Home & Garden

Audible Review: Can You Listen To Your Heart’s Content?

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Audible app on phone with Kindle book.

If you, like me, love books in all forms, you have probably dabbled in the wonderful world of audiobooks. Audiobooks allow us to take a book with us literally wherever we go. A dull day of laundry or paperwork can become a vibrant adventure with the introduction of services like Audible. Audible, owned by retail and entertainment powerhouse Amazon, has a massive selection and may be the most well-known platform for accessing audiobooks, but is it worth the investment in membership?

I’ve been an Audible customer since 2011 and recently took an in-depth look at the platform to get answers to some of the most frequent questions readers have. So, if you’ve been wondering how much an Audible membership costs, how the platform works, and if it’s worth your hard-earned dollar, I’ve got the answers. Let’s get into it.

Visit Audible.com

audible logo 250 png

Product Name: Audible

Product Description: Audible offers the world's largest selection of audiobooks and podcasts to listen to. It is available on multiple devices and operating systems.

Summary

Audible offers an unrivaled and vast selection of audiobooks and podcasts that you can take with you anywhere. The app has several features that make listening easy and enjoyabe. With 24 categories and hundreds of subcategories, there are titles to suit every reader’s palate. Audible is a top choice for many and has brought the world of immersive reading to millions of readers worldwide. 

Overall Score

4.3
  • Variety Of Audiobooks
  • Audio Player Quality
  • Pricing
  • Customer Support
  • Additional Features

Pros

  • Unrivaled selection
  • Exclusive content
  • Membership is not required to purchase audiobooks
  • Excellent search features
  • Instant downloads
  • Easy to use app
  • Can listen to quality samples before you buy
  • Exchange books you don’t like
  • Customer reviews are a great source for deciding on titles
  • Cancel any time and keep all of your audiobooks
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Discounts for members

Cons

  • High price
  • No rental options
  • Doesn’t offer CDs
  • Several users complain that the player is clunky and difficult to navigate
  • Lots of customer complaints about the cancellation process
  • Streaming is only available with an Amazon Prime membership
  • Some longtime users do not like newer updates
  • Not included in Prime Membership

Consumer Reviews

0 0 votes
Reader Rating

This is the aggregate score of reader reviews we’ve received. Have a good or bad experience with Audible? Feel free to leave your own review in the comments. Please note that only ratings with valid review content will be published and counted.

Key Features

Audible catalog bestsellers screenshot.
  • Over 200,000 audiobook and podcast titles
  • Talented narrators, including authors and award-winning actors
  • All the main literary genres and hundreds of categories, including Spanish-language channels
  • Membership gives you 30% off all audiobooks and exclusive promotions (up to 75% off select books)
  • You get free books (one or two per month with membership)
  • Compatible with Apple, Android, and Windows smartphones, MacBooks and tablets, Kindle, Fire tablets, Alexa devices, Echo devices, iTunes, and Windows PCs
  • Audible Originals: access to original audio series and podcasts
  • Access to The Great Courses, including exclusive courses, offering a wide variety of immersive educational experiences
  • Sleep Collection: a curated collection of stories, soundscapes, sound baths, meditations, and more created to help you sleep and relax any time
  • WhisperSync feature: on the Kindle tablet and app, you can seamlessly switch between reading and listening
  • Android Auto app to use when in the car
  • Listen through the Waze app and get directions at the same time
  • Spatial audio (surround sound) is available through Dolby Atmos-enabled devices

How Does Audible Work?

Audible offers over 200,000 book titles and podcasts, so there is something for everyone to listen to. It’s fairly user-friendly, and you can get started listening in just minutes. You set up an account and start to build your personal library. Audible works on iOS, OS X, Android, Windows, and Amazon Alexa and Echo devices. The app is free on Amazon App Store, iTunes, and the Google Play Store.

There are a few different ways you can listen to and enjoy books. A huge perk is that you get access to many titles and programs that are exclusive to the platform. The quality of content and narration set Audible far ahead of most other platforms. While you won’t love every narrator (I know I don’t), some will truly speak to your heart and open you up to new titles.

Is Audible Free With Prime?

This is an often-asked question, and the answer is no. Prime members do not get an automatic or free Audible subscription. However, you don’t require a Prime membership to get a subscription to access audiobooks. That said, Prime Members get access to a select number of eBooks through Prime Reading, some of which include Audible narration.

Do I Need An Audible Subscription To Listen To Audiobooks?

