Audible is a web-based audio library you’ve likely heard of by now. At the very least, you’ve heard of the company that’s behind Audible — Amazon. In this post we’re going to discuss Audible memberships, and whether subscribing to Audible makes sense for you.
Before we can evaluate whether an Audible subscription is a good deal for you, however, it’s important to first discuss some more details about Audible and audiobooks themselves.
What is Audible?
As stated earlier, Audible is an online audio library and store that has over 200,000 titles available for download. Regardless of which genre you prefer, Audible will surely carry hundreds and more likely even thousands of audiobooks that are suitable for you.
What are Audiobooks?
Audiobooks are a recording of a text being read. Remember when you were a child and your parents would read you a book before you went to sleep? Audiobooks are the same thing — only better.
When you were a kid, you had to ensure mom or dad were home to read you a book. Plus, even if they were home, they may not have had the energy or inclination to read with you. With audiobooks, you can listen to a book anytime you’d like.
The quality of narration on audiobooks can vary. Many audiobooks are produced in a studio with a professional narrator or even the author himself narrating the book for your listening pleasure.
Why Should I Listen to Audiobooks?
As someone that grew up in love with traditional books, I once thought along the same lines myself. These days, however, I consume far more audiobooks than traditional books. The reason why is very simple.
Traditional books can be constricting. Whether it’s a physical book, or an ebook on your Kindle, it’s difficult to effectively read text and do anything else.
Cleaning the house and reading a book simultaneously? Don’t bother. It’s a waste of time. Trying to read text and doing basically anything else at the same time virtually always results in limited comprehension and/or poor performance on your other task.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case with audiobooks. The great thing about audiobooks is that listening is far less intrusive to your day than reading. It’s easy to drive, walk, or clean at the same time you listen to an audiobook.
I’ve listened to a couple books this week just during my commutes around town. You could easily do the same.
An additional benefit of audiobooks is that because they are so easy to consume, it’s possible to get through many more books than if you were relying on traditional books and trying to find a quiet place to sit each day.
Alternatively, you could simply listen to particularly valuable books multiple times to more deeply internalize their key concepts.
How Does Audible Work?
Audible is a monthly subscription based service. You pay a monthly fee which provides you with either one or two credits. These credits can be exchanged for any audiobook in Audible’s 200,000+ title catalog.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re desired title is a long book, short book, highly ranked classic, or New York Times Bestseller. If it’s in the Audible catalog, you can get it for just one credit.
While the available Audible plans are subject to change in the future, as of early 2018, there are four main plans you’ll want to consider. They are as follows:
Gold Monthly — You are charged $14.95/month and receive 1 credit each month.
Platinum Monthly — You are charged $22.95/month and receive 2 credits each month.
Gold Annual — You are charged $149.50/year upfront (averages out to be about $12.46/month) and receive 1 credit each month.
Platinum Annual — You are charged $229.50/year upfront (averages out to be about $19.13/month) and receive 2 credits each month.
Which Audible Plan Should I Choose?
If you’re on a very limited budget, or simply don’t anticipate you’ll listen to very many audiobooks, a gold membership would obviously make more sense for you. If you’re a voracious consumer of audio, you’ll get a better deal going the platinum route.
Regardless of whether you choose a gold or platinum membership for Audible, you can save a good deal of money by paying annually upfront rather than monthly. In fact, it looks by paying upfront, you can save about two months of subscription fees per year versus if you were paying things monthly.
Choose Your Audible Plan Here
What Happens If I Forget to Exchange My Credits?
Life is hectic. Most of us will forget to exchange our Audible credits for an audiobook at some point. Fortunately, this isn’t a big deal.
Audible allows your credits to rollover from one month to another a reasonable amount of times. If you forget to grab books for a month or two, you won’t have wasted your money. If you don’t use your account for a year, however, you’ll likely find that some of your credits have been forfeited.
Provided you download books at least every quarter of the year or so, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Do I Get to Keep My Audible Books Forever?
Yes, if you purchase an audiobook on Audible you’ll have access to it forever. Even if you cancel your Audible subscription, you’ll still have access to the title in your Audible library.
In other words, Audible is less like Netflix, and more like being a member of a premium library. A library without the wait lists and with audiobooks delivered digitally and instantaneously for you to keep forever.
What Are the Other Pros of an Audible Subscription?
Apart from being able to keep books forever, and likely allowing you to consume more great books, an Audible subscription also has a number of other benefits. While this post would become overly wordy and tedious for you to read if we went into all of these benefits in complete detail, here are some short descriptions of the more notable benefits.
Free Trial — You can try Audible for free for 30 days. The best part about this, however, is that your free subscription comes with two free books (two credits).
Discounts & Sales — Audible members have exclusive sales and daily deals not available to consumers without an active Audible subscription. In addition, an Audible membership also entitles you to 30% off the list price of audiobooks on Audible (if you already used up your credits, or would prefer to pay cash instead of use credits for some reason).
Exchanges — If you’re not vibing with your selected audiobook, you can exchange your audiobook for another. Provided you use this feature as it was intended and don’t have it revoked by abusing it to try to get 10 free books every month, your membership status basically guarantees you’ll never have to deal with buyer’s remorse.
Offline Access — You can download any audiobooks from your account onto the Audible app on your phone or tablet. This allows you to listen to your book without using any data or wi-fi.
Adjustable Speed — Audible allows you to adjust the speed of your narrator’s book. If English is not your first language, this allows you to more easily understand the book. A slow playback speed could also help you if you’re trying to take notes or digest a dense text.
Alternatively, you could also listen to the book more quickly. This could greatly ease the boredom of listening to a slow narrator, and/or simply allow you to get through books more quickly.
