According to several studies, audiobooks have exploded in 2020. Libraries being closed (not all of them, fortunately enough!) and book stores not being that healthier, ebooks and audiobooks have met a bunch of new users. Today, I do not want to talk about ebooks but solely about audiobooks as I think it is even a more “controversial” form of reading. What is an audiobook? It is basically a recorded version of a book you can listen to via a specific platform. I have often heard that listening to audiobooks was not even actually reading and I an see the extent to which this statement could be true, but I have an answer: was not it cool, when you were younger, to be told stories at night, rolled in a soft blanket? Listening to audiobooks brings a very similar feeling to the surface, at least in my case, and that is one of the reason why I love them so much. I have a whole discussion post ready about audiobooks so I won’t go into much detail here, but I simply want to share with you my little background with audiobooks.
My personal experience with audiobooks and a few tips
Today, by reading my words, you may think I have always been a fan of audiobooks but actually, not at all. I first downloaded Scribd around a year ago and absolutely hated the experience of it. Scribd is an amazing platform (we will discuss it a little bit later in the post) but I think it was simply “not for me” at that time. Thus, if you struggle with audiobooks, I would advise you not to force yourself but to stop it all and, if you feel tempted again, try again in a year or two. That is what helped me. However, I must say two things:
- In the beginning, getting into audiobooks is always hard so maybe fix a deadline for yourself. For instance, if in two weeks you still do not feel interested in that format, maybe it is time to stop.
- There are people who simply do not like it, will never do, and that is perfectly fine. Audiobooks seem rather trendy right now but you are allowed not to be interested in them and nobody can judge you for that. It is all a matter of tastes so if you are just totally uninterested in them, call it a day and return to the beautiful pages of your physical books (or to your ebooks).
Scribd or Audible?
First thing first: maybe none of these two. I am going to talk today about the platforms I know but I am well aware that there are a bunch of other platforms out there. There are platforms with free audiobooks such as Librivox (free public domain books) and your library’s platform. I can’t go into much details here as I do not know how things work abroad (I live in France) but I know that where I live, the library has a large choice of audiobooks we can borrow for three weeks. If you do not feel like paying for a membership, that can be a good thing to try.
However, I have personally used both Scribd and Audible in the past (and present) so here are my thoughts on both of these platforms. I am absolutely no professional so if things have changed since I tried these platforms or if I am missing a point, feel free to correct me in the comments and thus help our little community.
How it works:
- Membership-based platform based on credit. You earn one credit a month that you can use on every single book available. If you are an Amazon Prime (Audible being an Amazon company) member, then you have two free credits to use.
- After the free trial month (or two months of you are a Prime member), you pay $14.95 a month. For that price, you earn a credit a month and have what is a called an “Audible Premium Plus membership”. You can choose your membership among several possibilities but I personally think that this one is the best.
- Every month, you have that credit to use but you can also pay directly through Amazon for other books. However, you will pay their full price, which makes it not super advantageous (the books I listen to are all round $20 each).
- You basically have access to all of the books you want as you choose from Amazon’s catalogue. Obviously, some books are missing but if you want to read new releases all the time, Audible may be the best fit for you.
- You can postpone the use of your credits. That means that you pay the $14.95 a month but that you can accumulate 6 credits before using them. Thus, if you are not inspired to read for 6 months in a row (or can’t find time to read) but you do not want to cancel your subscription, you can still keep your credits for later.
- Your library is yours forever. That means that if you cancel your subscription, you can still ave access to all of the books you bought (directly or through credits).
- The annual subscription won’t give you many advantages or won’t be that less expensive.
- You can “only” accumulate 6 credits.
- If you are the kind of person to listen to shorter books or to at least 2 books a month, Audible may not be the best fit for you (but I have the solution below!)
- If you prefer classics to new releases, you may prefer the free LibriVox or Scribd.
- You need a computer to use Audible. You actually can’t buy your books (with money or credits) directly through the platform. You need to log in to your Amazon account on a computer, pay for the book and then only activate the download in your Audible app. I think it is a lot of steps for such a small thing as an audiobooks and would deserve to be changed.
- It is an expensive Audiobooks service.
How it works
Scribd is for me the most convenient way to read online. You basically create an account and choose between “annual” and “monthly” subscription. Then, you have one free month to listen (and read) to every single title available on the platform. You pay $9.99 a month with the monthly subscription and a bit more than $7 a moth with the annual one: that is a deal!
- On Scribd, you can listen to as many books as you want. That means that with your $9.99 a month subscription, you can listen to their whole catalogue at no additional cost. If you are an avid reader, that is definitely the platform for you!
- You also have access to a bunch of ebooks, which makes the deal two times better!
- You can also listen to podcasts and have access to exclusive documents on the platform!
- There is less choice on Scribd that on Audible. For instance, you won’t find most new releases. However, if you love Classics or books that are 3+ years old, you will probably find the book of your dreams. Personally, I have been disappointed with one book and only one, I have found everything else I was looking for.
- Your library disappears when you cancel your subscription. That means that if you are someone who loves returning to books later in life, that may not be the right platform for you.
You may have seen it through my words: I am a Scribd addict. However, Audible may be better for you depending on your tastes: it all depends on your very own take on reading. I would simply advise you to do what I did: take the free trials of the two platforms inf you feel like it and make your choice. I personally loved the experience of Audible but once I tried Scribd again, I cancelled my subscription as given my tastes, Audible was not worth the price.