What is Audible?
Audible is the world’s largest source for audiobooks and narrative audio content. From its massive library of titles spanning every genre of literature to audio recordings of today’s news and original podcasts, Audible has something for every listener.
The history of Audible dates back to January 1995, when the company introduced a digital audio player, which is notable at least in that it debuted several years ahead of Apple’s iPod. In 2008, not long after the company started investing in exclusive science-fiction and fantasy audiobooks, Audible was acquired by Amazon for $300 million—and the service has steadily built out its offerings, features, and compatible devices ever since (more on that later).
Audible’s content is divided up into three main categories: books, podcasts, and magazines/newspapers.
If your memories of audiobooks are strictly from books on tape or CDs as a kid, you’re in for a treat. The audiobook industry has improved dramatically in the last decade, often using A-list actors as narrators and utilizing modern technology to enhance the experience. Audible books sync across devices, so whether you’re listening on your mobile device, computer, or tablet, you can pick up right where you left off. For subscribers who buy Amazon’s Whispersynct Kindle titles, you can switch back and forth between reading on a Kindle and listening to the audiobook version of a title, albeit for a small upcharge.
Audible podcasts and news
Audible Channels unlocks even more content, including Amazon-produced podcasts and free full-length audiobooks. This is also where Audible keeps audio versions of the biggest news stories of the day from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and theWall Street Journal. (If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can also listen to Audible Channels without actually subscribing to Audible.)
Audible features podcasts you won’t find anywhere else, focusing on humor, storytelling, science, and current events. What Were You Thinking? is a science-based exploration of the teenage mind by NPR reporter Dina Temple-Raston. Unheard is a fictional investigative podcast into the disappearance of a young girl lead by a fellow student. Damned Spot will appeal to true-crime fans; each episode explores how a different place where a notorious crime occurred recovered after the police tape was taken away. The shows aren’t all heavy, however. There’s plenty of comedy to be found on Punchlines, Lewis Black’s The Rant is Due, and the incredible Nick Offerman’s Bedtime Stories for Cynics.
Audible magazines and newspapers
Every Audible membership comes with a complimentary audio subscription to either The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, delivered Monday through Friday to your Audible app.
For example, if you’d like to subscribe to the New Yorker, you can pay one credit or $9.06 per month, or buy a subscription for $48.96 a year. That’s a great deal, but it’s also a nightmare to find it from Audible. We had to Google search “New Yorker + Audible subscription” to find that information. For some reason, neither Audible’s app nor website makes it easy to sort magazine and newspapers by type of subscription, or even just easily separate individual stories you can download from whole issues. It’s frankly a mess, and the only truly bad part of the Audible experience.
Your first month of Audible is free, complete with a credit for one free book. After the first 30 days, Audible’s standard Gold membership will cost you $14.95 per month, for which you’ll get credit for one audiobook each month, along with 30 percent off other audiobooks and programs purchased.
Audible’s Gold Annual membership is slightly cheaper on a monthly basis, but you’ll pay for it all up front: $149.50 per year, which amounts to $12.46 per credit. The benefit is that you’ll get access to all your credits at once.
Audible’s Platinum membership costs $22.95 a month, and it bumps you up to two credits per month, which breaks down to $11.48 per credit.
Audible’s Platinum Annual membership costs $229.50 upfront for 24 credits delivered all at once. It’s the best deal overall, amounting to only $9.56 per credit, but that’s a lot to swallow at one time.
While books are often discounted by Amazon, full price for an audiobook some titles run upwards of $30 at times, choose how you use your credits wisely. You’d hate to spend it on a $10 book and then want to buy one that costs $30. (The average cost of a title is around $17.99.)