Sleep Timer — If you’re me, and you like listening to books before bed, you’ll love this feature. Audible allows you to set a sleep timer for either up to an hour later or at the end of a chapter so that you can save your device’s battery, and avoid losing your place in your book.
If this sounds good to you, sign up for audible here.
What Are the Cons of Audible?
No product/service is perfect. While an Audible membership has many benefits, it also has its fair share of drawbacks. Our goal with this post isn’t to sell Audible to you.
Rather, we want to help you avoid buyer’s remorse and only purchase an Audible subscription if doing so makes sense for you. With that being said, here are some of the biggest cons of Audible:
Subscription Fee — An Audible membership isn’t a one-time purchase. It’s an ongoing expense. If you’re not actively listening to the books in your library, they can quickly accumulate. Obviously, if you never get around to listening to these books, they end up being a waste of money.
If you bought audiobooks only when you had a burning desire to listen to something rather than simply picking one up each month, it’s far more likely you’d listen to the books in your library.
Lost Credits — Recall earlier we mentioned that your credits are only allowed to rollover a limited amount of times? This is a big con if you’re inactive or purchasing an Audible membership with someone that is likely to forget about downloading new books every now and then.
Inappropriate Medium — Some people feel that there are books that lose some of their value by being listened to rather than read. While this isn’t technically a criticism of Audible itself, it may be something to keep in mind.
Inconsistent Narration Quality — Many books have excellent professional narrators. Even better, is listening to your favorite author narrate their own book. I recommend listening to The Power of Now on Audible if you want to feel deeply spiritual and present to the moment.
Unfortunately, not all books are narrated in such a great fashion. Occasionally, it can be a pain to get through a book on Audible because of its poor narration.
Lower Engagement — While some will debate this, many people feel that listening to a book is less engaging than reading it. You may or may not find your mind wandering more often while listening to an audiobook versus reading a paperback.
English Language Nuances — One could argue that reading text is important because it allows you to soak in the subtleties of the English language. A frequent reader for example is far more likely to use a semicolon or hyphen correctly versus a non-reader.
Reading text may also more strongly contribute to your development as a competent writer versus consuming most of your information as audio. I am not advocating or casting aside this belief. Rather, I’m mentioning it simply to bring it into your conscious awareness and allow you to decide what you think.
Conclusion: Is Audible Worth it in 2018?
There’s a reason Audible is the service of choice for audiobook lovers. It has a HUGE selection of high quality books and a reasonable subscription fee. Most people would benefit from consuming more high quality information.
Paying $15 or $25 a month to listen to uplifting or information-dense books could be seen as an investment in yourself. It’s also an investment that’s likely to pay large dividends in the future.
If someone in my family asked if it was worth paying $15 or $20 a month for an Audible subscription I’d advise them to jump on that Audible subscription today! It certainly beats listening to the news and all the fear mongering happening on television. Therefore, I’d say that for almost everyone, an Audible subscription makes sense.
Perhaps the only exceptions are if you’re struggling to put food on the table or are from a developing country where $15 or $20 represents a considerable portion of your monthly. If you find that is the case for you, fear not. I’ll offer you some advice later.
For everyone else, yes, an Audible subscription is probably well worth it for you. Here’s what I’d recommend you do now. Get a free trial of Audible. From there, download a free audiobook (pro tip: listen to a preview of the audiobook to see its narration quality before purchasing it) and see if you enjoy the experience of listening to audiobooks on your computer or mobile device.
If you do, great. Choose the Audible plan most appropriate for you and continue enjoying Audible on an ongoing basis.
If not, cancel your membership. The only thing you lost was the time it took you to read this article (which is already a sunk cost) and a few minutes browsing Audible’s catalog.
Again, Audible free trial’s have no monetary cost to you if you decide Audible isn’t for you and you cancel within 30 days.
Click Here To Get Your Free Trial For Audible Today!
Disclaimer: If you get a free trial for Audible (or subscribe to one of their paid plans) using one of the links on this page, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I use these commissions to help fund this site and offset the time it takes to produce honest in-depth content for you.
If you decide Audible is a suitable product for you I’d appreciate you signing up through one of my links. Of course, if for some reason you are opposed to this, you can open a new tab in your browser and sign up to Audible without using one of my links.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed this post (check out our archives for more content)!
BONUS: What to Do If You Don’t Have Money For Audible
As I said earlier, my intention with this post isn’t to sell you on Audible. I think it’s a great service and I believe people would find more success and fulfillment in their lives if they invested in educational tools such as Audible.
With that being said, not all of us are able to incur an additional monthly expense at this time. If money is tight, here’s what I’d recommend to you. First, enjoy all the free content there is online. This blog has hundreds of free self-development and travel articles. Plus, if this blog isn’t entertaining enough for you I also have a Youtube channel! 😉
Jokes and self-promotion aside, your best bet if you can’t currently afford an Audible membership is to enjoy podcasts. Brilliant minds such as Jordan Peterson, and Tim Ferriss consistently put out excellent free content on iTunes.
Regardless of your specific interest, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be able to find a podcast that discusses it.
If you’re not into podcasts, the other alternative I’d recommend checking out is Librivox. Librivox is a volunteer-backed project that has thousands of free public domain books available for your enjoyment.
These books are available in both text and audio forms. I’m a huge fan of Librivox titles like the Science of Being Great.
The only downside to Librivox is that it only has books that have had their copyrights expire and are now in the public domain. In other words, you’re not going to be seeing any Stephen King, or Neil Strauss in Librivox.
With that being said, Librivox is a decent alternative to Audible until you get your finances right. I think Audible is worth it for most consumers, but there are certainly people that Librivox or podcasts may serve better.
Regardless of the source, the most important thing is you continually feed your mind with new ideas and valuable information 🙂