Audible vs. Audiobooks:Pricing, Library & Apps Test 2021

As A 10-Year Audiobook User, I Give An Honest Comparison of Audible vs. Audiobooks.com. Pricing, Content, Apps, Support & Returns Policy Tested

Audiobooks enable me to continuously learn whilst performing mundane activities. I am crazy about Audiobooks and have a full subscription with both Audible and Audiobooks.com with over 280 books in my collection.

I have been using Audible since 2011 and Audiobooks.com since 2019, so I have thoroughly tested both services, and most importantly, I can highlight the significant differences.

Audible vs. Audiobooks.com Summary

Audible and Audiobooks’ key differences are that Audible offers a better returns policy and audio quality, more original titles, and a yearly subscription discount. Otherwise, the services are identical, the price, apps, and audiobook library are excellent for both.

Both Audiobooks.com and Audible offer excellent services; after significant usage and testing, I can assure you, you will be happy with either service. Which one you choose just depends on what you are looking for.

Audible vs. Audiobooks ResultsAudibleVisit Audiobooks.com
Rating★★★★★★★★★☆
Do You Own the Audiobook?
Lifetime Access to Books
Audiobooks Collection200,000+200,000 +
# Audiobooks / Month1 Book1 Book
Bonus Books With Membership1 Audible Original1 VIP Collection
Returns Policy1 Year No LimitAt Company Discretion
Family Sharing (Included)
Membership /Monthly$14.95$14.95
Membership /Yearly$149.50--
Cost per Book /Yearly$12.45$14.95
Platinum 24 Books /Yearly$229.50--
Platinum Cost Per Book$9.56--
ResultWinnerRecommended
Visit AudibleVisit Audiobooks

 

For me, both Audiobooks.com & Audible offer exceptional services that lead the industry in library size and service quality.  However, each service has a few advantages; there are four important reasons to go for Audible and two critical benefits to Audiobooks.com.

4 Reasons Why Audible is Better Than Audiobooks.com

  • Cost per Audiobook: Audible costs $6.22 per book on a yearly subscription, compared to $7.47 with Audiobooks.com. Not a substantial price difference, but still a gap.
  • Returns Policy: Audibles Great Listening Guarantee allows you to return any book with one year of purchase, no questions asked, while Audiobooks.com has no guarantee, and specify returns are “at our discretion.”
  • Audio Quality: Audible’s sound quality is significantly better a 64 kbps, compared to Audiobooks.com’s 32 kbps. However, most people will not notice the difference in audio quality, but this might be important for audiophiles.
  • For heavy audiobook usage, the Audible Platinum Subscription gives you 24 books per year, meaning you will save $5.50 per book.

2 Reasons Why Audiobooks.com is Better Than Audible

  • The Audiobooks.com App is better; browsing for new books to listen to on mobile is a slightly better and curated experience with Audiobooks.com.
  • If you do not want to keep feeding the Jeff Bezos billionaire profit machine, go for Audiobooks.com; it is an excellent service and the best Amazon/Audible alternative.

Audible vs. Audiobooks.com Product Comparison

Audible vs. Audiobooks Product ComparisonAudibleVisit Audiobooks.com
Audiobook TypeFullFull
Do You Own the Audiobook?
Lifetime Access to Books
Audiobooks Collection200,000+200,000 +
Audio QualityExcellent (64kbps)Good (32 kbps)
Free Podcasts
Exclusive Content (Podcasts & Original Productions)
Podcasts
ResultWinner
Visit AudibleVisit Audiobooks

 

In terms of product offerings, both companies have an excellent and extensive library.  Both libraries feature 200,000+ titles, so, for significant book releases, you will not really see a difference.

Where you will see a difference is the sheer amount of original content that Audible offers.

Over the past few years, I have noticed the incredible growth in Audible Originals and exclusive content.  Audible being an Amazon company can invest heavily in differentiating themselves 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

Audiobooks.com cannot compete with this.

Library & Audio Quality

New releases and bestsellers are inevitably released on Audible first as its market share and customer base make it irresistible to publishers.  Therefore Audible always has the latest releases.

Audible also provides the industry-leading audio quality with a bit rate of 64 versus Audiobooks.com’s standard 32 bit; if you are an audiophile with great speakers or headphones, you will notice the difference.

Audible vs. Audiobooks.com Pricing Comparison

Audible vs. Audiobooks PricingAudibleVisit Audiobooks.com
Subscription RequiredNoNo
Membership /Monthly$14.95$14.95
Membership /Yearly$149.50--
Cost per Book /Yearly$12.45$14.95
Platinum 24 Books /Yearly$229.50--
Platinum Cost Per Book$9.56--
ResultWinnerRecommended
Visit AudibleVisit Audiobooks

 

Audible Pricing & Audiobooks Ownership

With Audible, you will get to own 1 Audiobook per month on a yearly subscription of $149.50 or $12.45 per book, which is the cheapest in the industry. You will also get access to 1 free Audible Original title (as mentioned in the previous section).

