Audible and Audiobooks.com have the biggest libraries in the audiobook market, and both have a similarly priced standard subscription, so which should you choose?
The table below summarizes the key differences and similarities between Audible and Audiobook.com
|$7.95 / $14.95 / $22.95 per month||$14.95 / $27.90 / $38.85 per month|
|0-1-2 credits per month to redeem any audiobook||1-2-3 credits per month to redeem any audiobook|
|30 Day Free Trial with 1 free audiobook||30 Day Free Trial with 3 free audiobooks|
|500,000+ audiobook library||250,000+ audiobook library|
|All plans have 10,000 free audiobooks||Choose 1 free audiobook out of a selection of 15-20 ; Can spend 1 credit to read hundreds of free audiobooks in a certain category|
|Can refund a book multiple times to recover credit||No refunds allowed|
|10,000 free audiobooks in “Plus Catalogue”||Trade 1 credit for unlimited listening for 30 days to an audiobook list of your choice|
Overall, Audible offers more advantages compared to Audiobooks.com such as twice as many audiobooks, more affordable monthly subscription plans, better cost per credit, and an extremely generous audiobook refund policy that let’s you refund even completed audiobooks.
Audible has 500,000+ titles, compared to Audiobooks.com’s 250,000 audiobooks selection.
This difference is very noticeable when searching for audiobooks on both services. Many famous books are completely missing from Audiobooks.com, but you can find them on Audible in 2-3 versions, each with a different narrator.
Audiobooks.com’s selection is still good, but Audible has almost every audiobook you can think of.
In terms of audio quality, both Audible and Audiobooks.com offer identical quality, and both accept only audiobooks narrated by professional voice actors.
Overall Winner: Audible. Audible simply has more books to choose from, with lots more audiobooks and multiple versions of the same audiobook but each with a different narrator.
Free Trial benefits
Both Audiobooks.com and Audible offer a 30 day free trial.
Audiobooks.com gives you 3 free audiobooks of your choice during this time.
Audible only gives 1 audiobook of your choice during a free trial (one exception: Amazon Prime subscribers get 2 audiobooks)
Important note: You don’t receive these audiobooks directly, instead you get “credits”, which you can then use to buy any audiobook you want, regardless of price. 1 credit = 1 audiobook for either service.
In both cases, a free trial member has the same benefits as a paying one: discounted books, access to free audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, newspaper subscriptions etc.
In both cases, signing-up for a free trial requires submitting credit card information, and payments begin automatically after 30 days unless you cancel first.
Overall winner: Audiobooks.com. In terms of free trials, Audiobooks.com edges out Audible simply because it offers 3 free audiobooks instead of 1 (or 2 for Amazon Prime subscribers).
Subscription cost & price per credit
Audible has an overall more affordable subscription
When first signing up to Audiobooks.com, you can only choose from 1 payment plan: $14.95 monthly with 1 credit per month + 1 free “VIP Selection books” per month (more on that in the “Free Audiobooks” section).
After signup, you can go to your Account Settings and choose from 2 more payment plan options:
- $27.90 per month: 2 free credits, 1 free VIP selection book.
- $38.85 per month: 3 free credits, 1 free VIP selection book.
Audible lets you choose from multiple payments plan at signup, including yearly ones:
- $7.95 per month. No free credits, must buy audiobooks or listen only to Plus Catalogue, a selection of 10,000+ free audiobooks (more on that in the “Free Audiobooks” section).
- $14.95 per month: 1 credit per month, includes Plus Catalogue
- $22.95 per month: 2 credits per month, includes Plus Catalogue.
- $149.50 per year: 12 credits upfront, includes Plus Catalogue.
- $229.50 per year: 24 credits upfront, includes Plus Catalogue.
Extra credits are more expensive on Audiobooks.com
Both Audiobooks.com and Audible offer you the possibility to purchase extra credits if you’ve already used the monthly ones.
Audible offers 3 credit bundles, priced between 32-36 dollars, so around 10-12 dollars per credit.
What makes this experience annoying is that you can’t buy this 3 credit bundle whenever you want.
You must first have 0 credits in your account, and then wait for Audible to make the 3 credit bundle available through a pop-up or a prompt in the app.
This usually happens whenever you have 0 credits, but sometimes the offer won’t appear and you’re essentially stuck until the new month starts or must read the free audiobooks.
Audiobooks.com let’s you buy only 1 new credit at a time, priced at $14.95.
This feature is called “Instant Credit”, and only works when you have 0 credits available.
