I have been seeing and hearing ads for Audible.com for well over a year now but always ignored them. I love to read and audiobooks never interested me so consequently the ads never interested me. Over this past year, a lot has changed. I subscribe to a lot of podcasts. Some are entertaining and some are educational. I listen to a few podcasts every day at the office and love the portability of taking them with me on my iPhone and listening to them in the car or when I exercise. For some reason, I never saw being entertained or educated via a podcast as the same thing as listening to an audiobook. My overall change in attitude got me wondering, “Is Audible worth it?”
Why I Considered Audible
Additionally, my favorite news radio station has suddenly become very hard to tune into consistently. It must be my car as it works fine in my wife’s car but I no longer have that as an option. Sure, there are music stations that I like and I always have all of the stuff on my iPhone to listen to but I was still disappointed to lose that radio station.
Finally, I have a 30 to 35-minute commute to work every day and it just started feeling like more and more wasted time. With two kids and a busy work schedule, I don’t have nearly as much time to read as I once did.
One day this past November, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and an ad came on for Audible. It just somehow clicked this time. They were offering 50% off their Gold membership plan for the first 3 months. I will give you a rundown of the membership plans a little later in this article. With that initial trial, I downloaded Stephen Kings The Gunslinger, it’s the first book in the Dark Tower series. It’s a series I have always been meaning to read but never seemed to get around to it. The audiobook normally sells for $19.93 but with this membership offer, I got it for $7.62. It’s less than a hardcover book but a little more than the paperback would have cost me. That seemed pretty reasonable to me knowing that they had to pay a voice actor to read the book.
This was my first exposure to an audiobook and it did not disappoint. The process of signing up with Audible was simple as was the process of purchasing the audiobook and putting it onto my iPhone. Audible offers a download manager that takes care of all of that. The voice actor did an excellent job, his voice matched the tone of the story and it wasn’t rushed. I looked forward to my commute to and from work so I could listen to the next part of the story. It took me about 2 weeks to get through it which is a lot faster than it takes me to get through a regular book nowadays (mostly due to time). I had joined with the intention of getting a book, trying it out but most likely canceling before the 3-month trial expired but I have changed my mind, I am an Audible and audiobook convert!
Is Audible Worth It?
After getting that first book, I decided that it would be a good way to accomplish several goals:
- Get caught up on books I have wanted to read just for the fun of it
- Get caught up on the business and personal finance books that will help me improve my financial situation and grow as a businessman
- Find some books in the Audible for Kids section for my boys and see if works as a way to keep the kids occupied on long car trips
With what seemed like the makings of an actual plan forming, I got a new book in December called Freakanomics. It’s a book that asks strange questions and really makes think you about the economics of life. I decided that I would alternate. My membership plan with Audible gives me one free credit every month that I can use towards the purchase of any book. Since I can’t afford to spend more than I am already spending on the membership, I will get myself one book a month and alternate between pure entertainment and books that will also educate. I enjoyed Freakonomics but didn’t learn as much from it as I had hoped. It was more a collection of essays that got you thinking that it was a lesson in economics. Still, a worthwhile read/listen but probably not one I would recommend as a must read.
January came around and I got the second book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series but I also sprang for a second book (it was only $6.49). The Audible for Kids books are pretty inexpensive if you are a member and I really wanted to see if my kids would enjoy listening to something in the car. My son is in Dinosaur mode. It’s all he talks about, thinks about and plays with these days so when I saw the Magic Tree House, Book 1: Dinosaurs Before Dark I had to get it. It’s meant for longer car trips like the one we are taking in a week to see some family but I tested it out on the drive to daycare and to my surprise, there wasn’t a peep out of either of my boys on the whole ride. They sat there with mouths open listening to the story. When we got to daycare, they said they liked it but weren’t ecstatic about it nor have they asked to listen to it again so I got a bit of a mixed review from them. I think the real test will come from that hour-long cart trip we are taking next week.
Audible Membership Plans
Before deciding whether or not Audible is worth it for you, you should know there are several membership options. Before you sign up, it’s important to know what you are going to get with each one.
This isn’t really a membership plan but it should be mentioned as an option. You do not have to become a regular recurring member to buy from Audible. If you only think you are going to want a few audiobooks a year, this is the way to go. You will have to pay full price for that audiobook but it’s better than committing to a monthly membership plan. To participate, simply go to Audible.com and buy a book.
Audible Listener Gold
This is the plan I am on. This plan costs $14.95 a month but with that, you get 1 free credit every month and with that credit, you can get any book you want. They key here is books on Audible range from $4.95 up to $35 so if you are going to subscribe to a plan like this make sure you are using that credit to buy a book that costs more than the plan. It doesn’t make sense to spend $14.95 for the month and then use that free credit to get a book that would have cost you $4.95. Most books are more than $14.95 so you will have plenty to chose from. As a gold member, you also get 30% off anything that is not purchased with a credit, free audio programs and a complimentary subscription to the audio version of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. You can get the same deal I did and click the following link to get 50% off your first 3 months at Audible
Audible Listener Gold Annual
This is the same as the plan above but you pre-pay for the entire year. When you do this, your cost per credit goes from $14.95 per credit to $12.46 per credit. Worthwhile savings if you know you are going to stick with it for a year. If you aren’t sure, it’s better to play it safe and go month to month. You can still get the same discount on the first three months, just go to 50% off at Audible.
Audible Listener Platinum
This is similar to the Gold plan that I am on except it costs $22.95 a month and you get 2 free credits every month. This brings the cost of those credits down from the $14.95 I pay to $11.48. A better bargain if you think you will get through 2 every month. I am not sure I can so I am sticking with the gold plan for now. They don’t have any special offers that I am aware of with the Platinum level so sign up by going to Audible.
Audible Listener Platinum Annual – This is the same as the plan above except you pre-pay for an entire year. This will bring your cost per credit down from the $14.95 per credit I pay to $9.56. Pretty cheap if you know you are going to go through 24 audiobooks in a year and can afford to lay it out all at once. Sign up by clicking here to go to Audible
Summing it Up
Audible isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t big on books or don’t have a lot of quiet time to spend listening to these books, it’s probably not worth it but for me, they make my commute into work a lot more enjoyable.
Do you use Audible? What do you think of audiobooks in general?