Audiobooks

How does Audible work? How much it costs, how to get free books and how to cancel

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Audible is an Amazon service offering audiobooks, podcasts and more. Here’s how it works.

Audible is the platform from which Amazon produces and sells audiobooks.

You can purchase them without a subscription; alternatively, you can borrow them for streaming if you have a subscription.

Audible

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Calling all book lovers, podcast listeners and audio fans — Audible is the perfect platform for you. It’s an Amazon service offering a huge variety of auditory entertainment, all wrapped up in an affordable subscription package.

If you’re struggling to find time to read, would love to hear stars narrate their own biographies, or you’re looking for the latest podcasts, then you’ll love what Audible has to offer.

Do you have to pay for books on Audible? In short, yes. Subscription models come with a set monthly fee, but the purchase price for titles can vary widely. The Sherlock Holmes collection as read by Stephen Fry, for instance, costs a staggering $82.77. However, others cost much less—and a handful are actually free from the outset.

Audible’s size and popularity means that most audiobooks are available on the platform. Some are even exclusive to it. You aren’t limited to audiobooks, either; Audible includes other forms of media, such as podcasts and tracks you can listen to while meditating.

Special offer:

The former costs $7.95 per month and gives you unlimited streaming access to the titles in the Plus catalog, which number about 11,000. These tend to be the older or less popular audiobooks.
On the other hand, you have Premium Plus, which costs almost double but allows you to purchase one audiobook per month. That audiobook can come from the entire rest of the Audible store (almost 450,000 titles). You also get the same streaming access to the Plus catalog.

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Essentially, the difference between the two tiers is that for Premium Plus, you’re paying an extra $7 per month to buy any audiobook for permanent ownership. Which subscription you go for will depend heavily on the amount of audiobook content you consume, as well as whether you want to be able to keep the books when you’re finished, and the kind of books you listen to.

Note, too, that a subscription isn’t actually necessary for audiobook purchases: you can get them from a book’s page on Amazon just like any other format (see below). If you’re a less frequent audiobook consumer, this is probably the best option for you, particularly since you can make huge savings by buying the Kindle format of a book in a bundle at the same time.

Enjoy a free

Where Can You Listen to Audiobooks?

Once you’ve got your audiobook, the best two ways to listen to it are on a Kindle device or through the Audible app.

Most Kindles (especially the newer ones) don’t have headphone jacks, so Bluetooth earphones are a necessity if that’s how you want to listen to them. Your Kindle is also going to be heavier than your phone or iPod; you can’t exactly go for a run toting an e-reader. So overall, the Kindle method is better for when you’re just listening around the house and don’t have to go anywhere.

There is one great pro to listening on your Kindle. Whispersync is an Amazon feature which lets you switch easily between reading a book and listening to the audiobook if you own both, so you can always pick up in one format wherever you left off with the other. That function works more seamlessly on Kindles, where audiobooks are integrated into your e-book library without the need to install a separate app. As soon as you purchase a title of either format, it all just shows up on the same device.

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On any other device, the Kindle and Audible apps are separate. So to get access to your audiobooks you do have to take the extra step of downloading the Audible app, but it’s available for almost any device you’d care to listen on.

Apple and Android are a given; you can also hook it up so an Alexa device reads your audiobooks, or even stream directly from your computer through the Audible website. Moreover, you can get Google Home to read your audiobooks for you.

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If you’re tempted to sign up for Audible, we’ve outlined the answers to all the main questions you might have about the service and how it works below. The good news is that, at the very least, the first month will either be free or very cheap, since there’s always a promotional offer around to entice potential new subscribers.

Quality audio books deserve quality audio – and if you’re looking for something to play your audiobooks through at home, don’t miss our best wireless earbuds guide, best smart speaker round-up or our best Amazon Echo deals.

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