No, you do not need a subscription to listen to audiobooks. You can purchase them through Amazon. To be clear, you will need an Amazon account but not a membership. You must also download the app to play your titles.

How Much Is Audible Per Month?

The answer depends on the Audible membership you choose. You have three options for membership: Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus (1 or 2 credits). There are a few significant differences between them, including price.

Audible Plus vs Audible Premium Plus

Audible PlusAudible Premium Plus
(1 Credit)
Audible Premium Plus
(2 Credits)
Books IncludedPlus Catalog (1,000s books, podcasts, meditation tracks, Audible Originals)Plus Catalog + Audible Plus titles, extended new releases, bestsellersPlus Catalog + Audible Plus titles, extended new releases, bestsellers
Download Books OfflineGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Access To Books/Month1 Credit/Book/mo2 Credits/Books/mo
Monthly Price$7.95$14.95$22.95
Annual Price$149.50$229.50
30 Day Free TrialGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Access to Daily Deals & 30% DiscountsGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Unused Credits Rollover*Green checkmark Green checkmark
Purchase Additional CreditsGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
* Unused monthly membership credits, purchased credits, gift credits, return credits, and complimentary and promotional credits are redeemable for up to 1 year. Membership credits billed through Google Play and the App Store do not expire.

Coupon

You can test drive membership with a 30-day free trial. Use this link to get 2 free books to try Audible for the first time!

Membership Advantage: The Audible Plus Catalog

Below, I offer just a sample of the vast titles contained in the Plus Catalog.

Audible Plus Catalog books and podcasts screenshot.
The Plus Catalog and podcasts are categorized so you can find recommendations based on what you like or have already listened to. There really is something here for everyone.

Using The Audible App

Visit Audible.com

Audible app showing profile and library screenshots.
Here’s what your profile, library, and personal collections look like on the Android Audible app.

A big draw for Audible is how simple the app is to use. It is essentially the same on all platforms and simple to navigate. Once you have downloaded the app, you set up your profile, notifications, light or dark mode, etc.

In your profile, you can access your account details, access customer support, reading achievements, listening history, and more. The Home tab shows you a snapshot of your activity, books in progress, and suggestions for deals, new listens, and more. You can also access your library and the title catalog. The Discover tab shows you new options for listening and offers suggestions based on your reading history.

There are currently 24 categories or genres to select from. Under each of these are several subcategories. Some have just a couple, while others, like Sports & Outdoors, have over 30. An entire category is dedicated to Children’s Audiobooks, with 20 subcategories.

What Does The Audio Player Look Like?

Below, I share some examples of what it looks like to use the audio player. I’ve selected a title I want to read. I chose to add this book to my library.

Audible player and chapters app screnshots.
This is what the player looks like when in use. The chapter breakdown shows the listening time of each chapter in the app.

Do Audible Credits Expire?

Credits can expire, but it depends on the type of credit. The chart below explains the types of credits and when/if they expire.

Credit TypeExpiration Date
Membership credit is given through a membership plan billed through Amazon/Audible12 months from issue date
IOS APP Store membership credit as part of a membership plan billed through the App StoreNo expiration
Google Play membership creditsNo expiration
Return Credit 12 months from issue date
Extra credits purchased by you through the app12 months from the purchase date
Credits purchased through the Google Play Store or the App StoreNo expiration even after cancellation
Gift credits12 months from issue date
Complimentary credits12 months from issue date
Special or promotional credit12 months from issue date

My Personal Experience With Audible

I like Audible for a variety of reasons. I started using it many years ago when working in a public education classroom. At the time, I worked with students who had disabilities, and many had trouble reading the traditional way. The audiobooks were an especially useful tool and enjoyable activity for my students. I purchased a subscription myself to help a family member with speech and reading disabilities.

There are a few little-known features that make the platform even better. For example, I can share my favorite titles with other people. The first time I share a title with someone, they can listen to it and download it for free.

Another feature I like is the ability to listen to Audible titles on my Kindle. The ability to cross platforms like that is something I really like, and it allows me to listen and read my favorite titles as I move from device to device. I can add narration to certain Kindle titles, which I appreciate.

An audiobook is a perfect option when I want to relax and unwind. While I love reading, sometimes my eyes simply need a break after being on a computer all day. Listening to a book with a narrator who does the content justice allows me to truly disengage from the screen and all the distractions that come with it.

