and listening to audiobooks. Audiobooks can also be borrowed from most public libraries. We plan to do a comparison of other options for audiobook listening in the near future.
Audible is Owned By Amazon
Depending on your views, this can be a pro or a con. We love supporting our local bookstores when purchasing paper books, and there are other audiobook platforms available that benefit independent bookstores. On the other hand, Audible’s connection to Amazon guarantees a virtually unlimited selection of audiobooks, including a fairly extensive collection of Audible Originals (audiobooks produced by Audible that are not available anywhere else). If you don’t have an Amazon account, you’ll need to sign up for one in order to use Audible.
How Much Does Audible Cost?
The lower-priced Audible Plus membership level allows you to borrow an unlimited number of audiobooks from the Plus Catalog.
The Plus Catalog has a large selection of books, but you won’t find many new releases or best sellers here. You can try Audible Plus free for the first 30 days. Just be sure to cancel it if you don’t want to be charged the next month.
Audible Premium Plus
An Audible Premium Plus membership also includes the ability to borrow an unlimited number of books from the Plus Catalog. Additionally, you get one credit each month to purchase any audiobook (including all of the new releases and best sellers). Unused credits roll over from month to month. There’s no requirement to redeem a credit every month. However, each credit expires one year after it was purchased, so don’t wait too long.
With an Audible Premium Plus membership, you can purchase additional audiobook titles at 30% off. Members also receive access to special sales throughout the year.
Get a 30-day free trial when you use this link to sign up for an Audible Premium Plus membership. Prime members receive a bonus credit as part of the free trial. You can always cancel any time.
So, Is Audible Worth It For You?
Now that you know what an Audible membership costs, the question remains, is an Audible subscription worth it? The answer, of course, is that it depends.
Angela listens to 6 to 8 audiobooks each month. While she can find most of the titles she wants from her library, there are some titles it doesn’t have. There are also times when the library hold list is much longer than she wants to wait. For these reasons, Audible Premium Plus – with one monthly credit for any title she wants – is a perfect fit.
But let’s help you decide if either Audible plan is right for you.
For most people, we think that the Premium Plus membership makes the most sense because you aren’t limited to borrowing the titles in the free Plus Catalog. While there are some great Plus titles available, we tend to view those titles as more of an added bonus.
You can browse all the Plus titles here (including lots of Audible Originals, which are the audiobooks exclusive to Audible). Scroll down and click the box on the left side menu to filter to just those books included in the Plus Catalog. Then, use the other filter options to browse by genre within the Plus Catalog. If you find a lot of Plus titles that interest you, the less expensive Audible Plus membership may be a good fit.
How to Decide if Audible Premium Plus is Right For You
We’ve come up with some questions about your reading habits and preferences to help you decide if Audible Premium Plus is worth it.
Do you like to read new releases and popular titles?
If you like to read popular titles as soon as they are published, then Audible Premium Plus is a good fit for you. We are huge advocates of borrowing audiobooks from our local libraries. However, when it comes to new releases, the waitlist can often be many months long. Angela uses the library as much as possible, but reserves her Audible credits for new releases or other specific audiobook titles that she doesn’t want to wait on.
Do you belong to a book club?
If you belong to a book club, then you typically need a specific book by a specific deadline. Oftentimes, book club selections are popular titles with long library waitlists. Audible Premium Plus allows you to use your monthly credits to get your book club titles timely.
How quickly do you read/listen to books?
Angela’s library allows her to check our audiobooks for 21 days. Sadly, Melissa’s library only loans audiobook downloads for 7 days. Life is busy, and that time flies by very quickly. If you don’t like feeling pressured to listen to a book on a deadline, Audible takes the stress away.
Books borrowed from the Audible Plus catalog are yours to keep as long as your Audible membership is active. The titles purchased with your monthly Audible Premium Plus credits, on the other hand, are yours to keep forever.
Even if you cancel your Audible membership, the titles you’ve purchased will remain in your Audible app. This allows you to listen to them at your own pace and listen again in the future. You can also share them with others in your family using Family Library Sharing (more on this below).
Are you participating in any of our reading challenges?
IfIf you are participating in any of the three reading challenges that we host – the Lifetime of Reading Challenge, the Book Voyage Challenge, or the Decades Reading Challenge – then you know that we work hard to include a wide variety of titles on our recommended reading lists. We try to ensure that at least a portion of the books on our lists are available via public libraries. However, some titles on our lists can be hard to find at libraries because they are older or lesser-known.
We know it’s frustrating when titles catch your eye, only to discover that they aren’t available at your library. That’s where Audible Premium Plus credits can help fill the gaps! Of course, there may be obscure titles that aren’t recorded in audiobook format. However, if an audio recording of a book exists, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll find it via Audible.
How Does Audible Work?
Audible is owned by Amazon, so you’ll need an Amazon account. In order to listen to audiobooks with Audible, download the Audible app to your smartphone or tablet, or both. You can access your account from multiple devices.
Each audiobook you borrow from the Plus Catalog or Kindle Unlimited and those you purchase will show up in your Audible Library. To listen to an audiobook in your Audible library, tap the three dots to the right of the title. Then, select “download” to download the book to your phone/tablet. Once the audiobook downloads, you’ll be able to listen offline. You can also listen to and control audiobooks via your Apple Watch and Amazon Alexa devices (more on that below).
When you finish listening to a book, you can delete it from your device. Downloaded audiobooks, on average, take up about 150 MB of storage space. Even after deleting an audiobook file, it remains in your Audible library, where you can download it again in the future.
Are There Free Books on Audible?
