Audiobooks are gaining popularity with every passing year. According to a report, audiobook revenue went up by 17% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Slowly but steadily the audiobook market size has reached 1.3 billion dollars.
You might find the figures to be staggering but I feel its popularity was long overdue.
Audiobooks were launched even before the first e-book was published. The first audiobook was recorded in 1932 by the American Foundation for the blind. It was recorded on a vinyl record with 15 minutes of speech on each side. And almost nine decades later here we are.
While discussing audiobooks, you cannot move ahead without acknowledging Audible and its impact on its uses. Audible has the largest collection of audiobooks on the planet. That’s not all you can use Audible to listen to hundreds of different podcasts and articles from other leading publications.
In this Audible review, we would talk about its core features, its subscription plans, and a detailed walkthrough of the application itself.
Why should I use Audible?
To those who are new to Audible here’s a brief overview of what to expect from this amazing software.
Huge collection of audiobooks: Audible has a collection of over 200 thousand audiobooks. This means if you listen to one audiobook per day it would take you roughly 548 years to listen to all the audiobooks hosted on Audible. And that’s not all, Audible keeps on adding new titles every week. You can find audiobooks of almost any genre, topic, or duration. If it is a variety that you are looking for in an audiobook you would not be disappointed with Audible.
Audible originals and podcasts: Audible offers over 100 thousand podcasts and Audible originals. These podcasts and originals cover a spectrum of different genres and are a delight to listen to. With these podcasts, you can listen to your favorite guests talking about their personal experiences. It covers popular topics, current affairs as well as provides a lot of motivational content to keep you on your toes. By listening to Audible originals you can get valuable insights from various documentaries and listen to various therapy sessions and sleep-inducing programs.
Listen on the move: With Audible you can listen to your favorite books while attending to different chores, driving, or during your brisk morning walks. Audible is a great alternative for bibliophiles who are not able to carve out time to support their reading habits. To top it off, you can listen to your favorite audiobooks narrated by renowned voice artists, the likes of Stephen Fry and Nick Offerman. A few years back I listened to Harry Potter narrated by Stephen Fry. The way the narrator described diagonally is still etched in my mind. I think you should try a few audiobooks yourself to know what you are missing out on.
Widespread device support: You can log in to Audible through a browser and listen to audiobooks on any PC or laptop. You can also download the Audible app on Android and iOS devices from their respective app stores. That’s not all you can also install Audible on your amazon firestick or your smart TV. Smart speakers like Amazon Echo also support Audible. To access Audible through Amazon Echo you need to log in to Audible and ask its virtual assistant Alexa to start reading your favorite audiobook.
Audible is an Amazon product. So if you are an Amazon Prime member you can get added benefits when you enroll in an Audible plan. We would discuss more Prime benefits in the subsequent sections.
Now that you have a brief idea about what Audible has to offer, let me walk you through Audible and its features. For this Audible review, I would be signing in and accessing Audible through a web browser on a Windows machine.
Sign in to Audible
To start your Audible free trial you have to first create an Audible account or sign in with your Amazon credentials.
Once you have successfully set up an account and signed in to Audible you would be taken to the Audible home screen.
On this screen, you can see your membership status and the number of credits available.
When you log in to Audible under free trial you can see one credit point allotted to you. In case if you are an Amazon Prime member you would have 2 credits available. For now, don’t pay heed to the credits. We would be discussing it in a different section.
The Audible header contains links to your Audible library and wish list.
In the Audible library, you can add all the audiobooks and podcasts that you want to listen to. You can add audiobooks and other Audible content to your wish list so that you need not search them again.
The wish list helps you maintain a list of titles that you would like to listen to in the future.
When you click or hover on the Browse link you can see the various Audible sections like audiobooks, podcasts, Audible originals, e.t.c. You can use this link to navigate to Audible and check out all of its features and content.
In the mood to listen to a specific book?
Just type in the name of the book in the Audible search bar or search by author name. If you don’t remember the name of the book you can still hunt it down by narrowing your search criteria using Audible’s advanced searching.
Advanced searching options let you search by keywords, category, genre, and publisher details.
Listening to your first audiobook
Click on the audiobook link under the browse section to skim through all available audiobooks.
Depending on your Audible subscription you can find out whether you can listen to an audiobook for free or you need to pay for it.
The audiobook section is divided into multiple categories which helps you get to the right audiobook within minutes. Do you wish to know more about an audiobook?
