Amazon is an industry leader and a company that always has some game-changing tricks up its sleeves.
Oh, wait! I’m not here to market Amazon. But I wish I were. I could surely use the money.
Back to business. Here’s why I’m covering Kindle Unlimited vs. Audible:
In a similar post, I promised to cover a huge chunk of services offered by Amazon (well, literary services, i.e., for readers and writers) and there seems to be a lot of them. I’ve already done a post on Prime Reading vs. Kindle Unlimited, and I’ll cover a lot more of Jeff Bezos’ brainchildren after this.
So, as I continue to deliver on my promise, I made this post for Kindle unlimited vs. Audible, and in the subsequent sections, I’ll be discussing the differences and similarities between Kindle Unlimited and Audible.
I would’ve loved to go straight into the differences and rip into one of these services but we all know that both Kindle Unlimited and Audible include free audiobooks. Therefore, I have to start by pointing out the similarities before bringing out the various departures.
What Makes Audible and Kindle Unlimited Similar?
So, what are the similarities that exist between Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Audible?
Well… they’re both owned by Amazon. Hmm… uninterestingly obvious?
Okay, how about Kindle Unlimited and Audible have audiobooks available for streaming, and they’re both stand-alone services that have monthly subscription plans?
One thing I like about both of these services is that they have very affordable subscriptions. Plus, they have well-stocked catalogs that are likely to leave any bookworm licking their lips.
Kindle is a service—owned by Amazon—that allows members to buy, read, and download e-books, magazines, newspapers, and other digital publications on its platform. The Kindle store is replete with e-books and other forms of digital media and is assumed to host more than 5 million for its American users.
In line with its evolutionary policy and quality, Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited, which is a service that gives its subscribers access to over 1 million written books and thousands of Audiobooks. Nicknamed The Netflix of Books, The service allows you to browse new authors, books, and an excellent variety of genres—from psychological thrillers and romance to Sci-Fi and many others.
Kindle Unlimited Pros
- Kindle Unlimited has a lot more titles than what Audible offers.
- Kindle Unlimited’s library also stacks audiobooks and other media.
- Members get instant access to 1 000 000+ titles.
- A lot of the e-books available on Kindle Unlimited come with Audible narration— more than 40,000 e-books, to be precise.
- There are a lot of media options (i.e., e-books, audiobooks, and magazines).
- Kindle Unlimited has no due dates—so, you can have the books for as long as your membership lasts and don’t have to worry about paying late fees.
- Members are allowed to borrow up to ten titles at once.
Kindle Unlimited Cons
- Kindle Unlimited is only available to U.S users on Amazon.com. So, if you’re in someplace other than the US of A, this service isn’t available for you.
- The ‘no due date’ cushion ends as soon as your membership expires. As soon as your subscription ends, your access to the titles you are currently reading is revoked.
- Amazon reserves the right to remove any book in its library at any time. And this usually happens without notice, the book that turned up in your search today might not be available tomorrow. If you’re reading a series and something like this happens, you might be stuck in the middle of an exciting story because it has been discontinued from the program.
- Kindle Unlimited has more than a million titles, however, the newest and most popular releases take a while to be available in the Kindle Unlimited library. So, don’t get excited when your favorite writer announces a new release because that title isn’t showing up in your Kindle Unlimited library any time soon.
Explaining everything I cover in a blog feels like teaching kindergarten, but I have to do it lest I lose a reader.
So, for those that don’t know what it is, Audible is one of the world’s biggest sellers of audiobooks.
One of the biggest? Uh… I should say the biggest in 2021. Audible has earned the number one spot in the downloadable audiobooks production industry worldwide.
Audible has been one of the Amazon subsidiaries since 2008 when Amazon paid a fee estimated to be around $300 million to acquire it.
Like most of Amazon’s services, it has positively evolved and it’s now available on platforms like android, iOS, Kindle, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, and Windows Phone.
So, how does it work?
You get a device with any of the supported systems and a working internet connection, then you sign up for a membership using your Amazon account. Then you go to Audible.com or install the app on your device. Audible offers four different subscription plans and uses credits that you use to purchase audiobooks each month. The credits are different for each plan, with the most basic plan offering 1 book per month. As an Audible subscriber, you also get unlimited access to original Audible podcasts.
Audible products are available in two formats: the AA format (.aa) and AAX format (.aax).
- Audible gives you access to almost any audiobook and original Audible podcast on the market. By far, Audible has the largest audiobook collection.
- You still get to keep your audiobooks even after you are no longer a subscriber. This way, you are actually buying the audiobooks rather than borrowing them.
- It is quite easy to exchange an audiobook that you don’t like.
- Offers a wide variety of subscription plans, something that Kindle Unlimited lacks.
- You’re allowed to put your membership on hold once every 12 months.
- Offers discounts if you want to get more audiobooks than the maximum specified on your subscription plan.
- More expensive than Kindle Unlimited when per capita cost is factored in. The 1 book monthly membership plan is cheaper than Kindle Unlimited, but as the title suggests, it only gives you one audiobook per month. And this is the case with the rest of the membership plans.
- Compared to Kindle Unlimited, Audible has fewer titles overall.
- Some audiobooks on the market are less than the cost of the membership, so you might be paying more if you choose a cheap audiobook.
- Audible does not give you the option of purchasing additional credits. Once you subscribe to a membership plan, you get credits for a given number of books but you’re not going to buy any additional credits. However, Audible offers special offers to purchase extra credits when you’re on the same Audible membership for at least 30 days and have one or are out of credits.
What Makes Audible Unique?
What features make Audible unique? What has catapulted the service to the top?
A Big Catalog
When it comes to pure numbers, Audible is above all audiobook selling or lending platforms.
