Audiobooks are a fantastic way to enjoy new stories if you don’t have the time to sit down and read during the day. Pop your headphones in or listen to a new novel during your morning commute. Audible might be the only name that comes to mind when you think of audiobooks because it owns a massive market share. According to experts, Audible owns a mind-blowing 90% of the market in some verticals.
With alternatives hitting the market nearly every day, should you cancel your Audible subscription in 2022?
Pros and Cons of Audible
Before you decide to cancel your Audible subscription, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the company that owns such a massive section of the audiobook market.
A Massive Library to Choose From
We weren’t kidding when we said Audible owns most of the audiobook market. As of this writing, there are more than 200,000 audiobooks on Audible, with more being added every day. This list includes new titles and many versions of classic novels, self-help books and more.
Multiple Subscription Options
The standard Audible subscription costs $14.95 a month or $149.50 annually. It includes one credit and access to a growing library of Amazon Originals and the books you’ve purchased. If you listen to more than one book a month, you can choose the Premium Plus plan, which costs $22.95 a month ($229.50 annually) and gives you two credits each month. If you want the originals, it costs $7.95 a month.
Even if you’ve used your credit for the month, being an Audible subscriber means that you can buy audiobooks for 30% off the cover price.
Everything is Locked Behind DRM
Digital Rights Management, or DRM, was designed to keep people from pirating digital content. Most online retailers quickly realized DRM didn’t do anything to stop piracy or even slow it down. Amazon Music abandoned DRM, but they haven’t done the same for Audible, which locks you to the app’s platform instead of allowing you to listen to audiobooks you own offline or other devices that can’t run the app.
You Might Not Mesh With The Narrator
Listening to someone talk for hours can be a great way to relax and enjoy a good story unless the narrator rubs you the wrong way. If the narrator is annoying or their voice grates on your nerves, you’ll never listen long enough to get through the book.
Footnotes Break The Immersion
Footnotes aren’t limited to nonfiction titles. Some of the best-known authors, like Terry Pratchett, used to leave footnotes and margin notes for the reader. The problem is when you’re reading these on a page, you can choose when you read them. Narrators often stop mid-paragraph from including the footnote, breaking the immersion.
Audiobooks Aren’t for Everyone.
Some people don’t enjoy having a book read to them. There’s no point in wasting your money on an Audible subscription if you’re never going to use it. Plus, if you have any leftover credits when you cancel your subscription, they vanish too, even though you paid for them.
The Perpetual DRM Battle
When Amazon purchased Audible in 2008, the retail giant stated they would do away with DRM on audiobooks. It’s now 2022, and Amazon has yet to fulfill that promise. The biggest problem with DRM is it makes audiobooks less accessible. Schools and public libraries can include audiobooks in their stacks, loaning them out just like hardcopies — unless they have an “Exclusively on Audible” ribbon slapped on the cover. Unless you’re affiliated with Amazon, you can’t distribute audible exclusives, excluding almost all public libraries.
This exclusivity hurts everyone, from the author to booksellers and everyone in between. Audible has even been known to pay publishers to embargo a book for 90 days after its release. Continuing to keep DRM on their audiobook files is just another tool to facilitate this kind of gross exclusivity that keeps audiobooks out of the hands of people that might enjoy them.
Alternatives to Audible
Audible might be the biggest name in audiobooks, but it isn’t the only option anymore. Here are a few alternatives you might want to consider.
Do you have a library card? If you’re nodding your head, you should download Libby. This app allows you to borrow free audiobooks from your local library system without ever leaving your house. It’s like lending books or audiobooks from the library in person, so if you’re after a popular title, you might have to wait your turn, but the service is free as long as you have a library card.
Audiobooks.com has a massive library with more than 300,000 titles. The cost is the same as an Audible subscription ($14.95/month), but they offer a 30-day free trial with three free audiobooks. You won’t have access to Audible exclusives, but there are still plenty of books.
Scribd is a massive digital library with everything from audiobooks to ebooks, magazines and newspapers. You can even find sheet music in its digital archives. For $10 a month, you can download and listen to an unlimited number of audiobooks. The site also offers a 2-month free trial, so you can test the waters before committing to a subscription.
Chirp isn’t a subscription service. Instead, Chirp offers regular limited-time deals on audiobooks. If you act quickly enough, you can snag a title or two for 95% off the cover price. You never know what might go on sale, but you can supplement your audiobook collection at a fraction of the cost if you’re quick.
If you prefer to buy your audiobooks directly, why not support a local bookstore? Libro.FM allows you to purchase your audiobooks from an independent book store of your choosing. It doesn’t offer the discounts of Chirp or the variety of Audiobooks.com, but if you’re more concerned about keeping as much money out of Amazon’s pockets as possible, Libro.FM gives you the tools without jumping through extra hoops.
How to Cancel Audible
If you’ve decided to leap, here are the steps to cancel your Audible subscription.
Note: You can only cancel your subscription in the web browser. There is no option for cancellation in the app.
1. Click the link that says “Hi, (Name) in the upper right corner of the browser window.
2. Click Account Details
3. Click the Cancel Membership link at the bottom of the page.
4. Follow the prompts to complete the cancellation.
It is that simple. Be aware, you will lose any leftover credits when your subscription runs out, so use them before canceling.
Should You Cancel Your Audible Subscription?
In 2022, should you cancel your Audible subscription? A decade ago, the answer would have been no because Audible was one of the only available options on the market. Today, the answer to that question is entirely up to you. There are plenty of options available for you to choose from, so make sure you choose wisely. Audiobook fans aren’t locked into an Audible subscription anymore. If you love audiobooks but aren’t keen on padding Jeff Bezos’ pockets, consider some of the alternatives we mentioned above.
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