How Does Audible Work?

What is Audible anyway?

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

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

What Is Audible?

Audible is a service that sells audiobooks and a platform for customers to listen to them. Audiobooks work more or less like books-on-tape: The owner(s) of a title sell 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.

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 read the title on an e-reader. The Audible book is yours forever once you purchase it, just like a print or e-book.

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.

Audible's Subscription Options

An Audible subscription begins with a free 30-day trial and 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'll have to pay for the 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're able to 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.

You also have the ability to purchase Audible books a la carte. You can do this from the storefront in the Audible app, or by selecting Audiobook as the format for your purchase. As Audible is owned by Amazon, you can also browse and purchase title on through Amazon.

Add Audible Narration to Kindle Books You Already 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 Your content and devices.

  3. Find the book you want, and select its overflow menu (the three dots just to the right of the checkbox).

  4. Select Add Narration in the pop-up window, just below the cover image.

  5. Complete the payment process, and your book will be available to you via Audible as well as 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, 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. There's nothing preventing you from buying your books piecemeal, either by themselves or as an add-on to a Kindle book. However, a big advantage of the subscription is that there are lots of Audible books that cost more than the subscription cost, yet they can still be purchased 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 fo Audible:

  1. Go to Audible's free trial page and select Click to Try Audible Free.

  2. You can sign up using a simple form on the Audible website. You only need to provide your name, an email, and a password to create your Amazon account.

    Signing up for Amazon only requires a name, username, and password.
  3. Next, you'll need to opt into your Audible trial by providing a payment method, specifically a credit or debit card. Use the form (shown above) to provide the relevant information.

    Add a payment method to your Amazon account to get started with Audible.
  4. You now have an Audible/Amazon account.

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