Maybe It’s the child in me that loves being told stories, or it helps with my bad eyesight? Whatever the reason, I’ve always liked audiobooks, and I listen to them more and more.
Also, not being a native speaker I find it useful to listen to the audiobook while reading the ebook: it helps me to get an idea of how words sound, and even more important to get a better understanding of how sentences and paragraphs are constructed to convey rhythm.
For the last fifteen years or so I have mostly been purchasing my audiobooks from Audible. At first glance though, Audible looks very expensive with prices varying between a few bucks to $70 or more for a single audiobook. But that’s only at first glance.
Here is a recap of all you can do to get the most out of Audible without spending too much–and some titles suggestion to help you get started, if you need it. This Special Edition of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is exactly the same as the standard edition I also own. Both beautifully narrated by Claire Danes but the Special Edition comes with a few cool bonuses: if you don’t already own the previous edition, get this one instead.
Purchase, subscription and Credits
Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey can be yours for $45. Or is there a way to get it at a lower price? Yep, thanks to Credits.
On Audible, no matter its retail price, you can always exchange an audiobook for one Credit.
Truman Capote “In Cold Blood”: $33, or $23 for subscribers, or one Credit.
Paolo Bacigalupi “Pump Six and Other Stories”: $24/$17, or one Credit.
You get your Credits through a subscription plan. The base plan, “Gold”, is $15 a month and for that amount you get:
- 1 Credit, aka one audiobook of your choice, every month.
- 30% discount on any other audiobook during that month.
- The audiobook you pick will be yours to keep, even if you cancel your subscription later on (the only thing you’d lose by canceling are your remaining Credits, just remember to use all of them before canceling that’s all).
- Since 2018, Audible is also offering two “Audible Original” titles each month: two audiobooks from Audible own productions, for free.
There is one limitation with this bonus though: you must pick them from a pre-selected list of six titles, the list being renewed every month. Even limited, it’s still a neat bonus, and an opportunity to listen for free to titles you might not have picked up otherwise.
Three of the six Amazon Original, for January.
First time subscriber? Get one audiobook for free
If you have never subscribed to Audible (you can have purchased audiobooks though, just not having been a subscriber), Audible offers a free one-month trial: use it.
You’ll get all the perks of the Gold plan, for free:
- One free Credit/audiobook for free,
- Two Amazon Original for free (to pick from the six in the month’s selection).
- Plus all the other advantages.
- Also you’ll be an Audible Subscriber for one month, something that can give you many opportunities to get cheaper audiobooks, as you’ll see.
Audible sometimes also offer a discounted 3-month trial. The last one was around Christmas, at $7/month. Meaning you’ld get 3 Credits for $7 each.
Purchase more Credits
If you run out of Credits, you can either subscribe to a bigger plan or purchase more Credits.
The option to purchase more Credits’ll be available as soon as you have one remaining Credit, or less. But only after your first month as a subscriber, so if you’re just starting out you’ll need patience:
The first time you purchase extra Credits you’ll get them at approx. $10 per Credit, but you can only purchase three Credits at this price.
Subscribe to a bigger plan
Instead of purchasing more Credits, you can subscribe to a bigger plan, and get more Credits.
Go to your Account->Account Details. Just under you actual membership, click Switch membership:
The default plan is the Gold Monthly, at $15/month. But if we’re only to consider the cost per Credit, the best plan is Platinum Annual, at $9.57 per Credit—let’s round that to 10.
If you’re listening to audiobooks a lot, this plan looks like an easy decision, but don’t rush on it yet, as you may not need that much Credits:
- There are other ways to get discounted audiobooks, read the rest of this article.
- If you’re just starting out, know that listening to audiobooks takes time (even when speeded up). So, test out your real usage during a month or two, before committing yourself to a bigger plan: if you can cancel your subscription at any time, you won’t get a refund for the unused Credits.
- Quite a few audiobooks cost less than the price of a single Credit:
There is not much sense in spending a $15 or $10 Credit on a $5, $6, or $8 audiobook. And there are many more like that.
Some publishers available on audible do specialize in low price audiobooks. Search for “Oregan Publishing”: not all their narrators are as good though.
Or you could also do search on “B.J. Harrison”, he is a great narrator if you ask me.
An excellent version of Alice’s adventures narrated by B.J. Harrison, for $2. Even if there is a few differences here and there between the narration on the original text, it may well be the version I listened the most to.
What if you need fewer Credits?
“That’s all and good David,” you may say, “but I have a life besides reading or listening to audiobooks. What if I don’t need that much Credits? Can I spend less?”
Sure. Audible as one last plan, the Silver Plan, that may suit you. Don’t look for it as it’s not listed at all on their website: you must contact the support and ask them to activate it manually.
The Silver Plan’ll get you exactly the same benefits as the Gold plan for the same price ($15) but every two months only. So, you’ll pay for six Credits each year, while keeping all the advantages of being an Audible subscriber.
Go to you Account and contact the support asking them to switch your subscription to this Silver plan. They’ll do it very quickly. Audible support is very reactive.
Gimme my Credit back!
You don’t like an audiobook you’re listening to? Return it, you’ll get your Credit or your money back. No question asked.
You have one year to return an audiobook after its purchase, so there is no hurry. It’s so cool, I try my best not to abuse it.
It works with any audiobook you’ve purchased with a Credit or money. But it’s not available for the two Audible Original you pick for free with your subscription each month.