The blue light from screens keeps our minds stimulated and throws off our circadian rhythms. According to Harvard Health, blue light impacts melatonin secretion more powerfully than other kinds of light. That affects our quality and quantity of sleep. Audiobooks allow the mind to wind down and relax without overworking the eyes or disrupting our sleep cycle.

Audible is a more expensive option than other audiobook platforms, but for avid readers, it is worth the extra dollars in quality, selection, and ease of use. That said, there may be better deals for some. If you only listen to a couple of books a month, the Plus membership is a more economical choice, though it limits your selection.

More Personal Experience With Audible

I generally get audiobooks from Libby, my local library’s download system, but the waiting time for popular, current books can take months or even a year to get! So, when I am really excited to get started on a book, Audible is the best place to go. I can always get it there with no delays, and often, they offer a free trial for a month to try to convince me to sign up for longer. A few years back, I did get a yearlong membership and enjoyed it, but I did not find that I used it enough to make the membership fee worthwhile. But if you love to read current books, Audible is the way to go, in my opinion!

Michelle Schenker, Avid Audiobook Listener and Safe Smart Living Editor

Consumer Feedback

I found a variety of feedback, both positive and negative. I took a look to see what other consumers were saying about the platform, its selection, and its features. Predominantly, the reviews are positive, though there are some complaints about the player quality, as well as a lack of advanced features. Some customers took issue with the customer service, while others found it to be very helpful. Others would like to see the app work on more devices.

Praise

Audible changed my entire outlook on reading.I love books and love to read, but I don’t have the time with a growing family and challenging career to keep up with everything I want to read. Audible is the one thing that keeps me connected to my favorite authors, new books on topics I enjoy, and now podcasts as well. For my commute, business trips, picking up my kids from school (which now takes an hour due to distancing precautions), I’m able to stay entertained and informed thanks to Audible.

-Eric H., Sitejabber 10/25/2021

I can’t get enough of this app. When I found the discovery and realized I could get books for free I have used the app every day. As a teacher, wife and Mother being able to escape for a little while is good for me and everyone around me. I LOVE TO READ, but didn’t always have the time. Now I can listen while shopping, driving and even cleaning. What I think they need to change is in the Discovery section allow you to put in included in membership then pick genres. I get a little frustrated scrolling, finding a book then realizing it is not included. I use my 1 credit when I get it and done in couple of days. Have 27 days left and need to use free library- just wish that was easier to navigate. Other than that if a Prime member the cost is SO WORTH IT. One other quick note LOVE THE INFO WHEN CLICK ON BOOK it help me decide if I want it or not easily. If you love to read and don’t have time this app is a must!

-Lori B., Sitejabber 6/5/2022

Complaints

One of the largest concerns consumers have is the price and whether it is worth the higher expense. That, and the credit expirations, are a big turn-off for some. In more recent months, some users have had issues with the app working on newer phones and have expressed frustration over problems with playing content.

The gift subscription is a joke. If the recipient has ever been a member, they don’t actually receive the full gift. Either credits or the subscription, but not both. It’s poor advertising and keeping this detail in small wording below the selections is a shady practice. Thanks, Audible – you have lost my business.

-Meridith M. Sitejabber 12/4/23

Many longtime users have complaints over changes to the app, the audio player, and how they can access titles on different devices. The discontinuation of the Windows app for Windows PCs is a sore spot for some long-term listeners.

I own 67 titles, After the latest updates the app continually shut it’s self off in the middle of listening was told there’s no way to fix it. I’ve contacted audible before they told me to uninstall and reinstall books which I’ve done and then they told me to uninstall and install the app which I’ve done and now they’ve taken to just Ignoring me as this issue is ongoing and unresolvable.

-Sam C., Sitejabber 6/8/23

Is Audible Worth It?

Is Audible worth it? The answer depends greatly on your reading and listening habits and budget. For me, it is 100% worth it. I have been an avid reader since I was an incredibly young child, and audiobooks have opened a whole new way to enjoy books. I listen to several books monthly, so the monthly credits are an excellent way to get newer titles at a discount.

Audible has several titles exclusive to the service, and I would likely not read as many of them if I were not using the audiobook format. I prefer the Premium Plus plan because I do re-listen to books and have specific titles I want to be sure I always have access to. If you are someone who does not need to hang on to things that way, the Plus plan may be a better option.

If you only listen to audiobooks occasionally or want to purchase a couple for a trip or other specific use, membership may not be the way to go. You can buy the books you want, albeit at a higher price than those with a subscription. Of course, you can always try out a membership for 30 days to see how it works for you.

