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Is Audible Worth It?

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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 without doing much research, and only later discovered that she could also listen to audiobooks free through her local library. Recently she sat down to analyze whether maintaining her Audible Membership is still worth it, and we’re sharing the pros and cons here to help you decide if Audible is right for you.

Audible Premium Plus

An Audible Premium Plus membership currently costs $14.95 per month. This includes the ability to borrow an unlimited number of the books in the Plus Catalog, as well as 1 credit each month that can be used to purchase any audiobook of your choice (including all of the new releases and best sellers). Unused credits rollover from month to month, so there’s no requirement to purchase an audiobook each and every month (although each credit expires one year after it was purchased, so don’t hold on to them too long). With this membership, you can also purchase additional audiobook titles at 30% off, and will receive access to special sales throughout the year.

If you use this link to sign up for an Audible Premium Plus membership, you can get a 30-day free trial, and you’ll receive up to 2 free audiobooks. You can always cancel at anytime.

Although we both read around 100 books last year, we have very different reading habits. Angela listens to audiobooks the vast majority of the time (the only exception is when she’s reading an ebook on her Kindle in the bathtub). Audiobooks allow her to balance her love of books with her busy mom life. She listens daily while doing laundry, cooking, and running errands.

Melissa, on the other hand, is a very fast reader and prefers to mostly read ebooks with a few paper books mixed in. She does still listen to audiobooks on occasion, especially when it’s a memoir read by the author (bonus points if the narrator has a British accent).

If you’ve never listened to audiobooks, it can be a bit of a transition, and we’ll share another post soon with some tips. There are also a lot of different audiobook platforms, each with its own pros and cons (another coming soon post). But today we want to address the very specific question: 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.

Audible vs. Audiobooks

Audible is a platform via which you can listen to audiobooks. The Audible app itself is free and can be downloaded 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, and 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?

There are currently two Audible membership levels. Below we will compare Audible Plus vs Premium Plus to help you understand if either is right for you.

Audible Plus

The Audible Plus membership level currently costs $7.95 per month, and it allows you to borrow an unlimited number of audiobooks each month 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).

Is Audible Worth It?

Ok, so now that you know what an Audible membership costs, the question is, is it worth it? The answer, of course, is that it depends.

Angela listens to 6 to 8 audiobooks each month, and while she can find most of the titles she wants from her local library, there are some titles that her library doesn’t have. There are also times when the library hold list is much longer than she wants to wait. For these reasons, the Audible Premium Plus membership – with one credit each month for any title she wants – is a perfect fit for her.

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 this is the plan that gives you a monthly credit that you can use for any audiobook you choose, without being 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 Audbile). Scroll down and click the box on the left side menu to filter to just those books included in the Plus Catalog, and then use the other filter options to browse by genre within the Plus Catalog. If you find a long list that you’d like to read, then the less expensive Audible Plus membership may be a great fit for you.

How to Decide if Audible Premium Plus is Right For You

In order to determine if Audible Premium Plus is worth it for you, we’ve come up with some questions about your reading habits and preferences.

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, but when it comes to new releases, the wait list 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 have a specific book you need to read by a specific deadline. Oftentimes, book club selections are popular titles with long library waitlists. An Audible Premium Plus membership allows you to use your monthly credits to get the book club titles you need when you need them.

How quickly do you read/listen to books?

Angela’s library allows her to check our audiobooks for 21 days, but 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 in a limited amount of time, an Audible membership takes the stress away.

The books that you borrow from the Audible Plus catalog are yours to keep only for as long as your Audible membership is active. The titles that you purchase 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 where you can listen to them any time.

Owning the Audible books that you purchase allows you to listen to them at your own pace, as well allowing you to listen to them again in the future, or share them with others in your family using Family Library Sharing (more on this below).

Are you participating in any of our reading challenges?

If 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. While we always check to ensure that at least a portion of the books on our lists are available via public libraries, there are always some titles on our lists that are hard to find at libraries – either because they are older or just lesser-known.

