Amazon Audible: What is it and should you get it?
Learn about Amazon's Audible platform, including membership cost, available audiobooks, and listening options, and decide if it's right for you.
Amazon Audible in ten words...
For a monthly fee, get a discounted audiobook every month.
What's the fee and what does it specifically include?
The first 30 days are part of an Audible free trial. After that, the Audible subscription is $14.95 per month.
An audiobook is simply a narrated version of a traditional book. Same words, except instead of reading them, you listen to them. A narrator speaks and records a book's content for you to download (like you would a song). Authors sometimes double as their narrators, but often a voiceover artist reads the story. For certain titles, these are famous actors and actresses you’d likely recognize.
You can buy standalone books on Audible or opt for a membership (AKA subscription). This article is mainly about the Amazon Audible membership, which has the potential to save you a lot of money vs. buying audiobooks as a non-member.
The non-subscriber price for Audible books tends to be much higher, with many titles well over $30.00. For a flat $14.95, a member can listen to any audiobook in the catalogue each month regardless of its list price.
If you don’t happen to download a book one month, the opportunity doesn’t go to waste. You simply receive a credit (ex, you can download two the next month). Members can pile up credits for five months until expiration.
Members also get access to two Audible Originals each month. These are titles Audible produces (as opposed to a traditional book publisher or an author personally), and are only available on the platform (ex, no version exists on Kindle or as a paperback).
Each month, six new Audible Original titles are released. You can download any two without using your monthly credit. They're bonuses.
What types of books are on Audible?
In brief, almost any type you can imagine. Fiction and non-fiction across multiple genres. Plus podcasts and other spoken media.
The vast majority of well-known titles are on there, ex books from big-name authors like Stephen King, Dan Brown, Liane Moriarty, John Grisham, and Gillian Flynn.
A lot of indie books are available too.
To check out the full range of titles and see what your favorite authors are up to on there, take advantage of the free trial. You can browse the entire catalogue and choose up to two free Audible books in your first 30 days.
How do you actually listen to your chosen books?
Download the Audible app. It's available for many products, such as iPhones, Android phones, Fire tablets, and Alexa devices.
The app itself is free. You simply pay for your $14.95/month membership. You can listen on as many devices as you want. No additional fees apply, and content syncs between them. Ex, start a story at home on your tablet and finish it on the train the next morning on your phone.
I do my reading/listening on an Amazon Fire HD tablet. If you have an older device and want to upgrade to this one or another newer model, Amazon offers a generous trade-in program.
Is Audible part of Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited?
Amazon audiobooks come from three major sources, with Audible the central hub. Amazon Prime audiobooks and Kindle Unlimited audiobooks are the other channels.
Prime members get access to some Audible books, plus some podcasts, as part of their membership to that service without having to subscribe to Audible too. Similarly, Kindle Unlimited members can access over 2,000 Audible books without subscribing.
However, for discounted listening to Amazon's full catalogue of over 425,000 titles, you'd need an Audible membership regardless if you use Prime, Kindle Unlimited, or both.
Kindle Unlimited’s main benefit doesn't involve audiobooks, but as the name suggests, Kindle books, providing uncapped access to over 1 million. If you’d like to know more about that service, check out another article I wrote that gives a Kindle Unlimited overview.
Is an Audible membership for you?
If you answer yes to most of these questions, an Audible membership is probably a good idea:
In my opinion, #2 is a key question. Listening to audiobooks could be your favorite hobby you haven't even tried. It may be for you if:
You're a multi-tasker. You can enjoy this version of a story while doing something else. Ex, listen while you drive. Or work out. Or clean out the garage.
You have lighting challenges. If you often struggle to find good lighting to read, audiobooks wipe out the problem for you. Just pop in the headphones and hit "play," no matter where you are or how bright it is.
You're an audiophile. Ie, you love music, radio shows, and other sound-based entertainment. Voice adds to the sensory experience of a story. If you particularly like that sort of entertainment, narration may really resonate with you.
However, as mentioned, the only way to see if Audible is really for you is to check out the free trial.