Last Updated on June 16, 2023 by Louisa
I love reading but sometimes I’m too tired to focus on the page, so an audiobook is a great way to still enjoy a good book but without the effort of reading.
I recently started using Audible as a way to listen to audiobooks. It seemed like the most popular audiobook platform out there and since there was a free trial for 30 days, if I didn’t like it then no harm done.
So what is Audible and is it worth it? In this honest review, I will be going through all the pros and cons of using Audible as a platform to listen to audiobooks and share my personal experience with the platform.
Let’s get started…
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Who Is Audible?
Audible is a platform created by Amazon as a way to share audiobooks. It began in the late 90s as Audible MobilePlayer – a portable audio player that contained just two hours of audio. Ahh, those were the days…
Back in the day, owners of the device would purchase audiobooks from the Audible website and download them onto the player.
But things changed in 2003 when Audible entered an agreement with Apple to be its exclusive provider of audiobooks on the iTunes Music Store.
The agreement ended in 2017, but by this time, Audible had already received a reputation for being the trusted provider of audiobooks.
In 2005, Audible released “Audible Air”, a service where users could download audiobooks to portable devices and smartphones. However, you had to download chapters at a time because there wasn’t enough storage space.
In 2006, the company partnered with actors and celebrities, to bring new life to audiobooks.
In 2008, Amazon bought Audible for a massive $300 million. With the help of Amazon, Audible was able to produce more titles and grew and grew.
Over the years more features have been added, but today it is regarded as an audiobook platform that allows you to listen to audiobooks on the go, with a catalogue of over 220,000 audiobooks to choose from.
How Does Audible Work?
Setting up an Audible subscription is really easy. You do need to create an account – even though it’s owned by Amazon, it’s not connected to your Amazon account and is its own separate product.
You can download the free app on IOS or Android so you can listen to audiobooks on your phone.
Once you have set up your account, you’re ready to start browsing.
As a new subscriber, you are given one free credit. This essentially means you get one free audiobook, and it can be any book and yours to keep forever.
When you sign up for an Audible membership, you are signing up for Audible Plus. This is the most basic plan, and it only goes up from there.
On Audible Plus, each month you are given one credit, which essentially means you get one audiobook for the price of $7.99 USD per month.
You also get unlimited access to the Audible Plus Catalogue. From this catalog, you can listen to as many audiobooks as you like.
If a book is not included in Audible Plus Library, it will say ‘1 credit’ under the description and have the price of the book in the button. Such as in the image above.
If a book is part of the regular Audible catalogue, it will have a button that says play. Such as the image below.
Browsing on the desktop and on mobile are different experiences, so I’ll explain how it works on both. You will need to be connected to the internet for both desktop and mobile options as neither is available offline.
How to Use Audible on a Desktop
When you log into your account on your desktop you’ll be taken to a dashboard. The dashboard will have a button that says ‘browse’ and then a list of genres. You can click on any genre to be taken to a list of audiobooks in that category and browse through the titles.
Alternatively, you can search for a book you like and see what comes up.
If you don’t know what to look for, you can click ‘Plus Catalogue’ in the same menu bar and browse through the unlimited library here.
I found searching for audiobooks on the desktop incredibly easy to navigate. When I searched for a title I wanted to listen to, it came up with several options with different voices to narrate, as well as the book in different languages.
It’s really easy to see whether a book is going to cost me a credit or whether it’s part of the Audible library.
How to Use Audible on Mobile
The app is really just a tool for you to listen to audiobooks and search for potential new ones. You can’t, annoyingly, purchase audiobooks through the app.
However, you can still listen to samples and search for titles. Once you’ve found titles you like, you can save them to your wish list and purchase them from your desktop.
Is Audible Worth it for the Price?
Audiobooks are super expensive. The average cost of an audiobook is anywhere from $20-$30 USD per book.
This is because of the thousands of hours it takes to create one. Think about it, the writer first needs to write the book…and then someone needs to spend hours sitting in a room where they are recorded reading it.
This is why you’ll find audiobooks are twice as expensive as a book – it’s twice the work.
So, how much does Audible cost? With a subscription, you pay just $7.99 per month for access to a library of thousands and one credit per month.
The average length of an audiobook is about 8 hours, so you can easily listen to one over a few days.
I would say I averaged about six audiobooks a month. If you consider how much I would have spent on each individual audiobook, it would have equated to about $120 USD. Now when you look at it that way, an Audible subscription is a steal.
