Audible Review: Is the Audiobook King Worthy of Its Throne?

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

by  Jack Garden | Last Updated:  Mar 17, 2021

Signing up to a subscription service can be a tricky decision. After all, do I really need this? And should I commit to a monthly payment for it?

Deciding on whether to get Audible is no different, and in this review, I’m going to be breaking down all the details about this audiobook subscription service.

What does it offer? How much does it cost? And most importantly, is it right for you?

For when selection is everything
The Adult Man Image/Icon

Audible

The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Bottom line: If you’re not going to listen to more than one book a month, then you probably won’t find sufficient value in Audible. But if you value choice, speed, and service, this audiobook behemoth is currently the best choice out there.

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/IconCuration The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/IconApp & Features The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/IconSubscription Management The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/IconValue for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Pros:

  • The largest collection of quality audiobooks
  • Intuitive website and smooth tech
  • Memberships are good value if you're a frequent user
  • Try before you buy with a free 30-days trial

Cons:

  • Individual books are expensive
  • Several poor reviews relating to cancellations which may be a result of some confused brand messaging
  • Can't buy books within Audible app

I first listened to an audiobook in my final year of University.

Let me tell you, when you’ve got 10 academic texts to get through in two weeks, there’s nothing quite like putting your studies on autopilot.

Listening to a dull book is far easier than reading one.

Most of these I accessed through Audible. And since leaving university, I’ve discovered that Audible actually has a ton of exciting books to listen to. 

Not just the work of stuffy academics.

And in this review, we’ll find out if it’s the right audiobook provider for you.

How Does Audible Work?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 𝗢𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿 + 𝗡𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁 (@codymcbroom)

The entire Audible sign-up process is pretty straightforward. And while you can purchase audiobooks without a membership, if you’re reading this, you’re likely considering a subscription.

If so, start by signing up for a free 30-day trial. The only thing you’ll need is an Amazon account. 

As part of this free trial, you’re gifted one Audible credit. You can use this credit to purchase your first audiobook.

At the end of your trial, you can start a monthly subscription service called Audible Plus. Or Audible Premium Plus if you’re an avid audiobook listener.

Be warned though. Audible will bill you automatically if you don’t cancel your trial in time.

So if you’re forgetful like me—I’ve lost many a dollar to “free” trials—set yourself a reminder before your 30 days are up.

Though, if you’re happy to continue with Audible, and go for premium plus, you’ll receive one credit—aka one book, per month.

If you want to listen to more than one title a month, you can purchase more credits or simply pay the discounted price that comes with your membership, for the audiobook you’re interested in.

Plug your headphones in and away you go.

Audible Pricing: How Much Does Audible Cost?

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by সমন্বয় | Samanwoy (@calcutta_bibliophile)

Generally, Audible offers three types of membership, split into two time frames. Five in total.

Though they do sometimes offer promotional memberships, the standard memberships at the time of writing are as follows:

  • Audible Plus. For $7.95 a month, you gain access to a select number of audiobooks and Audible Originals. As well as podcasts.
  • Audible Premium Plus Membership. Access to the full Audible library, plus one credit per month for $14.95.
  • Audible Premium Plus Membership(2 Credits). Access to the full library, plus two credits per month for $22.95.
  • Audible Premium Plus Annual Membership (12 Credits). Full library access and 12 credits each year for $149.50.
  • Audible Premium Plus Annual Membership (24 Credits). 24 credits and full library access for $229.50 per year.

These memberships all come with exclusive discounts, audio you can listen to offline and ad-free, Audible Original podcasts and an easy exchange system. You can swap a book for free if you don’t like it.

Free Trial Available
Audible Plus

Start with a free 30-day trial of our go-to audiobook service, Audible Plus. It's a listen all you want plan with access to audiobooks, audible originals, and podcasts.

Sign Up on Amazon Read Our Review
Image source: Audible. If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Things to Consider Before Signing Up to an Audiobook Service

As with any subscription service, there are a few things to consider before diving into the financial commitment.

You might already have access. Some of your current subscriptions may give you access to audiobooks already. Amazon Prime members are allowed to listen to a limited and ever-changing number of books on Audible.

You don’t want to be paying double.

How many books do you actually read? Are you actually a keen reader or are you kidding yourself by thinking you’ll listen to 24 books in the next year?

How much time do you have? Often a key difference maker between a one or two credit membership is time. Do you have enough free time to listen to two audiobooks a month?

Will audio really make the difference? If you’re turning to audible because you don’t like reading, consider whether a different medium will really turn you into Warren Buffet. Maybe you just don’t like books. There’s nothing wrong with being a film junkie.