5 Audible Tips For Better Listening

There are a few tips I have to share that will make your listening experience a bit better.

Audible sample and modes screenshots.
Try out a sample before committing your credit to a title or use the narration speed to read books faster.
  1. Try A Sample First – One of the biggest tips I have is to try a sample first. Sometimes, a narrator just does not jive with what you want to hear. Before buying the book or using your credit, try the sample first. Most are a good four to five minutes, so you really get a feel for if you like the way things are going. This is important because you don’t want to get stuck listening to hours of a voice that you just don’t like. I learned that the hard way. The narrator is a huge part of what makes an audiobook enjoyable, and not everyone has the same likes and dislikes.
  2. Start With Something Fun – Start with something fun. You don’t want to jump into audiobooks by reading something profoundly serious or dry, especially if this is your first try. You may also want to try something shorter; a twelve-hour audiobook is a lot to take on and may not be the best pick if you haven’t tried one before.
  3. Don’t Listen During Important Work – While some folks can listen to audiobooks while working or doing other productive tasks, it’s hard to focus on anything else if you haven’t listened to many. Start by listening when exercising, cleaning the house, or relaxing. They are awesome to listen to in the car. Then, as you get more used to how they work, incorporate them into your schedule. Filing paperwork is much more exciting when listening to science fiction or fantasy novels. That drive home can be an amazing opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge. Why not learn about investing, pottery, music, or current events rather than letting that road rage or fatigue set in?
  4. Find Your Speed – Titles are automatically set at a particular playback speed, but you can speed them up or slow them down to find that perfect flow for you.
  5. Use Your Credits Wisely Don’t use your credits on books that are less than $14.95. That’s the membership price, so to get the best deal, use those monthly credits for books that cost more. Don’t waste it on a lower-priced book, and keep your eye on those daily deals to score even more savings.

A Bit Of History: When Did Audible Get Its Start?

Of course, Audible is largely associated with Amazon, but the audiobook pioneer has been around far longer than most people realize. The company Audible Inc. was founded in 1995, and while currently owned by Amazon, it is not a product of Amazon. It was started in 1995 by Don Katz, author and former journalist. While out on a jog one day. Listening to a cassette player, Kats realized there might be an easier way to listen on the go through downloadable digital files.

Katz ran with the idea and founded Audible. The company grew from an idea and took off, releasing several audio players and going public on NASDAQ. In 2001, the platform partnered with beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams to release a weekly downloadable audio show (essentially a podcast before podcasts were a thing).

In 2003, the company began to provide audiobooks to iTunes, and then, in 2004, it expanded to offer German audiobooks. Other markets, including the UK and France, soon followed. In 2008, the company joined forces with Amazon, exponentially expanding its reach and customer access to audiobooks. Since this merger, the platform has expanded to 180 countries, offers content in 47 languages, added a self-publishing marketplace, introduced voice and immersion reading technology, and worked towards philanthropic efforts. Audible’s founder, Don Katz, stayed heavily involved with the company, serving as the executive chairman until 2022.

So, while the platform does operate under Amazon’s colossal umbrella, it is helpful to understand that it is not simply another service or streaming platform. It is now, and always has been, a platform entirely dedicated to providing high-quality audiobook and audio content to an expanding group of readers and listeners. Audible is currently the most popular and wide-reaching audiobook platform, with the largest selection of titles.

Frequently Asked Questions

As with any streaming service, of course, you have questions. I answer some of the top queries below, but if I missed yours, let me know in the comments.

If I Cancel Audible, Do I Keep My Books?

Yes, you can keep any books purchased during your membership. These can be books purchased with monthly credits or additional credits you have purchased. You can listen to these titles using the app at any time.

How Do I Return A Book To Audible?

You may be wondering how to return a book to Audible. While we all want to love every book we start reading or listening to, the truth is sometimes we don’t. The good news is you can return books fairly easily if you are a Premium Plus member in good standing. Books purchased with a credit within 365 days of purchase are eligible for return.

You cannot return or exchange titles if you’re not a Premium Plus member. If you are a member but are not in good standing, you may have to wait a certain amount of time or contact customer support to reinstate your return/exchange privileges. I have had to do this after returning too many titles in a row.

