Two Ways to Use Audible (and a bunch of FAQs)

Wondering how to use the Audible app to listen to audiobooks? This is a quick overview of the two basic ways to use Audible, plus answers to the most common questions about using the Audible app! And you can sign up for a free trial here and get a free audiobook of your choice!


If you are looking for the way to share an Audible book with a friend, pop in your email address and I’ll send you the step-by-step instructions!

what is audible

Every time I mention Audible, I get a ton of questions about how to use Audible to listen to audiobooks, so I wanted to give an overview of how it works, plus answer some other questions.

Basically, there are two ways to use Audible.

You can use these two methods independently or in combination (which is what we do at our house).

First, there is the subscription model

As you’d probably expect, you pay a monthly fee and get a certain number of audiobook credits.

The base level is $14.95 a month and you get one audiobook credit.

That credit lets you buy any book in their catalog (and their catalog is MASSIVE – definitely the biggest one on the market). Many audiobooks run closer to $30 each if you were to buy them piecemeal, so an Audible subscription gives you a fantastic deal on them.

You also get 30% off any additional audiobooks you buy.

You download the Audible app and any audiobooks you purchase appear in your library. Download them when you’re ready to listen and you’re ready to go. Also, with any Audible book, you own it – it never gets returned, even if you cancel your membership.

Or, even cheaper, is a free month-long trial where you get a free audiobook for signing up. In this case, you can even sign up, download your free audiobook and then immediately cancel your subscription.

As always, I recommend that if you sign up for a free or discounted trial, set a calendar alert a day or two before it converts to a regular subscription so you can decide if you want it to continue or if you want to cancel.

The second way to use Audible is by buying audiobooks one by one

You don’t have to have a membership and you can just download the Audible app, then buy an audiobook when the fancy strikes you (or a smoking sale comes along) and it will appear in your library. Yours forever.

This is generally a terrible idea if the book is more expensive than $14.95 (if it is, you might as well just get a membership, use your credit and cancel your account), but if the book is LESS than $14.95, it’s better than using your Audible credit.

So when a good sale comes along (like this one last fall), I’ll never use my Audible credits for those sales – I’ll just buy them straight up with cash. (Or, you know, a credit card).

That’s it!

But, of course, there are always a bazillion extra questions to answer, so I’ll try to do that here with questions I’ve been asked a bunch of times:

Frequently Asked Questions about Audible:

Why would I use Audible if my library has Overdrive? 
I totally get this! I love Overdrive and am so grateful for my libraries that have it. But those hold lines can be SO long (I’m on a few where it will be more than six months until a book comes up) and then you have to make sure to get through it in the allotted time before it goes back to your library. So Audible is awesome for when you want to listen to something right away and then have as much time as you need to listen. And also when you want to be able to listen over and over again (which is why we own a lot of children’s books from Audible).

What happens if I don’t use my credit? 
Credits roll over until you get to five (or a higher number if you have a more expensive plan). So if you have a month where you don’t get around to picking a book? No sweat. Just pick two the next month.

What if I don’t like the book I picked?
Best news – Audible guarantees all their audiobooks, so if you don’t like something, you can just exchange it, no questions asked. No risk.

How much do you spend on Audible per month?
We have a regular $14.95/month plan and then I buy one-off audiobooks when there is a good sale or if there is something I really want. And then I use Overdrive or Scribd for the rest of my audiobook needs.

How do I find good sales on Audible? 
I don’t have a rock solid way, but they do have a deals page with the daily deal and any audiobooks that are a below-average price. I also try to mention it when I notice one on Facebook or Instagram.

Can you share an account? 
Yes! You can just sign in with the same log-in on multiple devices and you’ll see everything in your library. So Bart has the Audible app on his phone and I have it on mine. That way we can listen to the same things if we want or both have access to all our children’s books on there.

