How Does Audible Work? (2023 Guide to Audible)


Get answers to your questions from how does Audible work to is Audible worth it, and how to get free books on Audible to how much Audible costs per month. We answer the most important Audible FAQs and share some of our favorite book lists.

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Updated 1/1/2023

How does Audible work?

  1. Sign up for Audible’s free 30-day trial to make sure this audiobook service is something you want to explore further.
  2. Download the free Audible app or log in on the Audible website at You can listen to Audible on the free app or online. The app is available for iOS and Android, and you can also listen on Alexa, Fire tablets and Kindles.
  3. Now you can start listening to audiobooks. With a free Audible account, you can buy audiobooks or listen to about 50 free options. With an Audible membership, you get unlimited access to over 11,000 titles (over 60,000 hours of audiobooks and podcasts) and you can purchase from an insanely large library of over 500,000 titles.
How does Audible work? Infographic with icons and explanations of each step to start listening to Audible
How Does Audible Work? [infographic from SALT effect]

How do I get a free Audible trial?

If you choose the free Audible Plus trial, you can listen to as many things as you want from the Audible Plus Catalog (over 11,000 titles including podcasts, audiobooks, guided wellness and Audible Originals). You’ll get an email reminder before the end of your free trial and you can cancel anytime before the trial ends with no charge.

If you choose the free Audible Premium Plus trial, you get everything in the Audible Plus trail AND 1 credit (2 credits if your Amazon account is a Prime account). Each credit allows you to buy any title in the premium selection, regardless of price. And you get to keep it, even if you decide not to pay for a membership plan when your free trial ends.

My advice? Try the free Audible Premium Plus trial and get 2 free audiobooks!

How much is Audible a month?

Audible offers several different subscription plans, but all of them include the ability to stream or download any title in the Audible Plus Catalog. There’s no limit to how many of these titles you listen to while you have a free account or a membership.

What’s in the Audible Plus Catalog?

  • Audible Originals: Original content audiobooks that you can’t get anywhere else. These may be unfamiliar to you, but you can take a look at user reviews to help you decide. There’s no extra cost to try them and they just might introduce you to a new genre or author that you’ll love.
  • Audiobooks: Thousands of book recordings across all genres. Choose from bio and memoir, business and finance, fiction and literature, health and wellness, history and politics, kids, mystery and thriller, religion and spirituality, romance, sci-fi and fantasy, self-development, science and tech or young adult.
  • Podcasts: Includes some that are exclusive to Audible. I love podcasts! Making them available here allows me to keep all my audio favorites in one place.

Audible Plus is $7.95/month after a 30-day free trial 

For the same cost or less than most streaming services, you can listen to as many titles as you want from the Audible Plus Catalog. When you search for a title, these are marked with an “Included” badge and you can filter your search to show only titles that are included with your membership. New titles are added weekly.

It’s kind of like renting or borrowing audiobooks, but there’s no limit to how many you have at a time and you never have to wait for access. You also keep those titles for as long as you have an Audible membership. There are thousands to choose from, but you may not find some of your best-selling favorites.

our favorite noise canceling headphones, Anker Soundcore silver headphones

Audible Premium Plus is $14.95/month after a 30-day free trial

You can listen to as many titles as you want from the Plus Catalog. You also get 1 credit per month for any premium selection title (regardless of price!). The price of titles on Audible varies based on the length and seller preferences, and the prices range from $3 to $20 or more. Use your credits to choose a title priced at $15 or more to get the most out of your membership.

In addition to 1 credit per month, you also get 30% off additional purchases from the premium selection and discounts on Audible Daily Deals which offers a new and discounted rate for an audiobook that changes every day. 

This membership allows you to rent or borrow audiobooks and buy them at reduced prices. And even if you cancel your membership, you will always have access to the audiobooks you bought.

Audible Premium Plus Annual is $149.50/year

If you’re in love with Audible after your trial and know you’ll continue using it, you can purchase the annual plan at a price that basically gives you 2 months for free (compared to paying the monthly Premium Plus fee). 

You get all the benefits of the Premium Plus plan and access to 12 Audible credits right away rather than accruing them a month at a time.

How does Audible work: How to listen to audiobooks on Audible

You don’t need to have a membership or subscription to listen to audiobooks on Audible. You need a free account to sign in, but then you can listen to any audiobook that you purchase or the audiobooks that are part of Free Audiobooks on Audible (about 50 titles).

But let’s assume that you’re trying the free trial or that you’ve decided on a Audible subscription plan. You can stream or download audiobooks online or on the Audible app.

