How Does Audible Work? Audible Review
How does Audible work?
It’s very common to ponder over this question while starting out to use Audible for the first time or before deciding to use it.
There are many other doubts that a new user can have, like, What exactly is a ‘credit’? Will I be charged for the free trial? How does the subscription plan work? What are the benefits of being an Audible member? Or is Audible worth it? And so on…
If you have any such doubts regarding Audible membership, you are in the right place. Everything you need to know is here!
So let’s dive in and see how Amazon Audible works…
What is Audible?
Audible is a producer and seller of spoken audio entertainment, information, and educational programming on the Internet.
It is a subsidiary of Amazon and the world’s largest producer of digital audiobooks with over 500,000 top audiobooks and podcasts.
How does Audible work?
Audible basically works on a periodical subscription basis just like most other digital services by Amazon. When you first sign up with Audible, you are given a 30-day free trial in which you get 1 free credit to buy any audiobook of your choice for free.
Once the free trial is over, you will be charged $14.95 a month unless you cancel your membership. You won’t be charged at all until after 30 days. You can cancel your membership whenever you want.
If you want more credits a month, you can simply choose from other Audible subscription plans with higher credits that best suits your need and you will be charged accordingly.
However, you can also buy audiobooks from Audible without having to be an Audible member. But in that case, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits that an Audible member gets.
For instance, if you bought a wrong audiobook by mistake, or if you bought an audiobook which you did not like, you can easily exchange that book, even if you have already completed listening to the entire book!
Only Audible members have this benefit. There are many other benefits of being an Audible member. All benefits are discussed further down in this article. Keep reading…
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you may check out this article: How does Audible Work with Amazon Prime?
What devices are compatible with Audible?
Audible is compatible with many of the devices including but not limited to Android, iOS, Windows 10, Fire Tablets, etc. The Audible app is free and available for download from your device’s respective app stores. You can listen to the audiobooks even through the Audible websites online!
Even though you can listen to Audible audiobooks on multiple devices, the Audible app available on iOS, Android, and Windows 10 features the best listening experience. Once you have downloaded your audiobook, you can listen wherever you go and you don’t even need Wi-Fi to listen!
Here’s a list of some of the devices compatible with Audible:
- Android Devices – both phones and tablets
- iOS Devices – iPhones, iPads, iPods
- Windows Phone
- Kindle Fire Tablets
- Windows and Mac Computers (you can also stream via Cloud Player on these devices through the Library page on Audible website)
- Kindle Paperwhite (10th Gen)
- Kindle Oasis (9th Gen)
- Kindle Oasis (8th Gen)
- Kindle (8th Gen)
- Sandisk MP3 Players
- Creative MP3 Players
You can check more devices compatibility from here.
Being a part of Amazon, Audible has another convenient device compatibility for its users. If you are an Alexa device owner, you have the ability to listen to your Audible audiobooks directly from your device.
As an added bonus, with the Amazon Alexa app, you can view all titles in your library and control playback. For this, you first need to combine Audible and Amazon account. (Here’s how to set up)
How does Audible App work?
Audible has a very simple, convenient, and easy to use app that works both with and without internet! Once you download the audiobook of your choice, it will be added to your Audible library which you can then listen to even without the use of Wi-Fi.
However, this app is not available on all devices. As of now, it is only available in iOS, Android, Windows phones, and Windows 10. You can download them from your device’s app stores for free.
For other devices, your library is either integrated with other Amazon products like Kindle, Alexa, etc. Or if it’s an Mp3 player that supports Audible audiobooks, then you can play them just like any other mp3 files.
Let’s understand the basic interface and working of the Audible app. When you open the Audible app and you log in, you will see your home screen which may look something like this depending on your recent activities on Audible:
At the bottom of the screen, you can see the Audiobook that you are currently listening to. It will be there even if you pause your book.
When you click the Menu on the upper left corner, you will get these options:
In the menu above, ‘Library’ is where you will find all your current audiobooks that you own.
In ‘Originals’, you will find Audible Originals to choose from. ‘News‘ shows some audible related news from Amazon.
‘Stats’ is where you can check all your Audible stats like how many hours of listening you have completed in total, how many titles you listened to, etc.
‘Recommended’ option shows you some recommended audiobooks for purchase as per your interest and purchase history.
In ‘stores’ you will find other options like your Wish List, Audiobooks categories, New releases, and also your Account Details and Settings!
