Audible Review 2021: Full Hands On Test & Comparison

Is Audible the King of Audiobooks? How Does Compare to Competitors on Price Per Book, Library Size, Audio Quality & Returns Policy? I Go In-Depth

Audible is simply the largest audiobook collection, and surprisingly the lowest cost per book.

I am a voracious reader and have been an Audible subscriber since 2011. With 297 books in my library worth $4,500, I can provide you with a complete review and test of Audible.

Audible Review
  • Pricing
  • Depth of Library
  • Audiobook Availability
  • Returns Policy
  • Customer Support
User Ratings - Click Stars to Vote
4.83 (6 votes)

Audible Pros

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Audible Review 2021: Review Winner

★ Lifetime Access to the Books Your Buy
★ The Biggest Library 200K+ Titles
★ Lowest Cost per Book $9.56
★ 12 Month Returns Policy
★ Compatible on All Devices
★ Syncs with Kindle
★ Smart Speaker & Alexa Integration
★ High-Quality Audio 64 kbps bitrate

Audible Cons

✘ Nothing

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Audible Review Summary

Audible has the following advantages over its competitors. It has the largest library of 200,000 audiobooks, the best book returns policy, and the lowest cost per book at $9.56. Audible also offers exclusive Audible Original, Audible Studios, and high-quality Audible Podcasts. Finally, bestsellers are usually released on Audible first, and you keep the books you buy for life.

As a long-time member, I can attest you will find the service unbeatable for value and selection. New releases and bestsellers are inevitably released on Audible first as its market share, and customer base make it irresistible to publishers.

How Does Audible Work

While you can purchase individual audiobooks on Audible without a subscription, it primarily operates on a subscription basis using credits. An individual audiobook purchase costs about $20. With a subscription for credits, extra credits, and special offers, you can lower the cost per book to approximately $8.

Audible Pricing Plans, Credits & Special Offers

With Audible, you need a subscription, but that subscription means you get to buy books at a tiny fraction of their actual retail value.  Some believe that Audible is expensive, but the reality is that they are the cheapest way to buy audiobooks.

Audible Audiobooks App - Homescreen - Always has a Good Member Deal
Audible Audiobooks App – Homescreen – Always has a Good Member Deal

Audible Subscription & Pricing

With the entry-level subscription with Audible, you will get one credit for any title and one free bonus Audible Original title. This means you get one premium book per month for $14.95.

If you pay this subscription annually, you will pay $149.50, meaning you get two free months, and this brings the average cost per book down to $12.45, the lowest price in the industry.

You could also opt for $22.95 per month for two audiobook credits, which works out at $9.56 per book, saving $5 per book.

Finally, Audible has a massive selection of exclusive professional Podcasts that they offer free to members. They will also send you Christmas stories for the family and children at Christmas, a charming touch.

How to Get Extra Credits With Audible

Whichever subscription you choose, you will get 30% off any other purchases you make.  The best news is that if you run out of subscription credits, Audible will allow you to buy extra credits between $5 to $7 per credit, which is incredible value for money.

Audible Special Promotions

Additionally, nearly every single week, you will receive special promotions for “2 books for 1 credit” or “Every book for $3,” which are excellent deals. This means your cost per book is even lower. I have the two books per month subscription, but considering the special offers and low-cost extra credits, I estimate my average cost per book to be $8.

Is Audible Free With Prime?

No, Audible is not free with Prime or included with a Prime subscription. However, if you have a Prime subscription, you will get an extra free audiobook when you start a 30-day free trial. This means your free trial will have 2 free audiobooks rather than 1.

Audible vs. Audiobook vs. Scribd Pricing Comparison

Audible vs. Audiobooks Results Audible Visit Scribd Audiobooks
Rating ★★★★★ ★★★★☆ ★★★☆☆
Do You Own the Audiobook?
Lifetime Access to Books
Audiobooks Collection 200,000+ 200,000 + 40,000
# Audiobooks / Month 1 Book 1 Book Unlimited/Throttled
Bonus Books With Membership 1 Audible Original 1 VIP Collection
Returns Policy 1 Year No Limit At Company Discretion N/A
Family Sharing (Included)
Membership /Monthly $14.95 $14.95 $9.95
Membership /Yearly $149.50
Cost per Book /Yearly $12.45 $14.95
Platinum 24 Books /Yearly $229.50
Platinum Cost Per Book $9.56
Result Winner Recommended  
Visit Audible Visit Audiobooks Visit Scribd

Audible Content

Over the past few years, I have noticed the incredible growth in Audible original and exclusive content.  Audible being an Amazon company, are able to invest heavily in differentiating itself from their competitors.

