Audible Review 2019: Is It Worth It?

Brad Smith


I'm the creator of this site (Grammar Gang). I'm also the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company that's been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.

We produce around ~100 long, in-depth articles each month. So we're relying on these tools on a daily basis. Here, I break down the good, bad, and uuuuuuggggllllyyyy.
Brad Smith

Audiobooks are in trend for the last few years.

And Audible is the Michael Jordan of the audiobooks world.

With an extensive collection of titles, it has become somewhat like a synonym of audiobooks.

But does it justify the price? And most importantly, do you really need Audible?

This is what I’m going to answer in this post. I’ll go through the benefits, flaws, and cost

So without further ado, let’s see if you should go with Audible (or stick to some free resource).

Audible Pros

I’ve been using Audible for a long time, and it’s been a perfect companion to me while I commute to work or deal with the daily errands.

If you’re an avid reader or in this case, a listener like me, then its massive library and easy return policy is something you will drool over.

It is compatible with a range of devices that gives gadget lovers, too, a fair reason to love it. Similarly, it has some other major plus points that I’ve mentioned in the following section.

1. Great choice for fanatic readers

With an Audible membership, you get one credit and two Audible originals every month. A credit simply means the power to purchase one audiobook for free regardless of its price.

Besides this, you get a 30% discount on every book you purchase after that.

It’s a great deal for those who rely more on the audio format than reading a hard copy. Because, an average audiobook lasts for 6-7 hours, and if you spend half an hour every day listening to the book, it’ll take you around two weeks to finish it.

After that, you can either switch to Audible originals – specific audio materials made by famous journalists or theater writers – or buy another title with a discounted price.

And before you confuse Audible originals with audiobooks, let me clarify that while audiobooks are like a commercial Hollywood movie, an Audible Original is like a documentary or short feature film.

2. Huge collection of titles

Not having a broad range of titles to choose from is the biggest turn down for any book lover. And it seems Audible takes this thing quite seriously.

That’s why it gives you the luxury to choose from more than 180,000 books (and counting) divided into various genres like business, romance, spiritual, motivational, and many more.

It takes things a step further by adding sub-genres, so you don’t have a tough time searching your favorite book.

audible collections

3. Easy return policy

Since the maximum number of Audible Credits you get is two (with Platinum membership), you would always want to use it for a meaningful read. But what if you end up with a mediocre book?

No worries. Audible has the motto of “Great Listen Guarantee”, and it allows you to return the audiobook within 365 days of purchase or exchange the book with a different one.

And the best part:

Once you return the book, it also restores your credit to your account. Plus, there are no limitations on the number of times you can return a book.

However, I won’t recommend you to overdo it, as Amazon can either impose a return limit on your account or penalize you for abusing its generous policy.

4. High-quality audio

Most of the audiobooks in Audible are recorded by experienced narrators, dubbing artists, and writers themselves. Some notable examples – Michelle Obama, Stephen Fry, and Mel Robbins.

So, most of the time, you get a superior voice quality and tone that enhances the whole listening experience.

Another great news is, once you’ve downloaded the book, it’s forever yours to keep. Even if you end your membership with Audible.

5. Compatible with different devices

It’s next to impossible to use a phone or computer in every single place, and Audible understands this very well.

That’s why it provides a plethora of device options that support the Audible app. It includes:

  • Windows and Mac computers
  • iOS and Android smartphone or tablet
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Amazon Kindle Fire tablet
  • All the devices that support Amazon Alexa
  • Mp3 players & Visually impaired devices

I also love its drive mode that lets me listen to my favorite book while driving to the grocery shop or coming back home.

In short, it eliminates all your excuses of not having the time to read a book because, with so many options available, you can literally listen to an audiobook anytime, anywhere.

6. WhisperSync feature for Kindle and Audible

As the name suggests, WhisperSync is a unique feature in Audible that syncs your listening sessions with your e-reading device.

It enables you to start the book on your e-reading device from the same point where you left the last time you listened to it on Audible and vice versa.

It’s convenient if you like consuming a book in different formats. You’ll never feel lost and finish it in less than your usual time.

But the only catch is, the book you’re listening to must be available on Amazon as an eBook. Otherwise, it won’t work.

7. A summarized version of the audiobook

Most of the audiobooks in Audible are around 6-8 hour long and sometimes you don’t have that much time to commit. It’s like skimming through a long-form blog post to get only the major points instead of reading every word.