So, that was an overview of the app. Now let’s quickly see how your control options will be visible when you start listening to your audiobook. Here’s the screenshot of the same.
Let me briefly tell you what all this are, starting from the bottom left.
- Speed: This option helps you control the speed by which you will be listening to your audiobook. You can simply click on it and you will get the option to adjust narration speed between 0.5X to 3.5X.
I normally keep it at 1.10X. Above this speed, the narrator’s voice starts to sound weird. However, even with the speed of 1.10X, you can save a good amount of time. (For example, you can complete a 25-hour book in about 22.7 hours at this speed!)
- Chapters: Chapters simply gives you an option to jump to different chapters of the book.
- Sleep Timer: With Sleep Timer, you can set a timer that will automatically pause the currently playing audiobook once the time limit is reached.
- Clips: Clips option lets you create bookmarks and keep notes at any particular time of the audiobook.
- Car Icon: When you click on car icon, you will have larger control options (See picture below) for your convenience when you are listening while driving.
Other than these, you can see more setting options from the 3-dot icon on the upper right corner in the previous picture. Here you can control forward and backward jump speed too.
The Audible app is really very simple and easy. Once you start using it, you will comfortably understand its working within minutes.
Placing your membership on hold
Your Audible Membership can be placed on hold once every 12 months for a duration of up to 3 months. During this time you will not be billed your monthly membership fee.
Let’s say you put your membership on hold for two months beginning March 1st. When your plan restarts again on May 1st, you cannot put your plan on another hold for a full 12 months from that first resumed bill date, that is, May 1st.
That way you won’t be charged and your credits will remain unchanged until your membership is resumed. You will enjoy most of the member benefits even if your membership is on hold. It’s just that you won’t get any more credits and Audible originals during that period.
To know more about placing you membership on hold, check out this article on how to pause Audible membership.
Please Note: Placing your membership on hold does not mean canceling your membership. If you cancel your Audible account, any unused credits associated with your account will be terminated with your membership.
However, if you do not have any credits left on your account, you may consider canceling your account if you are not really using it. Do not worry, you will not lose any earlier purchased audiobooks. Once you buy an audiobook, you can keep it forever!
You can restart your subscription again whenever you want.
Audible membership plans
Audible offers the following membership plans as of 26th June 2019:
Here’s an overview of each of the subscription plan.
It is the basic membership plan, the one that starts once your 30-day free trial is over. The price for this monthly subscription is $14.95 and you get 1 credit each month.
Besides, you enjoy all the benefits of an Audible member!
It is basically the extension of the Gold Monthly plan but at a cheaper rate. You get 12 credits per year at just $149.50!
So technically, you get 2 months free if you have an annual plan.
With the annual plan, you have the freedom to use your credits whenever you want within your plan period. That is to say, you may use all the credits in just one month or spread it over a period of 1 year, it’s all up to you.
With this plan, you get 2 credits at $22.95 per month. So if you want to listen to more audiobooks, you can choose this plan. Besides, you get each audiobook at a cheaper rate, that is, at about $11.5 per book compared to $14.95 in the Gold Monthly plan.
It is basically the extension of the Platinum Monthly plan but at a cheaper rate. You get 24 credits per year at just $229.50!
So, just like Gold Annual plan, you get 2 months free. And you can use your credits as per your convenience.
Besides the above membership plans, there is also a secret Audible Silver Membership plan, in which you will be billed on alternative months for 1 credit at $14.98. Click on the link above to know more about this plan and how you can unlock it.
How to get more audiobooks?
If you have started liking audiobooks and want to listen to more audiobooks than your subscription credits allow you, you can do that too…
For that you will have these options to consider:
1. Buy more credits
Yes, you can buy more credits if you have reached your limit. But there are certain conditions that you will have to meet. You can buy more credits if:
- You are on a Gold/Platinum Audible plan for at least 30 days.
- You have one or zero credits left on your account.
Besides, you can buy on the Desktop Site or Mobile Site only. This feature is not yet available in apps as of now.
However, before you consider buying more Audible credits, I would recommend you to read the article on How to Get Audible Credits Cheaply, where you will get to know about 27 tried and tested tips & tricks to save money on Audible.
2. Buy Audiobooks directly at a discounted rate
Another option that Audible members have is to buy any book at a minimum discount rate of 30%. On some occasions, audible provides more discounts too.