  • Audible Originals – Produced by Audible Studios, high-quality blockbuster titles like Winter Rising by Alex Callister (11 hours 31 minutes)
  • Audible Original Podcasts – Free Podcasts Exclusively from Audible, featuring big names such as Stephen Fry’s “Victorian Secrets” (7 hours 40 minutes)
  • Audible Theatre – High-end theater production from great names, for example, Stories by Heart by John Lithgow

Audible Sound Quality

Audible offers two formats, Enhanced and Format 4. Format 4 has a 32 kbps bitrate and is for those who value storage space rather than audio quality. The Audible Enhanced Format is currently at 64kbps, which is higher than its closest competitor who uses 32kbps. Audible is also experimenting with a bit rate of 128kbps.

I download all my books in Enhanced format, which is exclusive to Audible. Audiobooks in Enhanced format are minimally compressed, so their audio quality is the best on the market. This means the audiobook file is larger and takes more time to download.

Audible vs. Library & Audio Quality Comparison

Audible vs. Audiobooks Product Comparison Audible Visit
Audiobook Type Full Full
Do You Own the Audiobook?
Lifetime Access to Books
Audiobooks Collection 200,000+ 200,000 +
Audio Quality Excellent (64kbps) Good (32 kbps)
Free Podcasts
Exclusive Content (Podcasts & Original Productions)
Result Winner
Visit Audible Visit Audiobooks

Audible Customer Service & Returns Policy

One of the most important reasons why Audible is the clear winner for me is that they have the industry’s best returns policy.  If you do not like a book, for whatever reason, the narrator, the plot, or it is merely dull, you can return your book within one year of purchase.

Great Listens Guarantee

The Excellent Audible App Library - Easy To Use.
The Excellent Audible App Library – Easy To Use.

“For me, one of the essential elements of books or audiobooks is that you get to keep the books you pay for. I own nearly 300 titles with a value of $4,500, and I am pleased that I can hand them down to my children in the future.”

Some services, such as Scribd, offer an unlimited listening subscription, but you are really just borrowing the book for the duration of your subscription.  When you end the subscription, you have nothing.

With Audible, you can still log in and use the app even when you have ended the subscription.

There is nothing worse than paying for a book that you ultimately dislike; Audible solves this problem with their “Great Listens to Guarantee.”

You can go to Account -> Purchases -> Click Return Title, and you are immediately refunded your credit.

I would know, I have returned at least 50 books for numerous reasons, and never once have they said no.

Finally, you can contact Audible via phone, chat, or email.  I have used chat many times, and they are available instantly 24/7 with no wait; that is an excellent service.

Audible App & Device Compatibility

Play Store App Rating – 4.6 ☆ Excellent

Having used the Audible app for so long, I can safely say it is rock solid, easy to use, and actually perfect.

The Audible App has the following key features:

  • Car Mode – Make the app simple to use when driving with bigger buttons.
  • Books Sharing – Send a Book to a Friend or share your progress
  • Clips, Bookmarks & Notes – saving sound clips and making notes
  • Sleep Timer –  useful for listening when you go to bed, so it does not play all night
  • Variable Speed Playback – great for slow narrators or digesting long books quicker

Your Audible books will play on all devices from Apple, Android, Smart TV’s and even the Amazon Alexa smart speaker will read them to you.

Audible Audiobook Download Speeds

Downloading an Audiobook to your phone is incredibly quick, even with enhanced mode quality. Within 30 seconds, you can start listening to a book. This is because the intelligent downloading system allows you to start listening before the entire audiobook has been downloaded.

Audible Customer Satisfaction

They say customers vote with their feet; if this is the case, our recent audiobook survey suggests that Audible Customers are thrilled.  Audible was the most popular choice of Audiobook service amongst our 1,000 people poll.

Pie Chart - Survey Question: What is the Best Audiobook Service?
Pie Chart – Survey Question: What is the Best Audiobook Service?

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Audible Review Summary

Audible has the largest library of audiobooks on the planet, offering over 200,000 books.  As part of your membership, you will also receive access to Audible Original and Audible Studios productions and a wealth of high-quality exclusive podcasts.  I have been a member since 2011 and find the service unbeatable for value and selection.

Video: Why the world loves Audible

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Audible Features, Benefits & Costs Table

Audiobook ServiceAudible
Our Rating☆☆☆☆☆
Audiobook TypeFull
Do You Own the Audiobook
Lifetime Access to Books
Audiobooks Collection200K+
Membership /month$14.95
Membership /yearly$149.50
# Audiobooks1 /month
Cost per book /monthly subscription$14.95
Cost per book /yearly subscription$12.45
Subscription RequiredYes
Audio QualityExcellent
Books Returns Policy1 Year
Customer SupportPhone, Chat, Email
Special ServicesAudible Original Podcasts
App Store Rating4.6 ☆
DevicesiPhone, Android, PC, TV, Alexa, Kindle, Fire TV
Smart SpeakerAlexa
Table 1: Audible Audiobook Service, Features, Benefits & Costs
Barry's 25 years of experience with Silicon Valley Corporations such as IBM, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise & DXC Technology enables him to share his knowledge of succeeding in today's professional corporate environments and develop a great work life for yourself.

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