How Does Audible Work?

If you haven't heard of Audible, here's the lowdown

Audible is a platform you can use to purchase, download, and listen to audiobooks on the device of your choice. You can use the associated app to build a library of audiobooks, listen to titles wherever you please, and even read your books with an e-reader.

In this guide, we cover how Audible works and how you can use it to download audiobooks.

What Is Audible?

Audible is a service that sells audiobooks as well as a platform for customers to listen to them. Audiobooks work more or less like books-on-tape: The owner of a title sells the rights to produce a book on audio; a studio works with voice actors and sound editors to produce the audiobook; and a distributor (Audible, in this case) sells the finished product to customers.

Buying Audiobooks

When you purchase an Audible book, it's added to your account and delivered to you as a DRM-protected audio file. You can listen to the book using the Audible app on a variety of devices, including your computer, phone, tablet, or e-reader. The Audible book is yours forever once you purchase it, just like a print or e-book.

Audible Originals

In addition to books, Audible produces original content, called Originals. Some of these aren't quite books, in the traditional sense. They include a musical production of War of the Worlds and a list of random facts from the year 2018, among others. While their format may be different, they are treated like books when it comes to purchasing them, and they aren't available anywhere else.

Audible's Subscription Options

An Audible subscription begins with a free 30-day trial. It includes a free audiobook of your choice and up to two Audible Originals.

Sign Up for Audible's 30-Day Free Trial

If you decide to continue with the service after the trial, you will pay for a monthly subscription, which gives you one credit that you can use to pick up a book and two to use for Originals. Most books cost one credit.

You can save your credits from one month to the next. You can keep up to five credits in your account, but they'll expire after five months.

Select the "Audiobook" format when shopping in the normal Amazon store.

Audible Books A La Carte

You can also purchase Audible books a la carte. You do this from the storefront in the Audible app or by selecting Audiobook as the format for your purchase. Because Amazon owns Audible, you can also browse and purchase titles through Amazon.

Add Audible Narration to Kindle Books You Already Own

How to Get Audible Versions of Books You Own

A third option is to get the Audible narration of Kindle e-books that you already own. Here's how to do this:

  1. Go to and hover over the Account & Lists menu.

  2. Select Content & Devices.

    Amazon content and devices
  3. Find the book you want in Audible form and select the More actions drop-down menu.

    Amazon books more actions
  4. Select Add Narration in the pop-up window below the cover image.

    If you don't own the Audible version, you may need to select Purchase Audible Audiobook.

    Amazon Purchase Audible Audiobook
  5. Complete the payment process, and your book is available to you via Audible and Kindle.

The Whispersync feature retains your place in a book, whether you're reading or listening. That means you can read part of a chapter at night on your Kindle Paperwhite, for example, and then finish it via Audible on the way into work the next morning.

Signing Up for an Audible Subscription

While many people who listen to Audible books opt for a subscription, you don't need one to use the service. Nothing prevents you from buying books piecemeal, either by themselves or as an add-on to a Kindle book. However, an advantage of the subscription is that many Audible books cost more than the subscription cost, yet you can purchase them for a single credit. You effectively get a discount by subscribing.

Signing up for an Audible account is easy. Since Audible is a division of Amazon, it uses your Amazon account to sign you in and process purchases. If you have an Amazon account, all you need to do is sign in with it and start browsing for your trial book.

If you don't have an Amazon account, here's how to sign up for Audible:

  1. Go to Audible's free trial page and select Try Audible Premium Plus free.

  2. Sign up using the form on the Audible website. Provide your name, email address, and a password to create your Amazon account. Select Continue.

    Signing up for Amazon only requires a name, username, and password.
  3. Next, opt in to the Audible trial by providing a payment method, specifically a credit or debit card. Use the form to provide the relevant information.

    Add a payment method to your Amazon account to get started with Audible.

You now have an Audible/Amazon account.

Audible begins charging you the monthly subscription fee after 30 days, so make sure you cancel Audible before then if you don't intend to continue with the service. However, any items you picked up during your trial (books and Originals) are yours to keep, even if you cancel.

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