So you get one premium audiobook (by external publishers) and one audiobook by Audible studios.

If you terminate your monthly or yearly subscription with Audible, you get to keep both monthly audiobooks forever.

Audiobooks.com Pricing & Ownership

In comparison with Audible, you get two audiobooks per month with Audiobooks.com. One of those is a fully purchased title, and the other is a bonus title from the limited VIP selection.

The problem here is if you end your subscription with Audiobooks.com, you lose access to your VIP book.

This means that in terms of value for money, Audible wins this round, but again it is close.

Audible vs. Audiobooks Apps & Devices Comparison

Audible vs. Audiobooks Apps & DevicesAudibleVisit Audiobooks.com
App Store  Rating4.6 ☆4.5 ☆
DevicesiPhone, Android, PC, TV, Alexa, Kindle, Fire TViPhone, Android, PC
Smart SpeakerAlexa
ResultWinner
Visit AudibleVisit Audiobooks

 

Both Audible and Audiobooks.com provide great mobile apps that are highly rated in the App Stores by users.  The most significant difference here is that Audible will play on your Smart TV, your Amazon Firestick, and even Alexa will play your audiobooks.  Audiobooks.com does not have this.

Audible vs. Audiobooks.com Customer Service Comparison

Audible vs. Audiobooks Customer ServiceAudibleVisit Audiobooks.com
Books Return Policy1 Year, No Questions AskedAt Company Discretion
Customer SupportPhone, Chat, EmailPhone, Chat, Email
ResultWinner
Visit AudibleVisit Audiobooks

 

One of the essential 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, no questions asked.

Unlike Audible, with Audiobooks.com, there is no easily discernible way to return a book you are unhappy with.

In fact, looking into the user agreement, it says: “Audiobooks.com grants refunds at our sole discretion. We do not offer refunds on any subscription charges”.

This could be an area where Audiobooks.com can improve and be more explicit.

Full Audible Review

Audible AudiobooksSimply the Biggest & Best Audiobook Collection & Surprisingly The Lowest Subscription Costs per Book

Audible Review SummaryLikesDislikes
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆★ You Own the Book for Life✘ Nothing
★ The Biggest Library 200K+ Titles
★ Lowest Cost per Book $9.56
★ The Best Returns Policy
Visit Audible★ Compatible on All Devices
★ Syncs with Kindle

 

Review Winning Software

Audible Review Summary

Audible is the Audiobook industry leader with by far the most extensive library of titles with over 200,000 audiobooks in its library.

I should know, I have been an Audible member since 2011.

New releases and bestsellers are inevitably released on Audible first as its market share and customer base make it irresistible.

For me, one of the most essential elements of books or audiobooks is that you get to keep the books you pay for. 

I own over 250 titles with a value of $2,500, and I am pleased to 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.

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
Unlimited
Customer SupportPhone, Chat, Email
Special ServicesAudible Original Podcasts
Podcasts
App Store Rating4.6 ☆
DevicesiPhone, Android, PC, TV, Alexa, Kindle, Fire TV
Smart SpeakerAlexa
Table 1: Audible Audiobook Service, Features, Benefits & Costs

Audible Pricing Plans

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 – $14.95 per month

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.

Whichever subscription you choose, you will get 30% off any other purchases you make.  But the best news is that even if you run out of credits, Audible will allow you to buy additional credits at between $5 to $7 per credit, depending on the offers they have.

Additionally, nearly every single week, you will receive special promotions for “2 books for 1 credit” or “Every book for $3”, which are simply excellent deals.

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

Audible Content & Quality

Over the past few years, I have noticed the incredible growth in Audible original and exclusive content.  Audible being an Amazon company can invest heavily in differentiating themselves 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

Audio Quality

Audible offers two formats, Enhanced and Format 4, Format 4 is for those who value space rather than audio quality.

I download all my books in Enhanced format. This is exclusive to Audible! Audiobooks in Enhanced format are minimally compressed, so their audio quality is the best on the market. What this means, however, is that the Audible audiobook file is also larger and takes a bit more time to download.

Audible Customer Service & Returns Policy Is the Best

One of the essential 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.

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

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

I would know I have returned so many books for one reason or another, 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 nine years, I can safely say it is rock solid, easy to use, and actually perfect.

The Audible App has the following key features:

  • Car Mode – Makes 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; usually, 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, then our recent audiobook survey suggests that Audible Customers are delighted.  Audible was the most popular choice of Audiobook service amongst our 1,000 strong poll.

