How Does Audible Work? Our Review And Are Audiobooks Worth It?

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Ease Of Use

4.7/5

Effectiveness

5/5

Price

4/5

Support

4.1/5

Are you curious about what Amazon’s audiobook service has to offer? We put this popular audiobook app to the test in our Audible review, so you know exactly what to expect.

Audible Review

Audible offers great customer service compared to all the audio book sites reviewed. Audible is one of the best options for anyone who listens to one audiobook or more per month and want to have a huge library to choose from. There are also daily deals on audio books to review.

This post will help you understand what Audible, the audio book service is all about, including the pros, cons, how it works, many cool features and things you should look out for. So is listening to audiobooks better than reading? Is Audible worth the money? You can weigh your options and decide with all the information if one credit per month (or more) is what you’re looking for.

A table with a book and an audiobook on a phone

How Does Audible Work?

Audible works by first starting a 30-day free trial which comes with a free audiobook. Each month, a credit is awarded to the Audible account which can be used to purchase one audiobook. As a monthly member, you will receive one credit each pay period. That credit is redeemable for a single book of any value.

When your free trial is over, the free trial will automatically adjust to a monthly fee unless you cancel the account. Take note that one of the biggest complaints about the trial is that the company does not ask if you want to continue, but they automatically charge us if we don’t cancel the account. This Audible review will go over more on that below.

Please note that this post contains Amazon affiliate links. We normally review products that are popular and are talked about a lot. This means that there are people who like them and dislike them. We go through the product in an unbiased way and list both the good and the bad.

Audible provides users with ad-free, high-quality audio files that you can listen to online or offline. That means you can delve into your favourite titles, listening without racking up data charges or going through the hassle of finding a Wi-Fi password. What’s more, it enables you to curate your own digital archive of audiobooks that can be accessed for listening to audiobooks at any time.

All Amazon Audible books are exchangeable. If you don’t enjoy a title, you may switch it for an alternative title with no hassle. Also, Audible offers members an exclusive 30 percent savings per credit on additional monthly purchases on fiction and non-fiction books, including mysteries & thrillers, personal development, business, bios & memoirs, sci-fi & fantasy, romance audiobooks and Audible originals.

GET 2 AUDIOBOOKS
Provides users with access to a massive database of audiobooks.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Easy access to library from any device
  • Library features over 425,000 Audiobooks
  • Allows users to mark their progress with a bookmark, add notes, and more

Also

What Is Audible?

Amazon Audible is a monthly membership service that provides users with access to a massive database of audiobooks. You access and play these audiobooks through the Audible app. They provides members with Audible credits a month to purchase new titles. 

Over time, users are able to accumulate large libraries of audio books. Unlike similar audiobook subscriptions, all audiobooks purchased through Audible are yours to keep forever. If you’re not already reading or listening to audiobooks, you’re missing out on a lot of knowledge. We all know that reading is good for us and audio is a good way to listen to Audible books. Check out our post on the importance of reading books.

Unlike similar audiobook subscriptions, all audiobooks purchased through Audible are yours to keep forever

How Much Is Audible?

*We apologise that we cannot list the pricing model in our Audible review because it is against Amazon’s TOS.*

A basic Audible membership fee and offerings is on par with most monthly subscription services. For the standard Gold monthly, you only get one credit for the monthly subscription fee with this membership plan. You can redeem one audiobook per credit. Since Audible credits are redeemable for a single audiobook of any price, it is smart to use this credit for costlier titles. After which, you can scour Audible for daily deals and low-cost classics. In addition, you also get 2 Audible originals.

You can find offers on Audible, the same way you can find offers on physical books. On occasion, you will find audiobooks priced as low as 99 cents! It’s important to note that the price you pay varies depending on the number of titles you purchase and how much you spend. That makes Audible worth the price. I find that it helps to treat your membership credit as if it’s worth one audiobook.

This way, you spend it on something equal to or greater than the monthly fee. But that’s just how I would do it. Unused Audible credits can be rolled over from one month to another. Whether you are waiting on an upcoming new release from major publishing houses or cannot decide between two titles, this feature ensures you never pay in vain. If you feel like you need more than 1 book a month, there are other membership plans available.

Gold Monthly – The gold monthly is the standard plan which gives 1 credit a month, a 30 percent discount off the list price on additional audio books, hassle-free exchanges, and access to Audible original podcasts. 

