So, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but as I’ve alluded to, I only recently really discovered the wonders of audiobooks. Okay, I’ve listened to some in the past, but I never really got why people were such big fans of services like Audible.
To me, it just seemed like one more thing to sign up for and get charged for every month and I was all like, “Why pay for a service when there are FREE audiobooks available to listen to all over the internet?”
However, recently, the kids needed to finish up a book for a school project and I’d been doing so much reading that my voice was starting to fail, so we downloaded the audiobook. It was amazing! They enjoyed listening to it and were able to finish it in the allotted time and my voice didn’t completely die.
(I know, I know, it’s amazing that I can talk as much as I can without having these issues all the time! But something about public speaking or reading aloud takes a much bigger toll on my voice than just regular talking does! For real.)
Jesse has really gotten into audiobooks in the last few months, too. He’s been listening through a series of books and loves the convenience of getting a lot of “reading” in while doing other things, too!
Seeing how much he was loving audiobooks (and how much “reading” he was fitting into his day) inspired me to give them a try again. And oh my goodness! What I’ve been missing!!
There are a lot of books that I would prefer to hold and read and underline. But there are many other books that are perfect for listening to. Plus, I am finding that I can get through a long audiobook in about 7 days — just by listening while doing my makeup, cleaning, cooking, and other miscellaneous tasks throughout the day. That is QUITE exciting to me!
As a result of this newfound love for both of us, Jesse and I started looking into our options for audiobook services. Because he loves to research and because I love to get a good deal, we’ve spent the last two months checking out all our options, asking other people for advice and ideas, and trying out different services to see what would work best for us.
I thought you might enjoy hearing our thoughts on the top 3 picks for PAID audiobook services (I’ll be doing a separate post next week on FREE audiobook services — stay tuned for that!):
We went to Audible.com first. Why? Probably because that’s just what I think of first when I think of audiobooks.
Audible is owned by Amazon and they are by and large one of the most well-known audiobook services out there. The service costs $14.95 per month and that gives you access to download one book every month. If you’d like more than one book, you can purchase other books at 30% off. If you don’t like a book, you can exchange it for another — for free.
Pros to Audible
They have a HUGE selection of audiobooks. In fact, I’m going to wager to guess that if there is an audiobook for something, they likely have it.
Their service is very, very easy to use. Just download the app to your device, purchase audiobooks right through your Amazon or Audible account with just a few clicks, and you can start listening almost immediately.
Cons to Audible
They are expensive. Compared to some of the other options below, Audible is very expensive. Your $14.95 per month subscription only gives you one credit per month. Most audiobooks are one credit, which means that you’re paying $14.95 per month for one audiobook.
If you don’t use it, you still get charged. It’s $14.95 per month — whether you download and listen to an audiobook or not. You can choose to put your membership on hold for up to three months, though. You can save credits in your account — though they don’t all roll over and there’s a limit to how many you can have in your account at a time.
Downpour operates similarly to Audible, though it is not at all as popular or well-known. It is less expensive, but the catalog is also smaller than Audible. They still have around 60,000 titles to choose from, though!
Pros to Downpour
It’s less expensive than Audible. You’ll save $2 per month to go with Downpour versus Audible.
Your credit don’t expire as quickly. Whereas Audible has a limit of five unused credits at a time in your account with the $14.95 per month membership, Downpour allows you to have up to 12 credits in your account.
Cons to Downpour
They have fewer titles. Though their catalog is continually expanding, t hey might not have all of the titles you are looking for.
Your credits expire after a year. Unused book credits expire within a year of being issued. If you don’t use them, you lose them.
ChristianAudio is the least expensive option of all three of these. And, as you can imagine, they have a much smaller selection. They currently offer around 5,000 different titles to choose from.
For $14.95 per month, you get four credits. Audiobook “costs” vary pretty widely, but they do have quite a few that are one and two credits. So potentially, you could get three to four books for just $14.95 per month. They also have a larger plan that is $24.95 per month and that gives you eight credits.
Pros to ChristianAudio
They are inexpensive. You can get up to four books for just $14.95 total per month. Compared to Audible and Downpour, that’s a great deal!
They have a great selection of kid’s audio. This was one factor that I considered a great perk. If you like to listen to audiobooks as a family, definitely check out their kid’s audio selection. Many of them are just one credit each, too.
Cons to ChristianAudio
They only have Christian titles. As you can expect from the name, they pretty much are exclusively Christian titles.
They have a very limited selection. I read a wide variety of books, so there’s a good chance that they wouldn’t have a number of titles I really would love to read.
The Final Verdict
After a lot of research and discussion, we chose to go with NONE of these services. Yes, for real. We decided that none of them were a good fit for what we were looking for and/or they were going to be too expensive to feed our mutual audiobook addiction.
Instead, thanks to the encouragement of some of you, we fell in love with the free audiobook apps from our library. Stay tuned for my full review of those next week + other tips on how to download and listen to audiobooks for FREE.
Do you have or have you had a membership to any of these audiobook services? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!