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

Visit Audible

Why Audible Video

Malcolm Gladwell and Kevin Hart Discover Audible | Audible

Visit Audible


Full Audiobooks.com Review

Get 2 Free Audiobooks with a Free 30 Day Trial
A Huge Library & Low-Cost Subscription Model Make Audiobooks.com a Viable Alternative to Audible

Audiobooks.com SummaryLikesDislikes
Rating: ☆☆☆☆★ You Own the Book for Life✘ Vague Returns Policy
★ Large Library 150K+ Titles✘ No Smart Speaker Support
★ App Store Rating 4.5 ☆
Visit Audiobooks.com★ Android & Apple

 

Audiobooks Review Summary

Highly Recommended Software

I have been testing and using Audiobooks.com for over eight weeks now, and I have to say that the library is extensive, and the service works very well.

With access to over 200,000 audiobook titles, and new releases arriving quickly, you will not notice any real difference between the Audible service and Audiobooks.com.

Importantly, like Audible, you own the book, which means that even if you terminate your subscription, you should have access to your audiobooks; for me, this is vital.

However, there are two drawbacks that I need to mention, the returns policy and the lack of smart-speaker support (see below).

Firstly, there is no easily discernible way to return a book you are unhappy with.  In fact, looking into the user agreement, it says: “Audiobooks.com grants refunds at our sole discretion. We do not offer refunds on any subscription charges”.

Audiobooks.com a Great App With Good Recommendations.
Audiobooks.com, a Great App With Good Recommendations.

Secondly, there is no support for smart speakers like Alexa, Apple, or Google Now.

Audiobooks.com Pricing

Free Trial

Audiobooks.com offers a free 30-day trial during which you can access one free credit for a full Audiobook and get access to 2 free VIP Books.

Monthly Membership

The monthly membership costs $14.95 per month, which gets you one credit for a book you own and access to an additional VIP book from a selection they have curated.

This means the average cost per book is $7.48.

The only issue I have with this is that you do not actually own the VIP book.  It will always be in your library, but if you end your subscription, you will only have access to the books you purchased with a Credit. All the VIP books will be removed as they were only loaned to you, not actually purchased by you.

This essentially means the real cost per book, should you end your subscription is $14.95.

On the positive side, they are always running 2 for 1 deals, which means that if you purchase books in the deal, you may bring your average cost per book back down to $7.50.

Audiobooks.com Features, Benefits & Costs Table

Audiobook ServiceVisit Audiobooks.com
Our Rating☆☆☆☆
Audiobook TypeFull
Do You Own the Audiobook
Lifetime Access to Books
Audiobooks Collection150K+
Membership /month$14.95
Audiobook ServiceVisit Audiobooks.com
# Audiobooks2 /month
Cost per book /monthly subscription$7.48
Subscription RequiredYes
Audio QualityGood
Books Returns PolicyAt Vendors
Discretion
Customer SupportPhone, Chat, Email
Podcasts
App Store Rating4.3 ☆
DevicesiPhone, Android, PC, Mac
Smart Speaker
Audiobooks.com Service, Features, Benefits & Costs

Audiobooks.com Library

Online and on the mobile App, the Audiobooks library is the easiest to browse and find new books to listen to.  The layout and recommendation engine is excellent, indeed.

Browsing the Audiobooks.com Library
Browsing the Audiobooks.com Library

Customer Service & Returns Policy

As mentioned previously, for me, the ability to return a book that you do not like at any time is a critical feature.

Unlike Audible, with Audiobooks.com, there is no easily discernible way to return a book you are unhappy with.

In fact, looking into the user agreement, it says: “Audiobooks.com grants refunds at our sole discretion. We do not offer refunds on any subscription charges”.

This could be an area where Audiobooks.com can improve and be more explicit.

Audiobooks.com My Recent Purchases In My Library
Audiobooks.com My Recent Purchases In My Library

App & Device Compatibility

App Store Rating: 4.3 ☆ Good

The Audiobooks.com App is straightforward and easy to use.  I particularly like the recommendation engine and how the browsing screen is very visual (see the image above)

However, viewing your own library could be improved in the App as the book thumbnails are large and difficult to navigate.

The App has some crucial features like a sleep timer, notes, bookmarks, and playback speed control.

I really like the ability to quickly follow an author and be notified of any future releases; this is something Audible does not have.

The only thing missing is car mode and compatibility with a smart speaker.

Visit Audiobooks.com

 

 

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.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, I’m just wondering is in the states you get the offer of three Audible books a month becasue over in the UK its only one per month.

    • Hi AJ, actually I have the 2 books per month subscription with the UK, and I also receive an extra “Audible Studios Production” Title in addition to that, meaning 3 books.

  2. You get one credit that can be used for any book. Anything else is not something you can choose.

    Am I missing something?

    • Hi George, you get one credit for any premium title. But also both audiobooks and audible offer one additional free/complimentary book from their curated/exclusive/VIP selection. A free book from a limited list.

  3. My husband downloaded audible on his phone – can I be on his subscription on my phone? Or do I have to pay for another separate subscription for my phone?
    thank you!

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