How does Audible compare to Kindle Unlimited? 
Kindle Unlimited is $9.99 a month (or you can get a free 30 day trial here) and you have unlimited access to the Kindle Unlimited e-book collection and thousands of audio books that are associated with those e-books. I have to say that I’m not personally wowed by Kindle Unlimited. I don’t read a ton of e-books (maybe a dozen or so a year?), and their audiobook collection is QUITE limited. Some books that are on Kindle Unlimited are not available as audiobooks through Kindle Unlimited (like Harry Potter, for instance) and as I browsed through, I wasn’t struck by many that I was just dying to listen to. I’d much rather just be able to choose exactly the book I want from the Audible catalog.

How does Audible relate to Prime? 
They only play together a bit. If you have Prime, you get free access to Audible Channels which are basically their own podcasts and also some free audiobooks available for streaming. You don’t own any of those audiobooks and the selection, of course, is significantly smaller.

Do Audible picture books have page turn signals? 
There may be a few, but I have never listened to one that does have that little “ding!” Which leads to the next question. . .

Do your children look at your phone or follow along with a picture book while they listen? 
No. Pretty much never. We almost always listen in the car or if they listen at home, it’s while they do puzzles, color, paint, play with Legos or do some other activity that keeps their hands busy.

Are there options to listen to picture books with the images showing at the same time? 
Yes! There are about 300 on Audible where it will show basically a slideshow of the illustrations while the narration plays. You can see them all here.

What devices do you use to listen? 
We listen primarily on our phones (if we’re in the car, it plays over the speaker system through a bluetooth connection) but we sometimes hook it up to our Google Home and we can use the Audible app on our girls’ tablets (although mainly they use the Overdrive or Libby apps on the tablets during quiet time).

How do I keep my child from clicking all over the place on a phone or tablet while it plays? 
There’s no easy way that I know of to have separate profiles, but with an Apple products, you can turn on guided access so they can’t click out of the app that is running (we started using this years ago when we’d travel and our toddler would continuously click out of her show and then have a heart attack). Or, because there is nothing to really see for most audiobooks, you can just turn it on and then lock the screen and let it run.

Any other questions?

This is pretty much my favorite topic and I’m happy to try to find answers about all things Audible if I don’t know them. Let me know how I can help you!

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    1. Thank you, it was helpful. I was trying to figure out if I cancel my Prime membership, I could keep Audible. A Prime message leads me to believe I would lose access. So thanks!

      1. You will definitely not lose Audible if you cancel Prime – they’re two different subscriptions and aren’t dependent on each other at all (I know for sure because I have Audible but I’m not a Prime member).

  1. When you use it on your Google home, are you casting from your phone? I know Amazon and Google don’t play well together, but we have all Google Homes, and I would love to use Audible more. Google’s audiobook selection is so poor.,

  2. I tried kindle unlimited. I guess I lucked out the books I chose had audio. I just loved being able to go back and forth between listening and reading depending on what I was doing/had time for.

  3. We have had the Audible Subscription for a long time now. One of the feature we like is that you can add books to your wishlist and if the book or books go on sale you will notified by email. We purchased The Pendereicks last week for $4.95 after we received an email that it was sale.
    Our seven year old uses the app the most. He will listen to the same book over and over again. Audible has been great for us!

  4. This is helpful; thank you! Do you know if there’s a way to put the Audible books purchased onto an iPod? Outdated technology, I know, but we’re a bit behind the times (and I actually prefer the basic iPod around the kids vs. having a phone/notebook out).

  5. I also like the Audible Channel – they have a few good series I’ve listened to. I really enjoyed the one about Queen Elizabeth and one about World War II.

  6. When your kids use their kindles, do they do other things on the kindle while listening, or do they just listen? I like the idea of having them use the kindle, but I could see them wanting to play games or watch a show on it or something. Perhaps we would just need to set some rules, but curious to hear what you do :). Thanks!

    1. Obviously Janssen will weigh in, but my 5-year-old doesn’t have an issue with just listening to an audiobook on the same kindle that he is sometimes allowed to play games on. It helps that like Janssen mentioned, we just turn the screen off. He could turn it on, he knows how, but I think just having a black screen takes away a lot of that temptation.

    2. They know they aren’t allowed to play other things on the Kindle while they listen. They’ve each lost it once (for a week) when they broke the rules and started playing games during quiet time, and since then they’ve been super good.