On Mobile App

  1. Find the Main Menu
  2. Select username
  3. Find “Purchase History” under the “Account” tab
  4. Locate the title you want to return
  5. Next to the title, select “Return This Title”

On Desktop

  1. Go to Main Menu
  2. Select username
  3. Go to “Account Details”
  4. Select “Purchase History”
  5. Find the title you wish to return
  6. Next to the title, select the “Return This Title” option

What Exactly Is WhisperSync?

WhisperSync is a convenient tool for subscribers who also read books on a Kindle. If you read the same title on both, it lets you seamlessly pick back up where you left off, regardless of which platform you are using. So, if you listen to a few chapters in the car, then pick up the Kindle to read a few more before bed, your text picks up right where your listening left off, and vice versa. All you have to do is set your WhisperSync setting to be on. It is under the “Synchronization” option in “Manage Content and Devices.”

What Happened To Audible Channels?

Channels is a retired program. It was an original audio series covering several interests, from crime to politics to comedy and more. Channels were a podcast type of content, offered at a low monthly subscription and free for Prime members. That benefit is no longer available, and these titles are now included in the Amazon Originals category. Some books in the Prime Reading category do include audiobook versions and are part of the Prime Reading benefit for Prime members.

Do Audiobooks Count As Reading?

Yes! Audiobooks have the same benefits as reading. Anyone who says that listening to stories and content is in any way less beneficial or impactful is just plain wrong. Studies have shown that listening to an audiobook shows the same level of stimulation in cognitive and emotional areas as reading.

As children, we read stories to boost our imagination, creativity, literacy, and listening skills. According to research by the National Literacy Trust, audiobooks have benefits in literacy, listening, fluency, critical thinking, language, and comprehension for people of all ages. Along with all of that, they can be a more engaging and enjoyable way to read for many.

Behind The Scenes (VIDEO)

There is a ton of work that goes into creating the most immersive and enjoyable listening experiences. Take a look at this adorable video from Audible that shares a behind-the-scenes look at casting the leading feline role in a new thriller, “Starter Villain.”

Fun Fact

Originally called “Talking Books,” audiobooks were officially created in 1932. The “Talking Books” were made by the American Foundation for the Blind and were short fifteen-to-thirty-minute recordings. These included the Constitution and works by William Shakespeare. Books on Tape (BOT), a company founded in 1975, was a huge pioneer in providing unabridged audiobooks to listeners, as was Recorded Books, founded in 1978. Both companies still operate as imprints under larger publishers.

Looking For Other Ways To Expand Your Brain?

If you, like me, are looking for ways to expand and boost your mental capacity, there are now more options than ever before to engage your brain. If you like math, learn more about the best brain math training apps. Or, if you want to broaden your horizons and learn a new language, we also review the best language-learning apps. You may even want to take the quest for new knowledge off-planet, so why not try a telescope? As a sci-fi fan, I’ve read hundreds of titles about space and other planets, and it’s a really fun experience to try and identify or see celestial objects for yourself.

What’s your favorite way to listen to audiobooks? One of my all-time favorites is “The Girl With All The Gifts” by M.R. Carey, narrated by Finty Williams. This is a book I’ve also read the physical copy of, but the audiobook experience is so much better. Williams is a captivating narrator with extreme skill who takes an impressively written story and brings it to life. She has an extraordinary ability to use tone, voice, and emotion to draw you in and make you feel as though you are in the story yourself. Do you have a favorite Audible or audiobook title that you just love? If so, please share it in the comments.

Why Trust Safe Smart Living?

Danielle is a writer, reader, researcher, and lifelong student of the world. As a professional researcher, she uses her unquenching quest for knowledge to seek out, scrutinize, and explore the world around her. Her job is to share information with others, something she has years of experience with from her former career as an educator. Danielle spends countless hours reviewing and researching valuable information to share with our readers.

Danielle DeGroot

Danielle has been a professional writer for many years, working with companies and brands all over the world. She holds a BS in Communication and Marketing from Colorado State University Global and uses her skills to help others share their voices. She has researched and covered a wide range of subjects, from eco-friendly living and burial to healthy living, technology, education, science, small business, and more. Her passion is connecting people with useful information and helping others find their voice. Prior to starting her writing career, Danielle worked in public education, where she worked to support and educate children with disabilities. She works hard to stay on top of the latest changes in safety, technology, and living, which allows her to continue researching and sharing pertinent information to better others’ lives.

Related Articles

Subscribe
Notify of
My Rating Of This Company
Optional: rate this company/product and leave your review in the comments. Only ratings with valid review content will be published.
1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
Index
Send this to a friend