To return an Audiobook, go to your Account Details. Then click on Purchase History to get a list of all your purchases. Click Return next the audiobook you want to get a refund:
Some purchases I made during a sale in January. None returned so far. Look at the prices: Audible can be reasonably cheap.
Get both the audiobook and the ebook, with a discount
Audible being an Amazon subsidiary, you can get a discount if you already own the Kindle ebook, or if you purchase both at the same time.
It’s not available for every ebook, but it can be an amazing discount, to the point where it’s cheaper to purchase both the ebook and audiobook through Amazon, than just the audiobook on Audible.
Tomi Adeyemi “Children of Blood and Bone”, narrated by Bahni Turpin: $33 ($23 if a sub). But if you look next to the cover, there is a link to purchase the ebook on Amazon and then get the audiobook for only $7.90. Let’s see check that on Amazon:
$7 for the Kindle ebook, plus $8 for the audiobook? That’s 15 total: cheaper than the price of the audiobook alone—btw I’ve just finished reading/listening to this book as I’m writing this, and it’s one of the best YA novel I’ve read in a long time, and I loved Turpin’s narration.
A killer’s Mind, $26/$18 on Audible, but only $9 if you purchase the ebook and the audiobook directly on Amazon:
Not all deals are that good. But they’re often very interesting and it’s so easy to never miss one: if there is a link to Amazon, click it.
Audiobook purchased through Amazon’ll be added to your Audible Library as any other Audible audiobook.
A warning, though
These deals can sometimes be misleading:
I’m not a native speaker but when I read “Get this audiobook” I’m expecting to get, well, this audiobook at a reduced price. It’s not always the case.
I was interested in this version of ”Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” narrated by Scarlett Johansson. As I already own numerous versions, I was more than eager to see if the discount’d be good enough to indulge myself in purchasing another one:
$3, for the ebook plus Johansson’s audiobook? Great, save that it’s not Johansson’s audiobook that is being discounted. To check that, one need to click on the audiobook tab, on Amazon website, and compare the narrator:
Not having listened to it, I don’t know if Brian Kelly’s narration is any good, but I know it’s not the audiobook I wanted to purchase when I clicked the link.
The problem mostly concern books in the public domain (but not only). I really wish Amazon and/or Audible’d correct that.
But, once again, don’t miss out on these great bargains. Just remember to always check what audiobook is being discounted on Amazon.
Finding all your eligible Kindle ebooks
If you already own a vast collection of Kindle ebooks, no need to check them one by one manually to see which one’ll give you a discount on the audiobook. Amazon’ll do it for you, with its Kindle MatchMaker.
It’ll list all the eligible ebooks among those you already own, with a link to the discounted audiobook.
Audible Daily Deals
Audible Daily Deals is a newsletter exclusive to subscribers, that will get you a huge discount on an audiobook, you guessed it, every day.
Not every one of these deals are interesting. That’s perfectly fine, just skip the one you’re not interested in. Even if you were to purchase only, say 10% of the daily deals on a single year that’d still get you 36 audiobooks this year, for less than $6 each. Enough to keep you busy for quite some time.
You bet I’m ok to get Gaiman’s “Norse Mythology” for $4.
So, as long as you’re an active subscriber, even if you’re still using your free one month trial, sign-up for this newsletter as it’s not activated by default. Audible Daily Deals is one of the best reason to be an Audible subscriber, imo.
And don’t forget, there is no risk: you can always return an audiobook you don’t like.
Mary Robinette Kowal’s “The Calculating Stars”, $4 instead of $26.
To subscribe to this newsletter, go to your Account Details and then to Notifications. In the Marketing emails and announcements section, check the Audible Daily Deals.
Options may vary if you’re not an Audible US customer or if you don’t live in Canada or US. See my Disclaimer at the end of this article.
Regularly, Audible is having sales. “2-for-1 sales” are the most frequents: get two audiobooks, from a pre-selected list, for a single Credit.
They’re the most frequent, but they’re not the only sales.
The last sale, that ended a few days ago, was a huge discount on many first book in a series.
$10 instead of $50 for “Dune”? Yeah!
With the Daily Deals, these kind of sales is a great way to purchase a bunch of audiobooks for cheap. And that’s the main reason I suggested you don’t rush on the Platinum plan, earlier in the article, as you may not need to spend that much Credits to get audiobooks.
Some of the titles I purchased during the last 2-in-1 sale, earlier this month.
Use the Wish List to get alerts when a title is on a sale
By adding audiobooks to your Wish List not only you’ll make them easier to find later on, but you’ll also get an email if they’re ever put on sale.
Our best audiobooks under $10, dixit Audible
Audible has a page listing their best books “under $10” or, more exactly, around $10:
- Even though I live in France, I’ve always been an Audible US and an Amazon US customer. Offers will vary in their non-US store.
- For simplicity’s sake I’ve rounded all prices.
- Audible audiobooks are not DRM-free. You can listen to them on almost any device… as long as you’re using their own application, or their web player. Let me know if you’re interested in some links to DRM-free audiobooks.
- Depending on each publisher’s policy, some audiobooks will not be available for purchase outside of US and Canada. And that can be very frustrating.
Regularly, I’m missing out on a great Daily Deals, because of such restrictions.
To be fair with Audible, as I said earlier they do warn us that Daily Deals are US/Canada members only so it’s no surprise. But it’s still a pain. And it’s still stupid.
A quick Google search’ll provide you with “guaranteed” workarounds to circumvent this. Don’t waste your time trying them: they won’t work. The only way to bypass this absurd restriction is to own a legit US/Canada payment method, a credit or debt card.