Audible Review

Signing Up

Signing up for Audible is incredibly easy.

All it took was an email address, password and one page of personal details.

It’ll be even less if you already have an Amazon account.

For the purpose of this review, I created a new account on Amazon and resigned up for Audible.

So I put in my email and chose my password. Then I filled out a short form of details. Things like address and phone number.

From there I had to fill in some card details for my free trial.

The whole process was incredibly streamlined. It took less than two minutes until I was up and running with a credit to spend.

The Audible Library

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Amber Leigh (@future_mrs_mayo_)

Audible has the most expansive library of audiobooks out there and breaks their book collection down into clear cut categories. This makes it super easy to find the book you’re looking for.

Most of these categories are genre-based. Sci-fi & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Health & Wellness, to name but a few.

Though they also categorize books into bestsellers and new releases. As well as Audible Originals, Theatre, and Sleep.

Basically, there are a ton of audiobooks on Audible, in any category you can think of.

Your Library

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by pagefortyfour (@pagefortyfour)

After you download an audiobook, it goes straight into your Audible library, which is accessible both via the Audible app, or via a variety of other methods outlined below.

Your library is broken down into ‘Titles’ and ‘Collections’, ‘Finished’ and ‘Unfinished’. As well as a handy ‘All’ section, showcasing your complete collection of audiobooks.

You can also search and sort titles through various filters. All of which makes finding the book you’re looking for, super easy.

Each book preview comes with a thumbnail of the front cover, the name of the author and narrator, plus a brief description of the book.

Most handy of all, Audible tells you the runtime of the book. So you can see exactly how long it will take you to listen to it.

Audible Originals

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Abbie Nickel (@abbie_reads)

You’re probably familiar with Netflix Originals, right?

Well, Audible Originals are essentially the same thing—just in audiobook format.

They are audiobooks produced by and exclusive to Audible. You can’t listen to them anywhere else.

Just like with Netflix, it’s one of Audible’s methods for outdoing its competitors. 

They attempt to produce high-quality content that the customer can’t access without signing up.

From a business point of view, they’re there to drive memberships.

From our point of view, they’re a nice little bit of exclusive content that Google Play Books don’t have. 

I like it. It makes the subscription feel more worth it. 

Audible Credits

Audible credits are the main incentive for signing up to a membership

They’re Audible’s own form of currency that you can use to buy books. One credit = one book. 

Depending on your membership, you’re given one or two credits each month. And let me tell you, they’ll save you a ton of money.

A Premium Plus membership works out to one credit per month and costs you $14.95.

So with this membership, one credit costs $14.95. And that’s forgetting the other stuff you get with a Plus membership.

If you’re not a subscriber, and you’re looking to buy, let’s say, Barack Obama’s new book, A Promised Land. It will set you back $45.50, to buy it through Audible.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Audiobook)
Check Best Price on Amazon Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

A subscriber can buy that book with one credit, equaling $14.95. Saving around $30 on one book.

If you buy the annual 24 credit subscription. Each credit costs you $9.56. And with most audiobook prices starting from at least $15, you’ll be saving money with every download.

Members can also buy more credits if they have one or less remaining, and have been on the same subscription plan for more than 30 days.

The Technology

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Zayed Hussaen (@iracky)

Sometimes the tech stuff can seem a little tricky, but one of the great things about Audible is that it’s super easy to use on a variety of different devices.

I’ll break it down for you here.

You can listen to Audible audiobooks through any of the following:

Phones & Tablets

IOS(iPhone etc). Head over to the App Store and download the free Audible app. Simply sign in to your account using the details you entered for your free trial.

Android. Same as above. Download the app from your App Store equivalent and sign in.

Windows. You guessed it. Download the app from the store.

Amazon

Fire Tablet. If you happen to have an Amazon Fire tablet, you likely have Audible built-in. Either go to your audiobooks tab or simply launch the Audible app.

Alexa. Make sure your Alexa device is signed in to your Amazon account. From there you can use voice commands to have Alexa playback your owned titles.

Mac & PC

Cloud Player. Launch a browser, log in to your Audible account and go to your library. Find the title you’re looking for and hit play. Cloud Player will then launch and begin playing your audiobook.

Apple Books. If you’re on a Mac, you can listen to audiobooks bought on Audible, through Apple Books. 

Windows 10. You can download an Audible app for Windows 10, rather than accessing it through a web browser.

And of course, all of these devices will sync to your Audible account. 

Meaning you can listen to the first hour of your book at home on the computer, then pick up where you left off later on the train. Listening through the app on your phone.