So, if the cost of the book is lower, you may simply consider buying at the member discount rather than using a credit for the same.
Audible membership benefits
Apart from its flexibility and convenience, one of the reasons why I love Audible so much is because of the benefits that I get as a member. From discounted rates to hassle-free exchange policy, there are many benefits that make Audible definitely worth the money!
Here are some of the amazing benefits for an Audible member:
1. You get 2 Audible Originals every month
Audible Originals are basically audio format books produced exclusively by Audible. You won’t find them anywhere else.
You may not like all the Audible Originals though, but some of them are really interesting and engaging!
The other day I was listening to one of this month’s (January) Audible Original – “The Man on The Mountaintop”. I haven’t yet completed it, but so far I have really enjoyed it.
Audible Originals are available for downloads on the first Friday of every month. You get to choose any two out of the 6 Audible originals for your library.
However, unlike Audible audiobooks, Audible Originals cannot be exchanged or returned. So, decide carefully. Listen to the sample (available for free) and read about the Audible original and its reviews before buying it.
2. 30% discount on each purchase
I have discussed this before too. If you are an Audible member, you can get a 30 % discount on any Audiobook that you purchase.
You can enjoy this benefit when you are out of credits but still want to listen to more audiobooks without buying more credits.
Another situation when this benefit can really come in handy is when you want to get an audiobook that has a lower price.
Let’s say you want to buy an audiobook that costs 5 dollars. You have the option to use your credit there too. But, that will really be a waste of your Audible credit, won’t it?
Instead, you can simply purchase the audiobook at just $3.5 using your 30 % discount benefit.
That way you will not only save 1.5 dollars but also save that valuable credit to purchase more expensive audiobook.
3. Hassle-free exchange or return policy
Well, I actually wanted to buy this title. That’s not the problem. The problem was that I mistakenly purchased the audiobook in Spanish! And as far as I remember, I have never learned the Spanish language in my life. :p
So, this could have really been very sad had there not been a return policy.
Being an Audible member it was really very quick and easy to exchange the book. I returned that book, got my credit back immediately, and purchased the English version of the book. And all this hardly took me even five minutes!
(I have explained the limitations and steps to exchange audiobooks in the next section of this article)
Here are some of the other notable benefits of being an audible member:
- You can keep your purchased audiobook forever in your Audible library, even if you cancel your membership.
- Recently, a new benefit is added for the Audible members. Members can now have free access to exclusive fitness programs for the body and the mind, created by the fitness app, Aaptiv in collaboration with Audible. Free access for the Audible members is available through September 5, 2019.
How to exchange or return Audiobooks?
Just like I bought a Spanish version of the book by mistake, there can be many other reasons why a user may want to return or exchange their audiobooks.
Thankfully, Audible offers a very easy, quick and convenient exchange or return policy. The policy is designed so that you feel comfortable trying a random audiobook or different narrator.
Though Audible’s return policy is incredibly liberal, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Only Audible members can return audiobooks.
- You must return the audiobook within 365 days of purchasing it.
- You will be refunded in the same way you bought it, that is, if you paid with a credit, you get a back a credit. If you paid using a card, you get your money back.
- You can return a book even if you’ve already listened to it.
However, there are limitations even for the Audible members on the frequency of making returns. If Audible notices that you are abusing their return policy, you will not be allowed to make returns, or worse, your account might be suspended in some cases.
So, how many audiobooks can you exchange?
Well… There is no fixed number on how many returns you can make. But if you are regularly buying, listening and then returning the books, Audible will eventually notice.
Just to give you an idea, Last month I returned 2 books. One was the Spanish version of ‘Steve Jobs’, which I have already told you about. The other one was ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’.
The reason why I returned this book was because I could not resonate with the way Roger Wayne was narrating the book. Maybe it was just me. Because most of the listeners really found him interesting. But I could not even get through the first chapter. So I returned it immediately. Later I borrowed the paperback version of the book from a friend and read it. And that I really enjoyed.
And even after making two returns, I was still getting the option to make another return. So I guess, returning 2-3 books should not be a problem unless you are doing it on a regular basis…
Now, let’s see how to return or exchange them…
Please Note: As of now, ‘Return’ option is not supported in the Audible App. You will have to log in to your account in Audible’s Official Website from a desktop or mobile browser to return your audiobooks.
For more detailed steps (With Pictures), you can refer to my article on How to exchange Audible books? (On Desktop and Mobile).