We understand that it can be frustrating to read through our recommended book lists and find a couple of titles that really catch your eye, only to discover that those titles aren’t available at your library. That’s where Audible Premium Plus credits can help fill the gaps! Of course, there are still a few of the more obscure titles that aren’t recorded in audiobook format, but if an audio recording of a book exists, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll be able to find it via Audible.

Audible FAQs

How Does Audible Work?

Audible is owned by Amazon, so you’ll have an Amazon account. In order to listen to audiobooks with Audible, you’ll need to download the Audible app to your smartphone or tablet, or both (you can access your account from multiple devices).

Each audiobook that you borrow from the Plus Catalog, or that you purchase will show up in your Audible Library. In order to listen to an audiobook in your Audible library, you’ll tap on the three dots to the right of the title, and then select “download” to download the book to your phone/tablet. Once the audiobook is downloaded, you’ll be able to listen offline. You can also listen to and control audiobooks using the Audible app on your Apple Watch and via you Amazon Alexa devices (more on that below).

After you’ve finished listening to that book, you can delete it from your device (downloaded audiobooks, on average, take up about 150 MB of storage space). After deleting an audiobook file, it will still remain 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 lots of Audible Originals). Scroll down and click the box on the left side menu to filter to just those books included in the Plus Catalog, and 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 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. Unused credits roll over from month to month (although each credit expires one year after it was purchased, so don’t hold on to them too long). When you open the Audible app, it will always tell you, right at the top of the home screen, how many credits you currently have available.

You can use your credits to purchase books (or add them to your wish list) right in the Audible app. You simply search for the book title that you want, and then click the orange button that says “Buy with 1 Credit.”

You can also purchase audiobooks directly from the Amazon website. Anytime you are browsing books on Amazon, you’ll see all of the formats available listed as purchase options – including paperback, hardback, Kindle (ebook), and Audible (audiobook). If you have available Audible credits available, it will show the option to purchase the audiobook for one credit (rather than listing a dollar amount).

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 app you’re able to browse books, and you’ll be able to see if an Audible audiobook version of the book is available, but rather than a purchase option, you’ll instead see a statement that says, “This application does not support purchasing digital content.” We’re not sure why Amazon limits this ability, but if you want to purchase an audiobook while on your phone or tablet, it’s easiest just 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 then you really don’t like it? Audible makes returns very easy! 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 to be a very unethical practice, and don’t recommend that at all. However, it is nice to have the option to return a title if you purchase one by mistake (Angela once accidentally purchased the Italian language version of an audiobook, rather than the English version) or if you realize after listening for a short time that the book really isn’t for you.

We know that the narrator can make or break an audiobook. Each Audible audiobook has the option to listen to a sample, and we defintely suggest that you take advantage of these samples to see whether or not you like the narrator before deciding to use one of your credits to purchase the book.

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 the your Kindle be right on the page where you left off listening to when your ready to switch back to the ebook.

How Do I Get More Books Without Paying Full Price?

Audible Premium Plus members can also purchase addition 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 webpage will scan your ebook library and load a list of the Kindle eBooks that you already own, and each will have a discounted price listed to “Upgrade to Audio.” The prices will range from $1.99 up to $12.99 (maybe more, but that was the highest Angela currently sees 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 on of the audiobook upgrades, you’ll have access to the Whispersync technology that allows you to switch seamlessly between listening on Audible and reading on your Kindle, while always picking up right where you left off.

Can Your Share Audible Books?

You can access your audiobook across all of your own devices simply by downloading the Audible app and signing 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. Learn how here.

How to Play Audible on Alexa?

The ability to listen to audiobooks via your 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, such as: “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, you’ll tap on the three dots to the right of the title, and 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?

Cancelling your Audible membership is quick and easy. Even after you cancel your Audible membership, the titles you’ve purchased will remain in your Audible app where you can listen to them any time. The books that you select from the Audible Plus Catalog, however, are only available for you to listen to as long as your Audible 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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