Is Audible Worth It? (Audible Review)
Can you imagine what people from the 1800s and before would’ve felt if you said – any book they wanted to read they could have read to them – while they were doing other things? Out in the field - washing the dishes – painting a picture? They might say ‘Witchcraft!’ but after their initial shock - they’d appreciate the fact they could get things done, but keep learning while getting busy work done.
You have that opportunity today – you can clean your house, do creative, visual tasks – and go for run… all while getting smarter. Do you retain as much information as if it had your total concentration? According to numerous studies like this one in 1985 have stated that “the level of understanding in listening comprehension is no different from reading comprehension.”
The Pros And Cons Of Audiobooks Vs. Other Books
Anecdotally I can say my reading changes the nature of my engagement with the information to some degree – I can occasionally wander in my thoughts, or get distracted because the narrator is discussing something that doesn't interest me.
This is when I’d normally put the book down – but in the case of an audiobook, sometimes it goes on for 5-10 minutes before I tune back in.
So that’s different than a normal book of course, because on the one hand – I’d be done.
And on the other hand, I tuned back in and might finish the book out of principle – just because I’ve already read this far, and so I might as well ride it out.
So for comprehension, it comes down to your particular style.
Pros Of Audiobooks...
According to Good E-readers Audiobook Trends Survey “The top three reasons why people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: (1) they can do other things while listening; (2) audiobooks are portable, and people can listen wherever they are; and (3) they enjoy being read to.”
It makes sense that the obvious pro is that you can do something else while you listen to an audiobook. The less obvious pro is that time keeps marching on – the narrator doesn’t need your absolute concentration to continue with the book, and thus it feels to me, much easier to tackle more books in less time.
Cons of Audiobooks...
Many titles aren’t available in audiobook form, and many times authors put their book out on print first. So if you’re addicted to the audiobook format and/or short for time that you can set aside to sit down with a book – you’re stuck waiting on your favorite author and their publishing team to get the narration recorded, and into a digital format, you can download
Pros of "Real" Books...
You can make notes in the margins, dog-ear some pages – get intimate with a book, and smell it’s delightful ‘book smell,’ all while getting cozy and shutting out the rest of the world because reading a book this way – means you can’t do too much else. It’s almost a kind of meditation, because while you’re reading the book – the rest of the world can drift miles away.
I still remember fondly, reading into the middle of the night with The Count of Monte Christo, The Brothers Karamazov, or The Fountainhead. I read more fiction in physical book form before I was so career driven and so there’s a fondness for that and association with something nostalgic for me. I’m not the only one, New Republic’s defense of the Physical Book - refers as well to the ‘special bliss of holding them.’
Cons of "Real" Books...
It has to be that it’s hard to do much else when you read any of these ways. Time is of the essence for many professionals, and it’s hard to make room in one’s schedule to read a physical book, or from a screen for a long time in one’s day.
Why A Service Like Audible Is A Great Deal
I love Audible for audiobooks - because I appreciate both the consistency and the nudge on a regular basis that I should be reading. Although this last year, I bought an extra audiobook once a month on average. You can’t beat Audible’s $14.95 per month fee and the fact that you can refund the books and get a new one (if you’ve purchased in the past 12 months), or exchange any books you don’t love, anytime.
I strongly suggest using something like Audible to nudge you on a regular basis to keep churning through audiobooks and keep working towards your ideal life.
Audible's Pricing Structure = Good Or Bad?
Even though I love Audible – it’s good to comparison shop! Here are three different competitors who have different approaches to pricing you might want to consider for listening styles frequency.
Better if you buy lots of books each month
Audiobooks Now: Membership $4.99 (35-45% off books) - Example Book “Think and Grow Rich” $9.97
Could be good for very occasional readers
Nook: No Membership - Example Book “Think and Grow Rich” $16.49
Best if you often mix-in e-books and want free newspapers
Scribd: Membership $8.99 - First book free like Audible - Example Book “Think and Grow Rich” Free
How Successful People Listen to Audiobooks
I think that people who read make more interesting conversation and often are sharp at business – in entrepreneurship, or in their career. However, I’ve known several successful people that didn’t read a lick (or listen to audiobooks) – so I’ll just say, I think a great majority of people looking to grow their knowledge on a regular basis have to find some way to absorb new information.
Audiobooks just happen to be an amazing way to do that while still retaining the majority of that time to do things like drive, cook dinner, clean, or go to the gym. I can’t imagine my life today without audiobooks – as I was able to get through 52 books this past year, and if I didn’t have audiobooks, I would have maybe tackled 10. Not nearly as many stories – anecdotes – and I wouldn’t have been exposed to the unique perspectives of most of the people in those books.
I got the number 52 from the fact I’ve heard many times that the average CEO gets through a book a week – and if you’re not amazing at ‘speed reading’, your best option to try to live up to that breakneck pace is audiobooks.
Audible Review - Is Audible Worth It?
I don’t see why you wouldn’t use Audible if you’re interested in audiobooks. It’s hands down the best option out there, with an extremely wide range of books – as well as a price-point that allows you to download all books (from $10 - $27) for $14.95. Sometimes I’ll just pay for a cheaper book and wait to use my monthly credit on a more expensive one – there are definitely great ways to work the system and get a ton of value out of Audible.
I give it 9.5/10 for selection and price, and only take off the .5 because I’d prefer the laptop to mobile app experience to be more seamless, as I often have to get on to my desktop to make a selection and then download it onto my iPhone after I’ve purchased on my laptop.
If you're interested in trying Audible, they offer a free trial.
How to Make Time For Audiobooks - A Sample Listening Strategy
This past year I took on the 52 books in a year challenge and so I feel uniquely qualified to share my strategies on reading more books and getting through them.
Yes – acquiring new knowledge may sometimes take a little extra effort. But if you combine it with your other goals, it should start to fall into place. For instance, if you have a goal to work out every day for a half hour, this can be a really great place to commit to listening to your audiobooks.
No matter what – the keys to making your audiobook action plan involve getting your list of things you want to read, and making it fun for yourself to get started and stick with it. The way to not carry out your plan is to choose a bunch of books that you feel you ‘should’ listen to, but that you aren’t excited to listen to. Make it fun – then mix in the purely ‘nutritional’ books at intervals when you have momentum.
What Should You Listen To?
So, what should you listen to next? If you just need a few suggestions here are a few of my absolute favorites from the last couple years.
Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill’s classic, about setting solid goals, using affirmations, masterminds, and other methods to reach them.
The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone gives you a blistering motivational diatribe about multiplying your goals by 10 and taking massive action to get there.
The One Thing – Gary Keller explains why priority is not plural, and focusing on the one thing that will make all other to-dos easier or unnecessary.
The Pumpkin Plan – Michael Michalowicz talks about why you should focus on growing your very best clients, using the analogy of giant pumpkin farmers.
Zero to One – Peter Thiel discusses why people should focus on creating new categories not following, and why not having competition is possible.
No matter what – when people get into audiobooks, it seems that many of them say “why haven’t I done this sooner.”
Yes, this may read a little bit like a love letter to audiobooks, but as a busy professional who loves his work, and working out and keeping his house clean and errands completed – but also loves getting through a good book – audiobooks are undeniably useful.
If you want to give Audible a try, sign up for their free trial today.
Tim Brown is an avid reader, audiobook listener, and entrepreneur. He is the owner, a web designer and SEO specialist of Hook Agency – focused on financial services marketing