To stream Audible audiobooks on iOS
Open the app, tap Discover, tap Plus Catalog, choose genre (limit to “included” for titles in the Plus catalog if you want), choose title, tap Play

To stream Audible audiobooks for Android
Open the app, tap Menu, tap Discover, tap Browse, search for a title (limit to “included” for titles in the Plus catalog if you want), choose title, tap Play

To download Audible audiobooks and listen offline on iOS
Open the app, tap Discover, tap Plus Catalog, choose genre (limit to “included” for titles in the Plus catalog if you want), choose title, tap Add to Library, go to Library, tap on the title to download

To download Audible audiobooks and listen offline for Android
Open the app, tap Menu, tap Discover, tap Browse, search for a title (limit to “included” for titles in the Plus catalog if you want), choose title, tap Add to Library, go to Library, tap on the title to download

How to get free Audible credits

Get 1 free credit when you sign up for the Audible Premium Plus free 30-day trial! Prime members get 2 free credits! You can use your monthly credit for any premium title and it’s yours to keep, even if you decide to cancel before the trial ends.

After that, you’ll need to join Audible Premium Plus to get 1 free credit per month.

How does Audible work: How to get free books on Audible

Free Audiobooks for everyone (written in white letters on a bold background)

If you want to know how to get a free audiobook aside from the free credits you get with a trial and monthly membership, you can check out Audible’s Free Listens. There are about 50 free audiobooks available and the selection is updated regularly. You can listen to some fascinating titles for free, including Audible Originals, best-sellers, novels, motivational books and more.

You might find a book about dogs narrated by Cesar Millan for pet lovers, narrated reports and executive summaries for political junkies, funny Amazon reviews performed by top comedians, a collection of speeches by MLK Jr., real-life stories from Hurricane Katrina survivors, a Star Wars behind the scenes commentary and more.

These free books on Audible are definitely worth checking out! And remember, they change pretty frequently.

How to buy Audible books

You don’t need to have a membership to buy an Audible book.

Whether you have a membership or not, you can buy Audible books from the desktop or mobile site. Choose the title you want and then tap on Buy With One Credit (if you have credits available), Buy for $ (it will include the price) or Add to Wish List (so you can keep track of what you’d like to listen to in the future).

If the audiobook is more than $14.95 and you have credits available, I’d use a credit to get those most value for Audible membership plans. 

I’d also recommend adding books to your wish list so you can use a credit in an upcoming month, especially if it’s not a book you’re dying to read right away.

You’ll get an email to confirm your purchase and then you can either stream or download the audiobook.

How to return an Audible book

I’m impressed by Audible’s return policy. You can return or exchange an audiobook within 365 days of your purchase, even if you’ve already listened.

Audible states that the policy is in place to encourage members to try new genres and take a chance on different narrators or stories. That said, members who abuse the return policy may end up with suspended accounts. 

You won’t be able to return an Audible book on the app. You need to go to the online desktop or mobile site.

To return or exchange an audiobook on desktop: log in to your Audible account, go to Purchase History and then click Exchange next to the title you want to return. A confirmation will pop up on the screen after you select your reason for the return.

To return or exchange an Audible book on mobile devices: log in to your Audible account, tap Menu, tap My Account, tap Purchase History. Choose the title you want to return, tap Exchange. A confirmation will pop up on the screen after you select your reason for the return.

Is Audible Worth It?

Our Audible review would be incomplete without answering this question. Yes! And here’s why:

  • You can add as many included titles to your Audible library as you want–these are the titles that are in the Plus catalog. There’s no limit to the number of titles you have at one time.
  • Titles included in the Plus catalog are available to you for as long as you have a membership.
  • Titles that you purchase (with credits or with money) are yours to keep forever, even if you cancel your Audible membership.
  • The “Add to Library” feature is an easy way to keep a stash of audiobooks that you know you want to listen to.
  • You don’t have to put any books on hold or return them
  • You can always go back and listen again or share an audiobook using Family Library Sharing.
  • The “Add to Wish List” can help you keep track of audiobooks you want to purchase, and they’ll be there the next month when you get a new credit.
  • The return policy is fantastic, as long as you don’t abuse it.


Along with those practical reasons, I’ll share a few other reasons why Audible is worth it, especially for busy moms of tweens and teens.

  • We spend a crazy amount of time in the car, especially before our teens can drive, and audiobooks or podcasts are great ways to learn and grow while passing the time. It’s one of Mary’s secrets to making the most of her time every day. Think about all those hours to and from work, school, practices, games, recitals, friend’s houses, parties…not to mention the hours we spend just sitting in the car, waiting for our kids. 
  • Lots of authors narrate their own books and there’s something amazing about hearing them read their own words. Nobody else can do it quite the same way.
  • If your goal is to read more books but you can’t figure out when you’re going to find time to do that, audiobooks are a solution. Take it from this former high school English teacher mom–it’s not cheating if you listen to the book. We all learn differently and this can actually help improve our listening skills–something we all need to do.
  • Mary isn’t a huge fan of nonfiction, but she likes listening to nonfiction audiobooks. If Audible helps you expand your reading repertoire and try out new things, it’s worth it.
  • If you have tweens or teens who don’t love reading physical books (like mine), Audible is a way to keep them connected to books and learning in a different way. If they have an assigned book for school, you could even listen along with them to build stronger connections and relationships. 
  • If you have kids in college, Audible can be a good way to keep in touch. Sometimes all you need is to know you’re doing the same thing as your son or daughter who is away at school. It’s also a great college graduation gift idea.

Check out our reading lists for some inspiration!

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