And you’ll be glad to know that Audible has this facility, too. Along with the full versions, it also offers the summarized version of audiobooks in lower prices for those who are tight on budget or time.

Though it is not available with all the titles, opting for the ripped copy (where it is available) is still an excellent choice for saving time and money at the same time.

8. Roll over credits and freeze membership

To be honest, according to me the most captivating aspect of Audible is, it adds up the unused credits of the current month to the next month.

And it also allows you to freeze your account for up to 3 months in case, you’re busy in a long European tour with your loved ones.

However, before you get all excited, it’s worth keeping in mind that each unused credit is valid only till the next five months (six months for Platinum members). After that, Audible automatically cuts off the credit from your account.

So, it’s better if you use it within a few months before it gets null. Because a downloaded audiobook will be there forever but not your credits.

Audible Cons

My experience with Audible has been positive most of the time. But there are a few areas where it could do better. Here are those sections:

1. Audiobooks can be expensive or cheap

The price of Audible books used to seem more expensive. However, the price has evened out as Kindle prices have risen in the past few years.

Just make sure you’re redeeming Audible credits on full-length books. Otherwise, the ‘flat-fee’ nature of it doesn’t make sense on shorter books. For those, I recommend just paying the Audible dollar amount (it’s usually between $0.99-$3.99 for each).

Then, you can save the $14.95 credit for larger works that will usually cost at least the same (if not more) on Amazon.

2. Credits expire as you cancel the subscription

I love the cancellation process of Audible. It’s smooth as silk and doesn’t make you mad by asking too many questions.

However, the sad part is, as soon as I got out of the Audible membership, it canceled all my unused credits even though they were all valid.

I was left only with my downloaded audiobooks. So don’t repeat my mistake.

Before you even think about canceling your subscription, use all your credits by downloading books, only then move ahead to break up with Audible.

3. No free account

Audible is a pay to play game. Sure, there’s a 30-day free trial to test the service before committing to a monthly or yearly plan, but that’s all it has for free users.

After the trial period ends, you can either choose not to be a member and pay full price for the audiobooks or opt for a subscription plan.

However, I’ve noticed some free titles in Audible that Amazon could offer to free users and increase its user base. But it seems to care more about its revenue numbers as of now.

Audible Cost and Payment Options

Audible is costlier than many of the other audiobooks publishers. As I mentioned earlier, after the 30-day free trial where it asks for your card details, it charges you $14.75/month or $149 if you choose to pay yearly for its Gold membership.

As a Gold member, you get 1 Credit and 2 Audible Originals.

On the other hand, if you’re ready to spend more, the Platinum membership could be a better deal for you where you get 2 Credits and 3 Audible Originals in $22.35/month or $223.5 per annum.

audible pricing

Fortunately, it accepts payments from all the major credit cards and debit cards as well as via Amazon Store card (if you have one). Good news if you’re someone like me who don’t use credit cards.

Is Audible Worth It?

Okay, so finally… the big question: is Audible right for me?

Well, the answer could be yes as well as no depending on who you are and what your priorities are.

First of all, let’s see why Audible is not for you. So, Audible is not worth it if:

  1. You’re a frugal person who cut on lattes to save for your retirement. Seriously, if that’s you, then the $14.95 monthly fee is definitely not something you would be excited about. You can buy audiobooks occasionally as a non-member, but a full-time membership is a strict no-no.
  2. If you can’t sacrifice the smell of a newly arrived print book (you know how good that aroma is, right?) over audio or electronic versions.
  3. If cost is an important factor for you because as I mentioned in the cons section, audiobooks are way expensive than paperbacks and hard copies.

Now, let’s find out all the reasons to say yes to Audible. It’s worth your money, if:

  1. Audiobooks are not a new thing for you, and you read at least two audiobooks every month.
  2. If you have a hectic schedule and hardly gets time to read books.
  3. If you’re a C-Level executive or startup owner or anyone who have long commute hours or spends a considerable amount of time flying from one place to another. In such cases, an Audible membership is a prerequisite for you.
  4. If you’re someone like me, who starts feeling heavy as if you’re about to get a headache while reading in a cab.
  5. If you want to make your gym sessions, morning/evening walk, gardening time, or even your laundry time more productive.

Right now, Audible’s also offering a deal for new sign ups.

Sign up for the free trial and get 2 free downloads now.