Just hover on any audiobook title and you can read a summary about it and also check out reviews from other uses.
You can also listen to a sample of every audiobook and check the audio quality of the book as well as the narrative style of the voice actor. Most of the books are narrated by multiple readers so you can choose which reader’s narrative you want to listen to.
Once you have singled out the right audiobook click on the title and buy it. If the selected audiobook is available under your current Audible subscription then it would be added to your library.
Click on the library link to visit your Audible library.
Here you would be able to view all the audiobooks that you have added to the library In the past.
While using Audible for the first time when you click on a title you can see all the recommended devices on which you can listen to your audiobook.
For the sake of this Audible review, I selected Windows as a platform and got the option to download the Audible application on my machine or launch a web-based audiobook player.
Apart from listening to your favorite audiobooks Audible also lets you download your title in the form of pdf or as an audiobook so that you can listen to it offline.
You can even categorize all the available books in your library. By clicking on the “Add to collection” button you can create your own audiobook collections.
When you opt to listen to your audiobook on a browser, a web-based audio player is launched.
The audio player shows the duration of the audiobook and provides users with different controls to navigate through the audiobook content.
You can navigate 30 seconds at a time through your audiobook. If you are a native speaker and want to speed up the narration you can do so from the audio player interface. You can also add a bookmark to save your audiobook progress and resume from there the next time you open the audiobook.
Almost every audiobook is subdivided into various chapters. By clicking on the chapters you can jump to a certain section. The audiobook tools are very handy and would definitely uplift your listening experience.
Listening to your first podcast
To listen to a podcast or an Audible original simply browse a podcast of your choice and click on it.
You can see the detailed description of the podcast and also find out whether the podcast is available to you with your current Audible subscription. Every podcast also shows available episodes, their topics, and their duration.
You can either listen to a podcast episode on a web browser on a mobile device or even on a smart speaker.
Buying any audiobook
With the Audible subscription plan, you can listen to thousands of audiobooks, podcasts, and Audible originals. But once your subscription expires you would not be able to access these titles from your library.
But there is a way by which you can buy and keep your audiobook titles even after your Audible expiration. If you up for an Audible premium class plan you get awarded with one Audible credit.
You can use this credit to buy any featured Audible audiobook. Titles bought using Audible credits are yours to keep. We would discuss various Audible plans in the subsequent sections.
In case you do not have any Audible credit you can buy Audible titles by making payments from your linked credit or debit card. Once bought, it would be yours and you would be able to access it even when your subscription expires.
If you are tired of old classics and want to listen to new releases and upcoming literature, you should keep a tab of the “Editor’s picks” section. You can also look out for bestsellers and titles that are about to be released.
Accessing Audible on smart devices
Audible can be accessed on a plethora of devices. You can install Audible on your Android iOS or Windows smartphones. To download the application just visit your respective app store and download the application.
Audible can also be Accessed from smart speakers, smart TV’s and Alexa-enabled devices. So if your family uses different devices you can continue listening to your audiobooks where ever you are.
How many books can I listen to on Audible Free Trial?
Audible provides you a 30-day free trial. During this period you get
Access to all of Audible plus catalog.
With one Audible credit, you can buy any premium audiobook title. At the end of the 30 days when the trial period expires you can still have the audiobook. If you have already selected a premium audiobook title you cannot procure another title within the trial period.
Audible plus catalog grants you access to over 11,000 titles. You can listen to podcasts Audible originals without paying any credits.
During the trial period, you can access the above-mentioned audiobooks on a browser, smartphone, smart TV, or smart speaker. Before the trial period expires Audible will send you an email reminder to cancel your subscription.
In case you do not cancel your subscription you would be enrolled in the ongoing subscription plan for the upcoming month.
How much does Audible cost?
Audible membership starts with an Audible free trial. Once the free trial expires you have to join Audible by subscribing to a plan.
To keep things simple there are two basic Audible plans
Audible Premium Plus
But depending on your reading habit you can select from a variety of different Audible Premium Plus plans.
Here’s a table describing the Audible membership cost and their features.
Audible Premium Plus
Audible PremiumPlus – 2 credits
Audible Premium Plus Annual
Audible Premium Plus Annual – 24 Credits
Unlimited access to Originals Audiobooks Podcasts
1 per month
2 per month
12 per year
24 per year
$7.95 per month
$14.95 per month
$22.95 per month
$149.50 per year
$229.50 per year
As you can see the Audible Premium Plus plan changes depending on the number of credits being provided. So if you are a voracious reader and want to listen to a ton of audiobooks then you should go for an Audible Premium Plus plan that provides more credit.