What are Audible Credits?
With an Audible subscription, you are given one credit per month. This means you get one book per month outside of the Plus Catalogue. If you want more, then you have to buy additional credits.
You can also buy credits which gives you the chance to buy another audiobook outside the Plus Catalogue. The price of each credit is roughly the same as the monthly subscription, so another $7.95 per credit. The more credits you add to your Audible membership, the cheaper they are.
Here’s a quick overview of the Audible costs:
- Audible Plus: $7.95/month (access to thousands of titles, including the Plus Catalog).
- Audible Premium Plus – 1 Credit: $14.95/month (Plus Catalog + 1 credit per month for any premium title)
- Audible Premium Plus – 2 Credits: $22.95/month (Plus Catalog + 2 credits per month for any premium titles)
- Audible Premium Plus Annual – 12 Credits: $149.50/year: (Plus Catalog + 12 credits a year for any premium titles)
- Audible Premium Plus Annual – 24 Credits: $229.50/year: (Plus Catalog + 24 credits a year for any premium titles)
Essentially the benefit of buying credits is to make sure the audiobook you want to listen to is always available to you. You might find that all the books you want are in the Plus catalogue already, but buying credits gives you the freedom to branch out of the usual library.
It is a good idea to create a wish list and see whether the titles you want to listen to are part of the Plus catalogue or if you need to use a credit. As you have to purchase credits at the start of each month, you can’t just buy credits whenever you feel like it.
In short, even if you listen to just one book a month, or want to add credits to your subscription, you are still saving by not buying the original audiobook.
When it comes to whether Audible is worth it for the price, there really is no argument there.
Is Audible Premium Plus worth it?
You might be thinking that one audiobook a month is not enough, and therefore Audible Premium Plus might be better suited to you. But is Audible Premium Plus worth it?
Depending on whether you choose to pay monthly or annually, Premium Plus gives you additional credit, so rather than one credit per month you get two.
Or if you pay annually, you have the option to choose between 12 or 24 additional credits.
The cost of Audible Premium Plus is just under 50% more, so it’s worth getting if you know that you will listen to two audiobooks outside the Plus catalog each month.
For me, a lot of what I wanted to read was in the Plus catalogue, so it wasn’t worth the additional charge for me.
But that doesn’t mean Audible Premium Plus isn’t worth it for everyone. You really need to see what Audible have in the Plus catalogue that interests you to decide whether it’s worth it or not.
It’s cheaper to sign up for Premium Plus than to purchase extra credits at the end of the month.
Is Audible Worth it for the Perks?
There are around 200,000 audiobooks in the Audible library, which you might think is plenty to choose from. However, Audible doesn’t think so, which is why they created their ‘Plus Catalogue’.
The catalogue is exclusive to Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus members, and is where listeners can stream thousands of exclusive audiobooks, or even download them to listen offline.
Audible also has Audible Originals – these are audiobooks and podcasts that are not featured on any other platform.
Another perk of Audible is the library is refreshed weekly, which is great for those who devour audiobooks like its ice cream. Don’t worry though, if your favorite audiobook is leaving the library, you get an advanced warning a month before.
Audible subscribers can also download two Audible Originals on the first Friday of each month. And you can keep these audiobooks, forever (and they don’t cost any extra).
You also get to keep your Audible audiobooks, even if you cancel your Audible subscription. Audible users also get deals on audiobooks which are released every Friday.
Reasons to Try Audible
So by now, you’re probably thinking Audible sounds pretty good for what you get and may be worth the money, but if the price and perks weren’t enough, here are some other reasons to try audible…
You can listen to audiobooks narrated by your favorite actors
Have you ever listened to J.R.R. Tolkein’s novels narrated by Christopher Lee, the actor who plays Saruman? Or perhaps you want to hear the soothing voice of Benedict Cumberbatch tell the story of The Order of Time?
One of the reasons why I made it to the end of Mythos and learned so much about Greek mythology was because Stephen Fry narrated it.
Audiobooks allow for multitasking
I’ve found that I can listen to an audiobook in a day or two, whereas a book will take me a whole week. It might be because you can listen to an audiobook while doing other things like cooking, cleaning, or driving.
Related post: Things to do while listening to an audiobook
Combine it with reading with Whispersync for Voice Rocks
A unique feature of Audible is the Whispersync for voice rocks feature. It essentially allows you to listen to an audiobook and pick up where you left off from the book in your Kindle.