  7. Great post! Is there a way to have the books you buy on Audible available on the FreeTime/kids profile on an Amazon Fire tablet? I can’t seem to get the book I purchased to show up on my child’s profile…

  8. I have the same question as Laura above. Can I get audible to work on the free time for the kids fire tablet?

    1. You need wi-fi to download your book, but after that the book is on your phone and can play without wi-fi or using any data. As far as the battery for android, I’m not sure!

  9. Hi Janssen!
    Do you know if I would be able to listen to a non-audible audiobook in an mp3 format with the audible app?

  10. This is exactly what I needed!! I have been wanting to get some audio books for my 9 year old and didnt know that we could just use the same account!!! Thank you for this!!

  11. Thanks! It is useful! One more question: Is there a direct way to convert Audible AA or AAX to MP3? I would like to load it to my old MP3 player. I am testing an Audible audiobook converter from DRmare these days. This workaround works well but I still want a direct way to save the storage space on my computer. Any suggestions?

  12. Hi, I appreciate the info. I love audio books and download all the books I am interested in from my local library when possible. I found a work-around the expiration time of books by downloading them to my external hard drive (in case my computer gives up the ghost) and then (VERY IMPORTANT) change the name of the book. I put the author’s name in front of the book title and that is enough to keep it from expiring. I have done this for years and all the books are still there. Also, as soon as I verify that the download is renamed and completely downloaded, I go to overdrive and delete/return the book for the next person in line. Then, when I want to listen on my phone to this book, I download to my music app and it turns into a playlist with chapters in order.

  13. I have an audible membership and have set it up so my two boys can listen to audiobooks through their echo dots. They each have one in their room. Is it possible to listen to two different books at the same time from the same account through two different devices??

  14. Can one person listen to a book on Alexa and another person listen to a different book on their phone both using the same Audible account?

  15. Does anybody know why my library looks empty on my second device even though I am logged in with my account? Thank you!

      1. or purchase a higher plan, I have two books per month. I love Audible. I use the wish list and put whatever fancies me, When a sale hits, they will tell you what’s in your wish list is on sale. Also, Audible will sometimes do a sale that everything in your wish list is on sale, they usually do this a couple times a year. I ‘ve been a member for over 10 years.

  16. I am new to Audible. I have purchased a book which contains 2 separate stories. How do I go to each book, & how can I go to the last book without having to listen to the first 2 books before reading the last book. Thanks

  17. Hi.

    Can you play two or more books one after the other? I listen to one in my sleep and want to play another one after the first one has finished.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  18. I am listening to a book on Audible, a book that has pictures in the hardcover version, pictures that are necessary to understand the book. How can I see those pictures without getting the hardcover?

  19. You never said how you actually purchase a book. I’ve looked all over and see no option for outright purchase unless you are subscribed.

  20. I’m looking for Audiobooks for kids with Slideshow Illustrations… you have two links, both take me to Audible Home Screen… No Listings! Could you please suggest something to look up (keywords) that I might find these??? Audible treated me like an idiot, saying “Audible is AUDIBLE, NO PICTURES, because we are AUDIBLE!!!” 🤦🏼‍♀️
    Clearly I am not the only person interested in such items, just wishing it was easier to locate 😉😘🥰
    Thank You Love 💕

  21. Just read through your Audible explanation. Thanks for that. I’m willing to pay a subscription fee but I don’t want to have to buy a book too if I want to listen to more than one book a month (which I always do). Is there anyway to borrow through Audible? Any tricks? I’m just not interested in owning books. I noticed that you mentioned with Audible Originals you can just add them to your library and listen without using a credit. Does that work with any other books? I’m just wondering if this is a good fit for cheap me. Maybe I’m just a library only girl. 🙂 But those waits! I hope this made some sort of sense. Thanks for always being so good about answering questions.

  22. I have an Audible and the app and can’t figure out how to see the pictures for the kids books. One day we saw the pictures randomly, but I can’t figure out how to see them consistently. Please help.

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