I’ve only tried the iPhone app and I found it to be super easy to use and intuitive to navigate. One big downside though is that you’re unable to purchase audiobooks from within the Audible app. This needs to be done from your Amazon account, and while this does curb impulse buys somewhat, it definitely makes the app experience less than seamless.

Additional Audible Perks

There are several other little perks that I’ve not discussed yet, that are actually some of my favorite things about Audible.

1. You Keep All Owned Books

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Samantha (@continuous_reader)

Every book that you have in your library is there to stay. Even if you cancel your subscription and you’re no longer a member, you still own all your audiobooks. Even 10 years down the line, they’ll still be yours. Ready to listen too. 

2. Audible Originals Includes Podcasts, Theater and Sleep Tracks

The exclusive content offered by Audible isn’t just limited to books. It includes podcasts, audio dramas and tracks to help you sleep. Including meditation tracks, bedtime stories and soundscapes. 

The perfect relaxation tool.

3. Discounts, Daily Deals and Free Books

I’ve mentioned the discounts before, but sometimes those member discounts stretch all the way to totally free books.

Right now, one of J.K. Rowling’s latest books, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, is completely free to UK Audible members.

Members also have access to Audible’s daily deals. Each day an audiobook is put on sale and can be bought for a significantly cheaper price.

4. Book exchange

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Marycruz Tobar (@marycxruz)

By far one of the best Audible features is its free exchange policy.

If you spent your one and only credit for the month on a book you’re not enjoying, you can return the book for free and get your credit back. 

Even better, Audible gives you an entire year to return it.

So even if it took you 12 months to get through it, because you hated it that much. First off, why do that to yourself? Secondly, you can still exchange it. 

5. Amazon Family Library

As Audible is an Amazon company, it benefits from their Household scheme.

Amazon Household allows you to share some privileges and content you pay for, with one other adult. All they need is an Amazon account of their own.

Within this scheme is the Amazon Library. This allows you to share various media that you own, such as audiobooks, with this other adult.

Not only that, but both adult accounts can share their media with up to four child accounts. So the whole family can access Audible content for the price of one.

6. Newspaper Subscription

An Audible membership also comes with the option to subscribe to newspapers, and have the latest stories delivered to your library. 

This service is completely free to members, and in the US, you can subscribe to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

What Do Other Reviewers Say About Audible?

Free Trial Available
Audible Plus

Start with a free 30-day trial of our go-to audiobook service, Audible Plus. It's a listen all you want plan with access to audiobooks, audible originals, and podcasts.

Sign Up on Amazon Read Our Review
Image source: Audible. If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Do a Google search for Audible reviews and you’ll generally find two conflicting opinions. 

There are reviews like this one. Deep dives into Audible and exactly what it offers. 

These tend to be quite positive.

Most reviewers agree that Audible is the best audiobook service on the market.

They rave about the huge array of titles that Audible has to offer, and many praise the platform for it’s accessibility. 

I can’t argue with that, it is incredibly easy to navigate Audible.

And to my surprise—knowing that Audible is the most expensive audiobook provider, many reviewers said the price was reasonable and affordable.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Stephanie (@theespressoedition)

These reviews go on to offer a generous handful of stars, but they also recognise that Audible isn’t for everyone.

Say hello to Audible’s Trust Pilot rating of “1.7—Bad.”

At the time of writing, 223 reviews have been given on the US version of Audible. And 72 % of them are “Bad”, compared to 12% for “Excellent”.

Of most concern, many of these reviews talk about Amazon scamming or stealing from the customer.

There’s talk of Amazon still charging after cancellation, taking money without the customer’s knowledge and illegally opening an account without a customer’s consent.

Almost all of the negative reviews talk about money or being charged by Amazon without knowledge or consent.

Personally, while I sympathize with these customers, I think you have to take these reviews with a pinch of salt. They’re likely no more than mistakes and misunderstandings.

Think about how many users Audible has. In the US last year, audiobook sales generated over $1.2B

Are we really expecting no mistakes to be made in a market that huge?

Though if you are put off by that Trust Pilot rating—I get it, it is alarmingly low. But there are some alternatives.

Audible Alternatives

Though Audible is by far the largest audiobook platform, these are some other competitors worth mentioning: 

Google Play Books

What I Like

  • No subscription needed

  • A little more affordable

What I Don’t Like

  • Smaller library

The Verdict

Google Play Books is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Audible. It might be smaller at the moment, but that’s likely because Google only launched their audiobook service in 2018. 

With Google Audiobooks, there’s no need for a subscription. And a quick look at Google’s prices will show you that their audiobooks are equal to or often cheaper than Audible.

So Audible might provide more value for an avid reader, but Google will save you money if you don’t need 24 credits per year.