To activate it, you have to go to a paid audiobook and try to purchase it with a credit. You’ll then be prompted by the Audiobooks.com app, asking if you want to pay $14.95 to get an instant credit and listen to the audiobook.
Overall Winer: Audible. Audiobooks.com is more convenient and predictable in how you can purchase credits, but Audible still has the better overall price-per-credit (11-12$ for Audible vs $14.95 for Audiobooks)
Both Audiobooks.com and Audible offer audiobooks for free. The catch is that in both cases the selection of free audiobooks is limited.
All Audible plans offer access to a small library of 10,000+ audiobooks you can listen for free, without paying money or credits. This library is called Plus Catalogue.
This Plus catalogue contains both fiction (romance, fantasy etc.) and non-fiction (economics, psychology etc.).
Audiobooks.com has two systems to get free audiobooks.
The first one is called the “VIP Rewards”, and is open to all free trial or paying members. Each month, Audiobooks.com selects 15-20 audiobooks that are included in the “VIP Rewards” section. Out of these 15-20, you can only choose 1 audiobook to listen for free every month.
When the month is over, the books are swapped out with another set of 15-20 audiobooks, and you can again choose 1 audiobook to listen for free.
The other system Audiobooks.com has for free audiobooks is called “Audiobook Clubs”.
These “clubs” are basically lists containing hundreds of audiobooks on various categories: Romance, Business and Economics, Kids, etc.
By paying 1 monthly credit, you get access to any Audiobook club of your choosing, meaning you can download and listen to as many audiobooks as you want.
Overall winner: Audible. Both audiobook services are actually pretty good in the “free audiobooks” department, but Audible has a bigger selection of free audiobooks and you don’t have to sacrifice a credit to listen to them.
Quality of life features: app interface, refunds, number of devices & other
Besides the attention grabbing features of library size and pricing, there are a number of other quality-of-life features that can make an audiobook service more enjoyable.
Audible has a fantastic book refund policy. Audiobooks.com (almost) never accepts refunds.
Audible lets you refund audiobooks no questions asked, and gives back the credit you spent on the audiobook.
Not only that, but Audible even let’s you refund audiobooks you’ve finished! This means you can read a gigantic, 50 hour audiobook, refund it, get your credit back, and buy another 50 hour audiobook.
There are systems in place to prevent abuse. The Audible app will grey out the “Refund” option so you can’t use it anymore if you refund 5-6 completed audiobook in a 2-3 month period.
However, this reviewer has refunded at least 5 or so audiobooks per month without any issue. The catch is these refunds happened when I listened to only 10-15% of the audiobook and found I couldn’t bother finishing them.
Audiobooks.com almost never lets you refund audiobooks, except for a few extremely situations such as an audiobook having technical issues or missing content.
The end result is that if you buy an audiobook you don’t like, you’re essentially stuck with it and have lost this month’s credit. There’s no recovering it.
This strict non-refund policy makes it very hard to experiment and try out new audiobooks and genres.
Audible allows unlimited users per account. Audiobooks.com only 3-9 per account.
Audible has no limit to how many users or devices can log in to your account. There’s nothing stopping you from sharing an account with your entire family and friends network.
The only catch is that those other users can only listen to audiobooks you’ve already purchased, podcasts or free audiobooks from the Plus Catalogue.
By comparison, Audiobooks.com only let’s 3 devices per account.
However, Audiobooks.com has a “Family Plan” option where you can invite 2 other users to create individual profiles. Each of these profiles also has a maximum of 3 devices.
Thus, you can connect up to 9 devices spread across 3 user profiles on a single Audiobooks.com account.
App UI and usability is roughly the same for both
Both Audible and Audiobooks.com have pretty good in-app UI and navigation and similar quality of life features such as:
- No ads or commercials.
- Playback speed, so you can speed up or speed down how fast a narrator speaks.
- Create bookmarks and notes.
- Chapter navigation.
- On both platforms, most audiobooks have many reviews you can read to decide if a book is worth it or not.
- Both apps have listening time statistics and badges or achievements for various activities (finishing X number of audiobooks, taking notes, re-reading an audiobook, etc.)
Overall quality of life winner: Audible. Audible wins this section simply for it’s absolutely outstanding refund policy, which gives this feeling of safety that you can try out various audiobooks until you find the right one for you.
Overall, Audible edges out on Audiobooks.com by a tiny margin in most cases. It really does help Audible that it has the backing of Amazon, one of the biggest Internet giants in the world. If you would like, here is an even more in-depth review of Audible and what it can offer you.
That being said, Audiobooks.com is surprisingly competitive, and is a worthy service in and of its own.