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.
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 90-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.
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 Fuck 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.
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 England, I pay Audible just under £8 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 £25. Audible also regularly offer promotions and deals for members whereby you can pick up classics for as little as 99p.
Tip: Only use your credits for books that have a list of price of more than GBP8/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 you 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. Click here if you want to take out an Audible trial, you get a free book.