The only downside is that Google currently has fewer titles to offer listeners.


Kobo Audiobooks

What I Like

  • More affordable

What I Don’t Like

  • Smaller collection

  • Limited access at times

The Verdict

Kobo is very similar to Audible. It’s memberships work in a similar way and it has many of the latest titles. 

The upside is that it’s generally cheaper than audible.

The downsides are a smaller range of books, and occasionally some titles not being available in your country. 


Librivox

What I Like

  • Free

What I Don’t Like

  • Features quite a few old books

  • Community submissions

The Verdict

The great thing about Librivox is that it’s free. The downside is that you won’t be finding any of the latest titles on there. 

The Librivox library is made up of old classics that are no longer copyrighted and community submissions from the public.


Downpour

What I Like

  • More affordable

What I Don’t Like

  • Fewer titles

  • Clunkier technology

The Verdict

This site also works in a similar way to audible. It’s a little bit cheaper but gives you access to far fewer titles. 

Downpour is also a little behind in terms of tech—you need to purchase books through your desktop browser. You can listen to titles on a mobile, but can’t buy them.


My Overall Thoughts on Audible

What I Like

  • The narration. Matthew McConaughey has one hell of a voice. I downloaded his new book, Greenlights, and he sounds way smoother than I do reading a book.

    It made the book even more enjoyable and relaxing.

  • The time. Turns out you can listen to a book far quicker than reading one. Or maybe I’m just a slow reader.

    Greenlights has a run time of just over six hours. I’d have probably taken at least 20 to read it. 

    I can read way more books with Audible, without ever reading a single page.

  • The Tech. I’ve found Audible’s website both visually appealing and easy to use from start to finish. It’s also super accessible on most devices.

What I Don’t Like

  • I’m a little old fashioned. What can I say? I like a traditional book. I’ve always been the old man in my friendship group and I’m starting to see why.

  • Audiobooks are expensive. I still don’t understand why an audiobook is more expensive than an actual book. But at least the membership makes it reasonable.

  • I can’t focus on the book. One of the biggest selling points for audiobooks is that you can listen to them on go, or even do other tasks while you’re listening. But for me, that just means I’m not taking in the information, and the book goes in one ear and out the other.

Who Is Audible For?

I think the key difference between the feedback on Audible is how much you love audiobooks. 

If you enjoy listening to audiobooks and you easily consume multiple titles per month, you’ll love Audible. 

It’ll also work for you if you already love audiobooks, and you like regular books, but you want to transition to audio and be more productive.

It seems to me that the people who don’t have a good experience with Audible, are people who are new to audiobooks. Or people that don’t listen to enough of them each month to make the subscription worth it.

It really is as simple as that.

If you love audiobooks, you’ll likely love Audible.

If you’re not so keen, perhaps try Google’s service—it doesn’t tie you into a subscription.

The Verdict: Is Audible Worth It?

Audible is worth it, provided you’ll actually listen to more than one book a month. 

It’s straight up in telling you exactly what it’s about and how much it will cost.

For anyone from the middle of the range to hardcore audiobook fans, the price is well worth it.

For a reasonable monthly fee, you get access to a huge catalogue of audiobooks. Including loads of new releases and best sellers. As well as all the classics.

You also get tons of neat perks to make the subscription price worth it.

If you’re not going to listen to more than one book a month, then I’d stay away. But if you really love your audiobooks. Audible may add a lot of genuine value to your life.

Free Trial Available
Audible Plus

Start with a free 30-day trial of our go-to audiobook service, Audible Plus. It's a listen all you want plan with access to audiobooks, audible originals, and podcasts.

Sign Up on Amazon Read Our Review
Image source: Audible. If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

How many books does Audible have?

Audible’s library contains over 200,000 titles.

What is an Audible Original?

Audible Originals are titles that are exclusive to Audible. You can’t listen to them anywhere else. They include audiobooks, podcasts, audio dramas and sleep aids.

How much do books cost on Audible?

Audiobooks range in price but are often more expensive than hard copies. Some of the older titles can be bought for around $15. But the new releases and best sellers tend to be anywhere between $25 and $45.

How do you cancel an Audible membership?

To cancel your membership, log into your account and go to Account Details. 

On this page, you’ll see your current membership status. Underneath that is an option to switch or cancel your membership.

From there Amazon will try to convince you to stay, but just follow the cancellations buttons and in a few pages you’ll no longer be subscribed.

TAM's Top April Picks Under $50

Bespoke Post Weekender
Get 20% off by following our links
Check Best Price
Armaf Club De Nuit Intense Man
Quality, affordable Creed Aventus clone
Check Best Price on Amazon
If you click these links and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.