NOTE – Audible credits are credited on a monthly or yearly basis depending on your plan type. If you don’t use your credits it would keep on accumulating every month, and would finally expire a year after your plan started.
Can I buy Audible credits or top-up my credit in any way?
Yes, if you consume all your Audile Premium Plus monthly or annual credit, you would get occasional offers to purchase additional credits at a discounted rate. In case if you don’t you have to pay through your linked account to buy any featured audiobook.
No, Audible is not free for Amazon prime members. However during the 30 day trial period if you are an Amazon Prime member you would get 2 Audible credits instead of 1.
This means during the trial period a prime member can buy and keep up any 2 premium audiobook titles. Prime members can access these audiobook titles even after the expiration of the trial period.
Once the trial period expires and you opt for an Audible plus or Audible premium plus membership having Amazon prime membership doesn’t make any difference.
Audible audio book suggestions
I love reading books and keep looking for new suggestions that can help me expand my horizon. So based on my personal audiobook experience here are a few recommendations for or interested listeners out there.
Animal Farm is a cult classic by George Orwell. You can find multiple versions of Animal Farm narrated by different artists. The book talks about the disadvantages of totalitarian governance and how in our modern society the rich tend to get richer while the poor man struggles to make ends meet. It has a narrative of roughly 3 hours and is best to listen to do while commuting to work ok or on a road trip.
A man called Ove
A man called Ove is a novel by New York Times bestselling author Fredrik Backman. It is one of my favorite books and it is a story about how a man with a tough exterior can be a loving and caring person within. Its Audible audiobook version is roughly 9 hours long. A perfect story to listen to on a warm summer holiday.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy is a cult classic science fiction novel by Douglas Adams. This book is a perfect example of satire mixed with science fiction storytelling. Certain portions of the book would make you salute the author’s innovative and awe-inspiring thought process. Its Audible audiobook is narrated by Stephen Fry and has a runtime of 6 hours.
Food of the Gods
Food of the Gods is a well-known piece of literature written by world-renowned psychonaut Terence McKenna. The book talks about the history of plants and the role of drugs in human evolution. The audiobook narrative is 9 hours long and you would be captivated by the insightful research by the author.
Any science fiction collection would be incomplete without Foundation. Foundation is yet another classic by Isaac Asimov. Even though the book is mainstream science fiction literature, it talks about diplomacy and how knowledge triumphs over brawn. The audiobook is 8 and a half-hour long and can be considered as a stepping stone into the Asimov universe.
I can go on and on with the recommendations. Feel free to visit my Goodreads bookshelf to get a complete list of book recommendations.
Is Audible Worth it?
When it comes to audiobook services Audible is definitely going to be the reigning champion. Here are a few justifications for why you should use Audible.
You can subscribe to the monthly Audible premium plus plan for only $14.95 per month. With this plan, you can listen to thousands of audiobooks for free and own one audiobook every month.
Audible also provides different gifting options. You can gift your friend Audible credits along with access to the Plus category.
There’s something in store for Spanish and Chinese speakers too. Audible has its own collection of Spanish and Chinese audiobooks.
You can access your audiobooks on your laptop, mobile, smart TV, kindle as well as through Alexa-powered devices. Such widespread device support assures easy accessibility.
Audible Premium Plus members can return any featured titles within 365 days of purchase. Once your return your audiobook, any amount paid to buy the book would be credited to you. If you used your Audible credit to buy it, the credit would be returned to you too.
You can also cancel your Audible subscription anytime within the plan window your debited subscription amount would be refunded to you.
They have a responsive support system that can cater to your queries 24/7.
If I were you
You need not argue with a bibliophile twice to get an Audible subscription. Audible is definitely a great medium for consuming literature. But it is never going to be a substitute for good old reading. So I would suggest you use Audible along with your other reading medium.
Personally, I feel that Audible audiobooks are a great way for going through fiction and can also act as a substitute for light reading.
But what about non-fiction titles and self-improvement guides?
What if you want to note down a few points from the book you just read?
There’s no way to make a note of any excerpt. I think for such scenarios Blinkist might come in handy. Blinkist is a book summary service. You can read or listen to book summaries and take notes and share them on different platforms too.