This is great for those who are engrossed in a story but don’t have time to sit down and read it. You can simply switch back and forth between written and audio, so you never have to put the book down.
The only downside to this is that you need to have a Kindle subscription for the Whispersync for Voice Rocks to work. I find that most books with an audiobook have a Kindle version, but in the unlikely scenario that the audiobook you’re listening to isn’t on Kindle, then you can’t use this feature.
You also need to make sure your Kindle and Audible accounts are registered to the same country, which again, is something you’ll likely have set up so not really an issue at all.
There’s no commitment
The great thing about Audible is that if you don’t want to sign up for the monthly subscription if you don’t want to! You can buy audiobooks separately, just like you can buy books for your kindle without a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
Audible premium is a subscription service where you pay a monthly fee. This gives you access to a library of thousands of audiobooks, but it can be stopped at any time.
If you decide to leave your premium subscription, you will stop at the end of the month you are paying for – so make a note of the date when you sign up to ensure you don’t end up paying for a month unnecessarily.
It’s also free to cancel.
Related post: Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?
There’s a free trial AND a free audiobook
If you’re not sure whether Audible is right for you, then take advantage of the free trial. The free trial doesn’t just mean you can explore the massive content library and listen for free for 30 days – although this is a perk – but you also get one free audiobook.
I chose Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping which was not part of the Audible Plus catalogue, so the only other way for me to listen to this book would have been to pay $17.47 for the audiobook.
I was kind of lucky that the book I was interested in wasn’t in the premium library, because the library is quite extensive.
When choosing your free book, this is something to consider. You’ll get the most value for money if you choose an audiobook not part of this service as your free title.
It connects to audio devices like Sonos
Give your ears a break from those pesky earpods! Another great thing about Audible is that it connects to audio devices and speakers such as Sonos and Alexa.
You can listen in 3D with 3D Audio
Wait, hold on. What is 3D audio? This is essentially like surround sound for audiobooks. Using innovative technology, the audio has been enhanced to give you greater sound effects to bring the story to life.
Listen to the sounds of wind and thunder, of trains chugging, and of gunshots booming. Audiobooks have moved on from narration and have now become like audio cinemas.
Not every title has 3D audio, but the 3D audio catalogue is forever growing and is accessible to all Audible Plus members.
It gives your eyes a break
I read a lot…like, a lot. Hence why I started a book blog. But believe it or not, sometimes I’m too tired to read. I love audiobooks because they give my eyes a break but still allow me to immerse in the story.
I’ve also found, and it may be just me, that I can imagine it more clearly. It’s like someone is painting me a picture of the story.
You can sample books before downloading
Not sure if you’re going to like this Audible romance book? Listen to the sample first to see if you’re going to enjoy it.
You can gift a friend for free
Forget your friend’s birthday? No problem, send them an audiobook for free. You can only send them a book you’ve bought through the app, but that’s fine. It’s still like buying a book for a friend…except you can listen to it first 😉
You don’t lose your credits if you don’t use them
If you have a busy month and haven’t used your credits, don’t worry, they roll over to the next month.
You can listen to all audiobooks offline
No matter whether you are listening to your audiobook through the Plus catalogue or you’ve used credit, you can always listen to audiobooks offline. This is a step up from Kindle Unlimited, which always requires internet access to read titles.
Given that I like to listen to audiobooks while hiking where there’s no data, this is a real win in my book.
What are the downsides to Audible?
I’ve been singing Audible’s praises a lot so far but I have noticed a few things that really irked me about it.
File sizes are too large
First is that the file sizes for audiobooks are HUGE. My phone doesn’t have a huge amount of storage so I found that audiobooks really ate into this.
If you’re only listening to Audiobooks from the main Audible library, this isn’t such a problem as you can remove them and re-download them.
But if you’ve chosen books from Audible Plus or used a credit to buy them, it’s a waste of money to have to delete an audiobook to free up space.
Limited to the number of credits
You also can only buy credits at the start of your month, so if you use your credits and want to buy more, you have to wait until next month. I’m an impatient person so this really irked me.
On the other hand, if you don’t use your credits, they roll over to the next month so at least you don’t lose them.
The App doesn’t support purchases
Like, what. In today’s society, we are always on the go and need access to everything immediately.
Say I’m in a coffee shop with a friend who recommends me an audiobook, I have to wait until I’m home at my computer to buy it, not buy it and listen to it on my way home.