Gold Annual – This plan includes 12 upfront membership credits per year, a 30 percent discount on additional audio books, hassle-free exchanges, and access to original podcasts. The Gold annual plan is the regular plan with the best value.

Platinum Monthly – The platinum monthly plan includes two credits a month, a 30 percent discount on additional audio books, hassle-free exchanges, and access to original podcasts.

Platinum Annual – This plan includes 24 credits per year, a 30 percent discount on additional audio books, hassle-free exchanges, and access to original podcasts.

Audible Channels – This plan offers access to podcast originals only.

Gift subscriptions can also be purchased in three, six, and 12-month increments.

Is Audible Free with Amazon Prime?

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can use Audible for no extra cost. The limit here is that you will only get access to a rotating collection of 50+ books. Notably, you get access to the channels as well.

This is a really good deal if you are already on Amazon Prime or if you’re thinking of using it.

You can try it here.

Audible Review: The Library

The Audible library features over 425,000 titles and audio versions of books. Given it is an offshoot of Amazon, we only expect that number to grow. Audible tops the ranks as one of the densest audiobook libraries on the market.

The library consists of 26 book categories with new releases and audiobook titles spread evenly throughout. You can browse by category, lists & collections, or featured material. This includes a selection of titles that are compatible with the Amazon-exclusive service Whispersync. Almost every book that has an audiobook version is in the library including best sellers and many Audible originals. 

Members also gain access to an extensive collection of audio shows. These are free with a monthly membership. They include genre-diverse Audible originals, such as Audicted, Sincerely X, and Real Crime.

The Audible membership also includes audio version of news via the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and additional publications for your listening pleasure. What’s more, there is a steady stream of celebrity performances and live comedy to keep you entertained. While the non-audiobook content could serve to be expanded, it’s an excellent bonus feature you don’t see.

What Is Whispersync And How Does It Work?

Woman reading a Kindle ebookWhispersync for Voice is a unique service offered to Audible customers. It allows members to switch between listening to an audiobook and reading on a Kindle without missing a beat. The app also features real-time highlighting to boost reader engagement, comprehension, and retention. In short, you can sync your audiobooks with a Kindle to pick up where you left off on a book. You will need an internet connection for this. To utilize the service, you need to purchase the audio companion to a Kindle book. While it is on the pricier side, there is no denying the convenience of this service. Currently, Amazon does not have a bundle for an ebook + audio book on Kindle and Audible. That makes it a bit more expensive to get both and may not be for everyone.

For more, check out our Kindle Unlimited review and our comparison post Kindle Unlimited Vs Audible.

Whispersync allows members to switch between listening to an audiobook and reading on a Kindle without missing a beat

What About The Alternatives?

Audible isn’t the only audiobook subscription service on the market. However, it stands out because of its extensive library. While public libraries typically provide services such as Hoopla or Overdrive for free, you get far fewer options to choose from. What’s more, you are often restricted to a small number of monthly audiobook rentals. The same thing goes for popular pay-to-borrow services.

Audible audiobook review

Audible provides a wide variety of audio books and purchases are yours to keep even if you cancel. The best alternative to Audible is Audiobooks.com. The book library is not as extensive as Audible but it’s still huge and most popular audio books are there. They have a 30-day free trial at the time of writing this Audible review, but they will need your email address and credit card details.

If you find the ‘con’s of Audible too much for you, try out Audiobooks. The price is about the same and you get 1 audiobook for $14.95 per month. It used to cost $24.95 per month but they lowered the price to compete. $14.95 per month is good value in my opinion.

Keep in mind that other audiobook services won’t have Audible originals as an extra benefit.

Check out our post on the best audiobook services.

Building A Collection

Every audiobook you purchase through the Audible app is yours to keep forever. In fact, it can even be downloaded in any audio format or stored on a limited number of devices. Plus, you can access your Audible library at any time, even if you cancel your membership. While it takes a long time to build a personal library on Audible credits alone, this is definitely a versatile and space-saving alternative to a physical home library.

It is important to note; you cannot buy additional credits. Instead, you get a 30 percent discount on any additional purchases. As such, I feel this service is best suited for individuals who listen to one to two books per month. Otherwise, it can be quite costly. That being said, it’s a good idea to get one or two audiobooks per month and if you’re a big reader, just read the physical book too.