Audible has a lot of audiobooks that aren’t found anywhere else, but it’s rare to find a title elsewhere and go to Audible and find it missing.
Audible allows you to download audiobooks for offline listening. This feature is available on all of Audible’s plans, and it allows you to listen to the audiobooks without any distractions from the internet.
Customizable Listening Speed
To suit your desired pace, Audible lets you customize the listening speed.
You can change the pace at which the audiobook is played; the playback speeds are 0.5x, 1x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 2x, and 3x.
Do you like listening to something just before you fall asleep? If yes, then Audible’s sleep timer function was made just for you.
Sometimes you think you’re going to turn off your device just before you’re swallowed by dreamland, but that rarely works.
And that’s not good for your device’s battery, is it now?
With the sleep timer function, Audible lets you doze off in peace knowing that, at the set time, your device will stop playing the audiobook.
You can also use this feature to pause the narration at the end of a chapter for you to continue from where you stopped.
Whispersync for Voice
Sometimes, reading your books becomes a bit harder even if you have some free time available.
The Whispersync feature was added to allow you to go back and forth between reading your book on your Kindle and listening to its audiobook version.
This feature is usable when you have both the Kindle eBook and its Audible version. An arrangement called owning a paired edition.
Audible vs. Kindle Unlimited: Pricing
I might have mentioned something about Audible having a good variety when it comes to subscription plans. It has 4 different subscription options and the cheapest plan goes for $7.99 per month.
For $14.95 per month, Audible members receive an Audible credit for one free audiobook that they can choose from the well-stocked Audible catalog. Subscribers of this plan also have unlimited access to the entire Audible Plus catalog, which has 9000+ audiobooks. In addition, members enjoy reduced prices for all Audible audiobooks.
Since you get to keep the audiobooks (whether bought using money or credits) after you cancel your membership, you have to make sure you use your credits before canceling your membership. This is so important because you lose all the credits if you have any unused credits when canceling.
You can also purchase the Audible Plus subscription option. This membership plan is the most affordable among the four and only costs only $7.95 per month. It gives you unlimited access to over 9000 Audible books.
Kindle Unlimited subscription costs $9.99 a month and it gives you access to over one million eBook titles and 2000+ free audiobooks. Amazon is never short of special deals, and in keeping up with this tradition, Kindle Unlimited gives special deals on audiobooks for thousands of eBooks in the Kindle Unlimited catalog. With these deals, you can get audiobooks for under $2 and, unlike the ones you borrow, you get to keep them after your subscription ends.
Kindle Unlimited vs. Audible: Verdict
My verdict. Hmm… I’m not going to come here and impose a ruling on you, however, I still got to give my honest opinion.
So, which one do I think comes out ahead in the Kindle Unlimited vs. Audible comparison? Honestly? For me, it’s Kindle Unlimited.
Well, sorry, but I like to read. Like read-read. Like old school, eyes on the paper type of reading.
Audiobooks have proven to be an excellent invention, but I’m an avid reader and listening isn’t reading.
But that’s my opinion, and if I have to be objective, I will say that it all depends on you. If you’re really into audiobooks, an Audible Premium Plus membership is sexier than Kindle Unlimited because it offers you unlimited listening and has a good selection of titles. Plus, you get it to keep your audiobook.
If you’re more like me, and you occasionally listen to an audiobook, Kindle Unlimited should be your preference. Yes, Kindle Unlimited has a thinner audiobook catalog, but it has a catalog usually stuffed with high-quality new releases every month. However, just because Kindle Unlimited has fewer audiobooks doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect for someone who loves audiobooks, it has more than sufficient audiobooks.
Audible vs. Kindle Unlimited: FAQs
What are Audible Originals?
Audible Originals are exclusive audio titles developed in the Audible studios by renowned storytellers from fields ranging from theater, journalism to literature, and many more.
Why can’t I buy additional Audible credits?
Audible gives a credit that you can use to buy any audiobook regardless of the price and you can’t buy extra credits but can upgrade your subscription plan.
However, Audible has a special offer that lets you get additional credits.
Kindle Unlimited vs. Audible Plus
I’m a cheapskate, cheap things are always appealing to me, so let’s forget the other Audible subscriptions and focus on the ‘plain’ Audible plus plan.
With Audible Plus, you are given unlimited access to over 9000 audiobooks compared to Kindle Unlimited’s 2000 audiobooks.
It’s a very good game of numbers in which Audible Plus trumps Kindle Unlimited.
Kindle Unlimited comes back with its own lethal attack and outflanks Audible with its new releases.
The two services always try to counter each other; for example, Kindle Unlimited consistently seeks to keep its catalog hot by stocking it with popular new releases every month while Audible Plus—which also consistently updates its catalog— always has a higher total number of audiobooks.
Is it easy to use Audible?
The way Audible is designed makes it easy to use and one doesn’t need to worry about a learning curve at all. It’s virtually straightforward to use on all supported platforms.
Is Audible free with Prime?
No. Audible is a stand-alone service and you need to separately purchase an Audible membership. Although this is the case, Prime members get discounted pricing on Audible membership and Prime membership also comes with a small audiobook catalog.
Why are audiobooks so expensive?
Production costs are the major reasons for the high prices of audiobooks. To recoup the cost of producing an audiobook (paying the audiobook narrator, audio mixing, etc.).
And, Audible gets a share of the revenue, so the price has to be high enough to ensure that the owner of the audiobook gets something.
Can you listen to audible on two devices at the same time?
Yes. Audible members can listen to Audible on different mobile devices at the same time—up to three devices.
I think I have served you a very comprehensive comparison of Kindle Unlimited vs. Audible. It’s now up to you to decide which service suits your needs.
It’s a good thing both services offer potential members trial periods. So, take the 30-day free trials and see for yourself, you never know, you might end up subscribing to both.