You can still browse titles, sample them and save them to a wish list through the app.
I do see why they do it. It’s a security feature so no one can steal audiobooks if they steal your phone. But let’s be honest, is it really that unsafe? And why offer the ability to browse if you can’t buy?
Come on Audible, that’s such a tease…
Some Audible Alternatives
So it wouldn’t be fair to disregard the other platforms out there that offer audiobooks. Here are a few more alternatives and a short comparison of each.
Kindle Unlimited Audio Narration
So the obvious alternative is Kindle Unlimited, another subscription service by Amazon. With Kindle Unlimited, you get access to a huge library of 2 million books, but you also get access to some audiobooks.
Another great alternative to Audible is OverDrive/Libby App. This is essentially an app that connects you to your local library and you can borrow audiobooks from them. This is an app that’s only available in North America, but it is connected to over 90% of libraries in the states.
Scribd is best known for its ebooks but it also has a large selection of audiobooks too.
In fact, it has a library of 220,000+ audiobooks, which is more than Audible.
It’s slightly more expensive at $9.99 per month and doesn’t have the audio quality that Audible has, but it’s still pretty decent.
Apple Books and Google Play Books
If you don’t want to sign up for a membership, then Apple Books and Google Play books are pretty decent alternatives. You have a vast library of audiobooks to choose from and you pay per book.
One feature that Apple Books has that’s quite nice is a sleep timer. This means you can tell your phone to play an audiobook for 15 minutes and then sleep, so you don’t get carried away.
With Google Play, you get the same kind of deal as Apple Books where you pay by the book, but you can also find books that have audio narration.
This is a little different than an audiobook in that it’s a computer reading the book to you – but it does give you access to a huge amount of titles.
Here’s a table that compares each alternative to Audible. You can scroll left to right to see across the table if you’re using your mobile.
|Audible||Kindle Unlimited||Libby App||Scribd||Apple Books||Google Play Books|
|Price||$7.99 p/m||$9.99 p/m||FREE||$9.99 p/m||pay-per-book||pay-per-book|
|Number of Audiobooks||200,000||2,000||60,000||220,000+||Unknown exact number, but thousands||Unknown exact number, but thousands|
|Can listen to audiobooks offline||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Get to keep the books||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Other perks||3D audio||Access to a library of 2 million books||You get to borrow 15 audiobooks at one time||You get 2 audiobooks per month||Set a sleep timer||Some books have audio narration for free|
FAQs About Whether Audible is Worth It?
Here’s what people usually ask me about whether Audible is worth it…
Is it worth it to pay for Audible?
If you listen to a lot of audiobooks, then yes it is. The cost of a subscription is less than one audiobook, so it’s definitely worth it if you enjoy audiobooks.
What is the catch with Audible?
You only get one shot at the free trial. If you decide not to continue your subscription, you don’t get another free trial later.
What are the disadvantages of Audible?
The disadvantages to Audible are the file sizes are huge, you can’t buy audiobooks on the app it must be a desktop, and you can’t add extra credits in the middle of a month.
Is Audible free with Prime?
No, Audible is not free for Prime users. Occasionally, there may be deals such as on Prime Day or Black Friday, but throughout most of the year it’s a separate service.
How many audiobooks does Audible have?
As of 2023, Audible has a library of 220,000 audiobooks.
Is Audible any good?
If you’re wondering about the quality of the audiobook, you will find the best quality audiobooks in the Audible library. Every audiobook has been made professionally, so yet, it’s definitely good.
The Verdict: Is Audible Worth It?
So all in all, I would say that Audible is worth it for those who listen to audiobooks frequently. The price is really cheap, even cheaper than the cost of one audiobook, so if you only listen to one audiobook a month it’s definitely worth it.
There are a lot of great features to Audible; such as the Whispersync feature and the fact that you get to keep the audiobooks, but there are some annoyances that I think Audible should sort out.
In particular, they really need to allow purchases through the app. I know it’s done for safety but it’s really an inconvenience for those who like to listen on the go.
Audible could also improve its service if it allowed subscribers to purchase additional credits at any time. When I browsed through the library, quite a few audiobooks I wanted to listen to were not part of the Plus catalogue, so it would be great if I didn’t have to wait until the end of the month.
But in general, the pros outweigh the cons and I do think that Audible is a great platform for audiobook fans.