Here’s the step-by-step process for Desktop:
- Go to Audible’s website and log in to your account.
- Click or hover over your name at the top right of the page, and then click on ‘Account Details‘ from the drop-down menu.
- On your account page, click on ‘Purchase History‘ option.
- You will see a list of all the audiobooks that you have purchased.
- Now, look for the title that you want to return. Click on the ‘Return’ option on the right side of the title.
- You will get a Popup asking you to choose a reason why you want to return the title.
- Choose your reason and click on Return button. That’s it, your book is returned.
Once you have returned the book, you will get back your credit immediately and you can then use it to buy another audiobook. If you bought the book some other way, it may take up to 10 working days for the refund to go through!
How to cancel Audible membership?
Many users tend to cancel their audible membership just before their free trial gets over.
The reason is simple. They just wanted to give it a try. And that is totally fine. If you are not prepared to continue with the membership, you can easily cancel it whenever you want.
You can come back again any day and restart your membership. There is no restriction.
But, keep in mind that if you cancel your Audible membership, any unused credits associated with your account will be terminated.
So, it would be best to try and use all of your credits before you make the final decision to end your membership. Remember, any audiobooks you purchase (even during your free trial) are yours to keep forever, even if you are no longer a member. So, be sure to use those credits.
Just like returning the audiobook, you can cancel Audible membership only through the website and not through the Audible App.
Here’s how to cancel audible membership:
1. Follow the first two steps from the above process, that is, log in to your account and then go to your Account Details.
2. You will see the ‘Cancel Membership’ option right below your membership information. Click on that option.
3. You will then be asked to confirm your cancellation. Choose your option and continue.
Once you click on continue, your membership will be canceled.
You can always come back and restart your membership whenever you want.
Some downsides of Audible
Though using Audible has been an incredible experience for me so far, I still feel that there are few issues that it has to work on and improve.
1. No reminder before being charged
Most of the new users have this complaint that Audible charged them without any reminder.
Even though Audible mentions during the start of your membership that you will be charged automatically after your free trial ends, it does not mention that you will not be reminded before they charge you.
So this really has to change. Users should be reminded through emails or app popups at least 2-3 days before they are being charged
IMPORTANT TIP: If you do not want to continue with your plan, cancel it before your next billing date without any delay, or you will be charged automatically. You can set a reminder in your phone for a date before your next billing.
There’s another thing you can do if you are sure before-handed that you will not continue after the free trial.
You can just purchase your free audiobook(s) with your credit(s), get your 2 audible originals of the month and then cancel your membership immediately!
And later if you decide to start your membership again, you can do that without any problem.
2. 'Return' option not available on Audible app
As I discussed earlier, there is no option to return a book from the Audible app. You will have to go to the website to return a book or cancel your membership.
So, these were the two issues that I think Audible should really work on to improve.
However, with the extent of benefits that I get with Audible, I think I can ignore these small issues.
That brings us to the final question of this article, and probably the most important one!
Is Audible worth it in 2019?
Let me first tell you about my experience with one of the books that I wanted to read for a long time – ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ by Yuval Noah Harari.
I tried reading a physical version of this book which is about 500 pages. That is a pretty long book for non-fiction. Each time I started reading it, I couldn’t continue for long. No doubt, it’s an interesting book and full of knowledgeable, but at times it felt very detailed and never-ending.
And that was when Audible came to my rescue. I found the Audio version much more interesting and engaging and completed the book in just 5 sittings!
Though I still read a lot of physical books (Actually, much more than audiobooks to be honest), my love for Audible has just increased with time.
And according to my experience with Audible, I think Audible is definitely worth it. And the reasons are simple. Its member benefits are really incredible, along with Audible Originals which is a huge bonus.
And the best of all, if you don’t like an audiobook, you can simply return it even after you have listened to it (as long as you are not abusing this benefit). Audible’s flexible return policy assures you that you listen and keep only the books that you like!
Besides, in many cases, the narrators make the book way more interesting. No wonder audiobooks are becoming exceedingly popular among book lovers!
So, this is what I think. Surely some users might think differently. They might have had a different experience with Audible.
But for me, my experience with Audible has been amazing so far and it has definitely been worth my money!
Start your 30-day free trial now and find out for yourself whether you will like it or not; whether it will be worth it for you or not!
If you are already an Audible member then please let me know what you think. Is Audible worth it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I would love to know what you think.
Thank you for visiting!