Usability

This Audible review will show you some of the most likely usabilities. Like most Amazon products, the Audible app offers user-friendly navigation. You can toggle between pages and menus for quick and easy access to thousands of book titles. Audiobook sub-categories such as “Pre-orders”, “Wish Lists”, and “Browse” (which includes several subheadings) make it easy to find new titles with rave reviews. Not to mention, all audiobooks are also subject to Amazon’s five-star customer review system.

Aesthetically, Audible couldn’t get much better. It features easy-to-read text, high contrast visuals, and customizable toggles. With that being said, the affiliated website is a bit sparse, with just a white background, gallery-style book cover grids, and six overhead menus.

Still, each audiobook has a detailed product page with information such as author, length, release date, and publisher. Here, you can confirm whether a title is compatible with Whisper sync and add it to your wish list. There is also a one-click purchase option.

The site others a standard search bar that allows you to explore audiobook options through both vague and detailed credentials. It also offers an advanced search option that is similar to digital library catalogs, with fine-tuned credentials such as the title, author, narrator, and publisher. From there, you can narrow the search field by honing in on the program type, language, length, format, and more.

Family using multiple devices

Using Audible On Multiple Devices

The files can be downloaded to a variety of listening devices and even your MP3 player. To do so, you must install the Audible Manager on the device. Then, you have to physically plug the device into your computer and go through a twelve step process. After this, your content will be available on the device. Twelve steps mays seem like a lot but it is a quick and simple process.

Can You Share Audible Books?

You can also share your audiobooks with loved ones but they have to be adult members of your Amazon Household, as long as they have an Amazon account. It is important to note that this won’t work with a child’s account.

Previously, Audible’s Digital Rights Management system only allowed consumers to play and listen to Audible on three devices. This gave way to the upswing of programs designed to eliminate Audible’s DRM. Nevertheless, there is no longer an apparent limit. What’s more, consumers claim the MP3 files can be downloaded without hassle.

Beyond that, one of the reasons I love Audible is because of the ability to personalize your Audible app settings. Two of the more convenient features were the options to set an automatic sleep timer and adjust the audio playback speed to increase listening speed. Better still, Audible tracks where you leave off. Therefore, you never have to worry about losing your place when stopping or switching between devices.

How To Cancel Audible Membership?

This is an Amazon-based digital service. As such, they offer 24/7 phone, email, and live chat support. The cancellation process is straight forward. I found that, regardless of the platform, the customer service agents responded quickly and aimed to please. I also found the “Popular Questions” page to be extremely informative. Whether you’re looking to cancel your membership or exchange an unwanted audiobook, Amazon aims to provide you with quick and pleasing answers to all of your questions.

How To Return An Audible Book?

The best part, Audible’s hassle-free return policy is good. They have a great listen guarantee, which means you can literally exchange an unwanted audiobook or Audible originals at any time. Just go to “Account Details”, select “Purchase History”, locate the order you wish to return, and hit the orange “Return this Title” button.

However, experiences may differ from one person to another. I’ve read some bad reviews about their support. My experience overall has been good. The most notable complaints were that support was a bit slow, and they get charged even after calling and cancelling the Audible subscription.

Audible’s hassle-free exchange policy is no joke

Book Descriptions

Let’s face it, regardless of the audiobook service; we are buying the same product. Therefore, a considerable part of our buying decision is determined by user experience. In the case of Audible, the particular product is a subtle but important detail.

When you click on a title, a page pops up with a large book cover image and list of quick facts about the publication. Here, you’ll find a “Sample” button that allows you to listen to a small tidbit of the audiobook to determine whether its right for you. As someone who can be somewhat picky about which narrators I listen to, I found this option to be extremely valuable, making me love Audible even more.

On the right side, you can opt to use your membership credit on the title, buy additional credits outright, add it to a reading list, or post it on Facebook. Below this, you’ll find the “People who bought this also bought…” section. For me, this section was a treasure trove of valuable information. It generates useful recommendations based on the recent purchases of like-minded consumers. Of course, it is one of those sales tactics that Amazon uses but works and it’s possibly the best way to give a recommendation.

Next, there is a brief publisher’s summary which gives you the gist of the audiobook in two to four paragraphs. Following this, some audiobooks feature a small section for “Critic Reviews”.