Yes, both levels of Audible memberships include unlimited, free access to borrow any of the titles in the extensive Plus Catalog. New books are being added to this catalog all the time. You can browse all the Plus titles here (including many Audible Originals). Scroll down and click the box on the left side menu to filter to just those books included in the Plus Catalog. Then use the other filter options to browse by genre within the Plus Catalog.
Additionally, if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership, you’ll also have access to another large library of free audiobooks. Many, but not all, of the Kindle Unlimited books also have the audio version included. You can find our recommendations for The Best Audio Books on Kindle Unlimited here.
You can read all about Kindle Unlimited in this post, including our thoughts on whether it’s worth it.
How Do I Purchase Audible Books?
If you have an Audible Premium Plus membership, you’ll receive one credit each month that you can use to purchase any audiobook that you want. When you open the Audible app, it will always tell you how many credits you currently have available at the top of the home screen.
You can use your credits to purchase books (or add them to your wish list) right in the Audible app. Simply search for the book title you want, and then click the orange button that says “Buy with 1 Credit.”
You can also purchase audiobooks directly from the Amazon website. When browsing books on Amazon, you’ll see all of the available formats listed as purchase options. This includes paperback, hardback, Kindle (ebook), and Audible (audiobook). If you have available Audible credits available, Amazon gives you the option to purchase the audiobook for one credit rather than listing a dollar amount.
Unused credits roll over from month to month. Each credit expires one year after purchase, so don’t hold on to them too long.
Important Tip: You cannot purchase audiobooks in the Amazon app. A lot of the confusion about how to buy Audible books stems from the fact that, while you can purchase audiobooks on the Amazon website, you cannot do so using the Amazon app.
In the Amazon app, you can browse books and see if an Audible audiobook version of the book is available. However, rather than a purchase option, you’ll see this statement: “This application does not support purchasing digital content.” We’re not sure why the Amazon app limits this ability, but you can purchase audiobooks on Amazon.com in your mobile browser. However, if you want to buy an audiobook on your phone or tablet, it’s easiest to do so directly in the Audible app.
Can I Return an Audible Book?
What if you use one of your Audible credits to purchase a book and don’t like it? Audible makes returns very easy! First, visit www.audible.com and sign in to your account. Then select Menu>My Account>Purchase History. Then find the title you wish to return and choose “Return this Title.”
We’ve seen many websites that advise returning books after you’ve read them as a way to get double the value from your credits. We find that a very unethical practice and definitely don’t recommend it. However, it is nice to have the option to return a title if you purchase one by mistake. For example, Angela once accidentally purchased the Italian language version of an audiobook, rather than the English version.
We know that the narrator can make or break an audiobook. Before using a credit, we suggest you take advantage of the “Sample Now” option. This allows you to see whether or not you like the narrator. However, if you purchase a book and realize it really isn’t for you, you can return it.
Can You Read Along With Audible?
One of the common questions we hear in our Facebook Group is whether Audible books come with text. The answer is that some do. If you have Kindle Unlimited and select a book that includes audio, then you can seamlessly switch between reading and listening using Amazon’s Whispersync technology. For example, you can listen while folding laundry, and then have your Kindle be right on the page where you left off listening to when you switch back to the ebook.
How Do I Get More Books Without Paying Full Price?
Audible Premium Plus members can also purchase additional titles at 30% off, and will receive access to special sales throughout the year (keep an eye on your email for sale notifications). As we mentioned above, Kindle Unlimited also allows you to add more books to your Audible library.
But here’s one more great tip that you need to know about – the Amazon Audible Matchmaker! If you already own a lot of Kindle ebooks, you’re definitely going to want to check this out!
The Amazon Audible Matchmaker will scan your ebook library and load a list of the Kindle books that you own. Each book from your Kindle library will list a discounted price to “Upgrade to Audio.” The prices will range from $1.99 up to $12.99 (maybe more, but that was the highest Angela has seen in her account). The prices will vary from time to time, so you’ll want to check back regularly to find the best deals.
If you choose to purchase one of the audiobook upgrades, you’ll have access to Whispersync technology. Whispersync allows you to switch seamlessly between listening on Audible and reading on your Kindle. It always picks up right where you left off.
Can Your Share Audible Books?
You can access your audiobooks across all of your own devices. Simply download the Audible app and sign in to your Amazon account on each device. You can also share any Audible books that you’ve purchased with other members of your Amazon Household using Family Library Sharing. Using the Family Library, you can link two adult Amazon accounts to share not only audiobooks, but also ebooks, apps, and games.
How to Play Audible on Alexa?
The ability to listen to audiobooks via Alexa devices is a big benefit of Audible as compared to other audiobook platforms. First, you’ll need to make sure that your Alexa is connected to your Amazon account (most likely it already is). Then say “Alexa, read [title of book] from Audible.” Or if you’ve already been listening to the book on your phone or tablet, you can simply say, “Alexa, read my book” and she will immediately start reading your current book from the place that you last left off.
While you’re listening, you can control your audiobook using simple voice commands. Say: “Alexa, go back 30 seconds,” “Alexa, next chapter,” “Alexa, read faster,” “Alexa, pause,” and more.
Can I Listen to Audible Offline?
Yes. To listen to an audiobook from your Audible library, tap on the three dots to the right of the title. Then, select “download” to download the book to your phone/tablet. Once the audiobook is downloaded, you’ll be able to listen offline.
Do I Get to Keep My Audiobooks If I Cancel My Audible Membership?
Even after you cancel your Audible membership, the titles you’ve purchased will remain in your Audible app. However, books borrowed from the Audible Plus catalog only remain in your Audible library while your membership is active.
We hope going through this post helps you decide if Audible is the right fit! As we mentioned earlier, we’re working on another post that has additional audiobook options outside of Amazon. In the meantime, if you love hardback books, be sure to visit our post on how Book of the Month works!
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