Kindle Unlimited VS Audible - Which is better for audiobooks in 2019

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Kindle Unlimited comes with about a million titles. This store includes audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, and novels. With Audible, you gain access to an amazing 200,000-strong variety of audiobooks. In Audible, you actually purchase the titles forever rather than borrowing them, as in Kindle Unlimited.

MY TWO CENTS

I've read a lot throughout my life. Heavy reading is a hobby where you have many options. Subscriptions and purchases are pretty common. But sometimes, you have to choose between two powerful competitors.

In this case, they happen to be Kindle Unlimited and Audible, both owned by Amazon. And I guess it’s only fair that I put my two cents in for you before we get started with the entire low-down and technical breakdown.

In my opinion, Kindle Unlimited with its access to Amazon's giant bookstore is somewhat intellectually limited. Let me put it bluntly. If you're looking for generic content like run-of-the-mill romance novels; books that borrow, copy, or internalize from popular sensations; or blatantly overconfident motivational guidebooks then you're in luck.

If you want something truly amazing, enticing, or great in general – you might be out of luck if you side with Kindle Unlimited. For example, it's tough to find high-end writers and bestselling authors here. But an Audible subscription allows you to refine your taste further with truly amazing work, albeit thoroughly mixed up with generic titles.

KINDLE UNLIMITED

10-title limit

Kindle Unlimited comes with a maximum limit of 10 titles at a time. There are no due dates or limitations on which titles you can pick. Once you’re in the subscription, you can choose from all the titles.

However, once you have 10 titles, you need to remove one to get another.

Let’s be real here. Nobody needs more than ten titles at the same time. At most, you would need three to five. Still, the upper cap of 10 seems to be pretty nice and accommodating.

Limitation on access

You can access your titles from any Amazon device or smartphone with the Kindle app. However, once your subscription is over, you lose access to all titles. In other words, you’re borrowing and not purchasing.

This is a huge bummer for many, especially those who don’t think that a subscription plan that never ends is viable for them.

AUDIBLE

When you make your initial subscription, Audible is costlier than Kindle Unlimited at $14.95 (as compared to $9.99).

Membership plans and credits on Audible

There are multiple Audible memberships, like the Platinum Monthly and Annually. There’s also an Audible Originals-only membership.

Depending on the membership you choose, you’ll get “credits”. Each credit can be used to redeem or purchase an audiobook from the store. So, 1 credit = 1 title. Gold memberships give 1 credit per month while Platinum ones give 2 per month.

If you have some credits left when the month ends, don’t worry. They’ll roll over to the next month for up to five months.

You’ll need to buy additional credits to use them for redeeming additional titles. Simply, this is a store where you buy titles.

No matter what’s the price of the audiobook, you only need one credit. So, you can make a really bad trade here by purchasing only the cheapest audiobooks. The best way to maximize your bang for the buck is to go for higher-price audiobooks and trust me, there’s plenty of those. Just make sure the higher-price ones are actually high-quality too. And in case you make a wrong decision judging the audiobook by its price, then don’t worry:

Added perks with an Audible membership

  • You can exchange an audiobook with another if you’re not happy with the experience for any reason.
  • You can pause your membership if you want to take a break from reading or paying.
  • As you’re directly purchasing, there’s no limit on how many titles you can have at a given time.
  • Kindle Unlimited is available in select countries only while Audible is worldwide.

DIRECT COMPARISONS

It’s time for some literary showdown.

  • With Kindle Unlimited, you get instant access to over a million titles including audiobooks, ebooks, and magazines. This is a far greater volume than what Audible offers (about 200,000 audiobooks). A large part of the Kindle Unlimited collection, about 40,000 titles, have Audible narration.
  • With Audible, you only get a couple of audiobooks and a couple of Audible originals for free, everything else you have to pay for. In Kindle Unlimited, you get access to everything for free. Kindle Unlimited also includes about 2,000 free Audible audiobooks.
  • Audible provides a large selection of thoroughly exciting audiobooks. A lot of hot and new titles don’t make it to Kindle Unlimited, but they do to Audible.
  • With Kindle Unlimited, you’ll need to purchase and read about ten titles in a month to break even the cost of the subscription. In that aspect, Audible is much more cost-effective. Plus, you own all the titles unlike in Kindle Unlimited, where your access is lifted once your subscription ends.
  • The work quality is clearly superior with Audible. On Kindle Unlimited, you mostly have self-published titles. Now, that might be a good thing but the lack of editors in that space creates a valid distaste for more avid readers. Add the lack of new titles to the mix and you’ll feel that Audible is the go-to product for heavy readers.

THE VERDICT: QUALITY OR QUANTITY?

If you prefer quality and are willing to pay for purchasing forever, Audible is the product for you. It’s also our winner in this comparison. But, Kindle Unlimited has its own charms like instant access to over a million titles, all free.

Both come with free 30-day trials like most other Amazon products. You’re free to go ahead and try your luck! However, the Audible free trial is going to end starting in September 2019.

Kindle Unlimited is more like a portal to borrow audiobooks, magazines, and ebooks. The bonus is that there are no due dates. You can borrow up to ten titles at a time and read from any device of your choice. But just like how you lose access to the library’s books if you lose your library card or subscription, you lose all your titles (present or past) when your Kindle Unlimited subscription ends. On top of that, content on Kindle Unlimited is rarely up-to-the-date or genuinely great. It’s pretty generic mostly.

On the other hand, Audible is a high-quality audiobooks reserve that has fewer titles than Kindle Unlimited but once you purchase something with your credits, it stays with you forever. So, everything you’ve got through Audible sticks with you for the rest of your life, even if your subscription to Audible ends.