Audible recommendations

Sales

On occasion, Amazon will post special offers for members. Sometimes, you can even purchase additional credits at a discounted price. To be considered for this deal, you need to have had the same Audible membership plans for two consecutive months, have one or no credits, and (if you are on the yearly plan) be at least 30 days from your next billing date. On top of that, Amazon offers inexpensive classics (sometimes as low as 99 cents).

Rating System

At the bottom of a book page, there is a section called “What Members Say”. This breaks down the average ratings into three categories: “Overall”, “Performance,” and “Story”. Below each of these categories is a small bar graph that shows the number of people that gave five, four, three, two, or one-star reviews.

After this, there is you can switch between lists of Audible.com and Amazon reviews, sorting between “Most Helpful” and “Most Recent”. It appears as though the longest reviews are to be found at the top.

As someone who is very picky about the books I listen to, I found this feature to be extremely helpful. However, it is important to note that these reviews have the potential to be biased and misleading, but are unlikely to be so because they do verify buyers Amazon account.

Audible book review page

Audible Audio Book Pros And Cons

There are some notable pros and cons that you should be aware of. Especially the cons. Is Audible worth your time? Overall, my experience on Audible and reviews are mostly good. There are some complaints that we will address below. Most of the pros are already in the review, so that section will be short, while the cons will be a bit longer.

Pros

Audible is convenient when you want to read but you’re busy. I don’t like to think of audio as a replacement for physical books and vice versa. However, as a working mother and blogger here, I barely have enough time in the day as it is. For me, audiobooks allow me to indulge in entertaining or informative literature even if I can’t set my eyes on it. I can progress through a novel while walking my dog, driving my kids to playdates, and folding laundry. Alas, I can rest my eyes at the end of the day while pursuing a book.

Easy access to my library from any device. As a public library enthusiasts, I was initially leery of paying for the subscription service. After all, why pay for audiobooks when I can borrow them for free? It turns out that the ability to access my audiobook library from multiple devices and flawlessly pick up where I last left off is well worth it. To top that, I don’t have to wait for new releases or popular titles to cycle through long waiting lists. Instead, I get instant access to these titles with a click of a button. What’s more, I never have to worry about incurring library fines or returning material.

The ability to access my audiobook library from multiple devices and flawlessly pick up where I last left off is well worth it

Cons

Credits may be a hassle. Each membership plan allows for a different number of additional credits per month to be rolled over from one pay period to another. For example, the Gold annual membership allows for a maximum of five to roll over, whereas the Platinum Annual allows for 12. More importantly, you lose your credits if you cancel your membership.

Besides that, some audiobook prices can be quite high even after applying the 30 percent discount. For example, Stephen King’s The Outsider sells for way cheaper on Google play store. Not all books are cheaper on Google Play but this particular one is.

After the free trial is over, they charge automatically. There are many complaints about this with people saying “the trial is not actually a free trial” and so on. The best thing to do if you plan on taking the trial is to make sure that before 30 days, make a decision and either cancel the Audible account or continue letting it be.

Audible/Amazon has a reputation of overcharging customers. Although getting a refund is easy enough, it’s still a hassle and something that we shouldn’t even be dealing with. The common ones are the bill for a free trial and double charging when you subscribe or upgrade. It doesn’t happen all the time but those are the most common complaints.

What I Think Of The Pros And Cons?

In the end, I am not someone who is likely to spend top dollar on something such as an Audiobook. For one, I am not likely to listen to it more than one time. Secondly, I don’t feel that the audio files are adequate replacements for physical paper books nor e-books. For me, there is something sacred and raw about readings text.

There is no doubt that it is convenient to listen to audiobooks. During my trial period, I found myself indulging in Donna Tartt’s award-winning book, The Goldfinch while I cleaned my bathroom. At 32 hours and 29 minutes, it lasted me nearly an entire month. Nevertheless, I still shelled out another $6.95 on an hour-long self-help book.

While Tartt’s book was available on CD at my local library, I had trouble justifying paying for it. Nevertheless, I was able to take it with me on my daily bike ride, to the gym, and even for lunch without a hassle. I also was able to download it to my phone so that I didn’t have to rely on internet or data.

Readings Offline

Woman listening to an audiobook on her bed

One of the best features of Audible is that you can download and you listen to audiobooks online and offline. While this may not seem like a big deal, not having to worry about finding Wi-Fi or using data is imperative to many people (myself included). What’s more, you’re allowed to download all or part of an audiobook. Therefore, you can opt to save device space or personal time by only downloaded a select portion at a time. Whichever option you choose, all Audible audiobook purchases will remain in the cloud indefinitely.

Listener Stats

While not for everyone, the Audible app tracks listener stats and awards subsequent badges. As you listen, it unlocks badges, they have the option to post their progress on social media. If you have a shared account with a household member, each member can independently track their personal progress, stats, and badges. Some featured badges include “Mount Everest”, “Marathoner”, and “Daily Dipper”. The tracker helped me to set personal goals and adequately log my summer reading. It is also a cool way to compete with a friend or a family member.

Bookmarks And Notes

One of my favorite Audible features is “Clips”. “Clips” allows users to mark their progress with a digital bookmark, add notes, and more. It even allows you to save and share an audiobook passage. This will enable you to clip, edit, and post these audio tidbits via email or social media. It also saves the location of the audio so that you can return to it at any time.

If you’re someone who enjoys quoting passages or writing in the margins, this is the digital manifestation of an age-old practice. Plus, don’t worry if you’re sharing your audiobooks. All members get their own annotations, notes, and bookmarks.

Audible Review: Is Audible Worth It?

Is Audible worth the money? In my opinion, the short answer is yes.. Anyone who wants to listen to audio books should at least take Audible’s 30-day free trial. It doesn’t matter if you listen during your morning commute or while exercising, it’s a great app to get informed and read more books you’ve been meaning to read.

In short, I would recommend Audible to listeners looking to expand their audiobook libraries. For one, this service is relatively inexpensive. More so, it features the most expansive audiobook library currently on the market. Furthermore, Audible is easy to navigate and features user-friendly settings. Beyond that, Whispersync audiobooks offer a flexible alternative for individuals who enjoy reading but struggle to find the time to do it.

If you’re still not sure if this Audible is right for you or if you’re still asking how does Audible work, you can take the free trial to see for yourself. Not only do you receive free audiobooks of your choosing, but you get the opportunity to gauge how often you would utilize the service.The free audiobooks will be yours to keep and that alone makes Audible worth trying. This Audible review should have covered everything you need to know. Be sure to download audible and play around with the settings to ensure you get the best possible user experience. To me, that makes Audible worth the price.

Or

They’re both worth a try. The free trial is tremendous value and you can get two free audiobooks of your choice each if you take both trials. 

Hope you enjoyed this Audible review and if you or someone you know have tried the Audible app recently or have an opinion on the post, tell us about that experience in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. Hello,
    I’ve heard about audible and I wanted to try it for the first free month to give it a try.

    Do you have French books too? Do you need to first buy the Audio book if its a available to use in audible?

    Can I discontinue during the free month If I don’t want to continue afterwards or you still need to pay for the first month?

    1. Self Development Secrets

      Hi Babita, we are not Audible, we just wrote a review on them. To answer your questions, yes they have some French books, but not as big as the English section. When you take the trial or subscribe, you get 1 credit a month to exchange for an audiobook. So that would be you ‘buying’ the book. And yes you can discontinue after the first month. You get to keep the audiobook in Audible from the free trial.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Wow, what a great review! I absolutely love Audiblle. I originally signed up just to get the free book but got totally hooked. The value is fantastic (I am in the UK where it is £7.99 per month and you get one book credit). It’s great for listening in the car or when I don’t have time and have other things to do like cooking and putting on my make-up. You can cancel at any time so there is no risk.

    1. Self Development Secrets

      Thank you for the kind words Jean! Yes Audible is a great way to be more productive while doing other things!

  3. I am using Audible and Librivox.

    Librivox doesn’t charge you … But you get plethora of options with Audible.

    Thanks for the review.

  4. Hi, your review was very helpful but are you able to advise how much space in MB (roughly) is needed to download a book to listen to offline? I don’t currently use the Cloud.

    1. Self Development Secrets

      Hi Kerryn, thanks for your question. For the high quality version, it’s roughly 30mb per hour for an audiobook. You should easily be able to get 2-3 books on your phone or device without it affecting your storage too much. Hope this helps!

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