Tips and tricks on how to save money on Audible membership for new and existing users. Also see this post for more tips on how to get audiobook discounts using the Whispersync feature (explained below).
Audible is the Amazon audiobook subscription service. Being a member allows you to purchase and listen to over 180,000+ audiobooks, get discounts, and special sales that Amazon holds.
I’ve been an Audible member for about a year, and I’ve discovered a few tricks on how to save money on Audible membership. Here, I’ll share several tips on how to maximize your savings when you sign up for Audible and how to save when you already signed up for a membership.
But first, what does an Amazon Audible membership offer?
What you get from an Amazon Audible membership
The sticker price for an Audible Gold Membership, the membership level that Amazon advertises, is $14.95/month. This includes:
- 1 audiobook credit each month, which you can use to purchase any audiobook, no matter how long or short, expensive or cheap the original price is. In essence, this is equivalent to buying an audiobook for $14.95 each month. Since an Amazon audiobook is generally quite pricey–above $14.95–this means that you’re getting a decent value on audiobooks. If you sign up through Amazon, you get the first month free and 2 audiobook credits, i.e., 2 free audiobooks just for trying Audible. [Update 1/23/17: Currently, this is the best sign up offer available]
- Discounted audiobooks. As a member, if you purchase audiobooks without the credits, you will get discounts on all titles (usually 30%).
- Member-only sales. Audible holds quite a number of sales that are accessible only to members. They send emails with daily deals, many for less than $5. They also do special events like get 2 books for 1 credit, which I’ve taken advantage of many times.
- Whispersync for Voice. This is one of the neatest features of Audible, in my opinion. Many books offered by Amazon are Whispersync for Voice-ready enabled, meaning that when you have both the audiobook and Kindle ebook versions of the same title, they will be synced with each other, allowing you to pick up where you left off from the audio or ebook version. Now, why would you want to buy both versions? When you buy either an audiobook or a Kindle ebook that is Whispersync for Voice-ready, Amazon will give you an offer to buy the other version at a heavily discounted price. Sometimes, the total price for this combination, by taking advantage of the special sales or daily deals, will be lower than the original price of either the audio or ebook version. I usually prefer ebooks, since I like to go back to certain sections of the book, get quotes, etc, which would be difficult with the audio version. A few times, I’ve found out that buying the audiobook first, then taking advantage of the Whispersync offer, I get a lower total amount spent and I have both the ebook and audiobook versions in my library. For more on this and tips on how to get audiobook discounts via Whispersync, check out this article:
- Return books at any time. If you don’t like any audiobook that you’ve purchased, you can simply return and exchange it with another book, no questions asked.
If you’re a big audiobook consumer, this membership package is not a bad deal overall. But for me, sometimes 1 audiobook/month is too much to keep up. An audiobook can take 10-12 hours of listening, and since I only listen to them during commutes, it can take me a while to finish. Plus, $14.95/month is not insignificant.
The good news is there are other offers that you can take advantage of both during sign up and after you’ve become an Audible member.
How to save money on Amazon Audible membership
The tips here are for 2 groups of people:
1. Those who don’t have an Audible membership yet, but would like to sign up.
2.Those who have an Audible membership already.
How to maximize savings when you sign up for Audible
If you have never been an Audible member and would like to try/sign up, there are multiple offers you can take advantage of. It’s essentially equivalent to getting a discount on the Audible membership.
Option 1. Sign up via Amazon. Their offer is a one-month free membership, so the $14.95 charge only starts on the second month. Additionally, they also give you 2 credits upon sign up, which means that you get 2 free audiobooks just by trying Audible for a month. (Note: some links only offer 1 free credit).
2a. Swagbucks is a shopping portal where you can get points for doing online shopping. These points can then be converted into merchant gift cards. (Read an overview of Swagbucks from this awesome blog.) Swagbucks currently has an Audible offer for $2 for 2 months, after which the regular membership price will be charged to you. This means that your total spending for 2 months = $2, instead of $14.95 via Amazon. [1/4/2017 Update] Offer currently unavailable.
Note: These offers may change over time, but most times there is always a valid offer somewhere. So be sure to browse around first before signing up for Audible.
How to save when you already signed up for Audible
Once you are a member, you can’t take advantage of the sign up offers anymore. But it doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with a $14.95/mo. Of course, you can always cancel the membership, but these tips are for those who would like to keep subscribing to Audible and enjoy all those membership benefits mentioned above.
The good news is that there are options to reduce your membership price. Note that Amazon may offer different things to different members, so you may not see the options below in the same order. But if you see other offers than listed here, please let me know in the comments section and I’ll add them to the list.
Option 1. Pause membership. Maybe you need time to catch up on the audiobooks in your library, or you want to suspend the charges to your credit card. Audible allows you to hold your membership for up to 90 days. During this time, you’ll still have your existing unused credits, but you won’t get any new ones. You’ll still have access to the other benefits (e.g., discounts, etc.), though. They will resume charging your credit card after the 90 days period. The caveat is that this option is only available to you once, so once you’ve used it, it’s not available anymore (i.e., you can’t suspend your membership forever).
[reader’s comment: someone found that this option is available once every 12 months. So maybe it’s not just once forever after all. Ask the customer rep!]
Option 2. Reduced rate offer. When you are a member, you can also get an additional offer of $7.95/mo for 3 months. To get this, do the following steps. Go to My Account, click Cancel my Membership. When they ask the reason for cancellation, choose “The membership fee was too expensive for me”. Once you click Continue, Audible will bring you to an offer page that lets you continue your membership for a reduced rate of $7.95/mo for 3 months. Once you accept, this deal will show up in the Membership Plan Description section of My Account.
Option 3. AudibleListener Light Membership – Annual. If you’ve noticed above, the only advertised membership level is the Gold Membership at $14.95/mo. But it turns out that Amazon has other levels of membership that you won’t find, unless you ask a customer service representative or Audible offers them to you.
After exhausting options 1 and 2, I still felt that the membership fee and 1 audiobook per month was too much to keep up. So I took the steps to cancel the membership again, as described in Option 2. This time though, Audible gave me an AudibleListener Light Membership offer at $9.95/year. This is much cheaper than the Gold membership, but it doesn’t include the 1 credit/mo. However, I still have access to the email deals, which for me, are worth more than $9.95/year. Some of these email deals have huge discounts. This is the current membership level I have since it fits my need the best. Note, however, that you also won’t have the 30% discount that you would normally have with the Gold membership.
Note: I’d recommend exercising any of these options at the end of your membership month (i.e., just before they charge you for the following month), to prevent you from losing value for the month that you already paid for. In my experience, whenever you accept a new offer, they charged my credit card and restarted the new membership plan right away.
If you still want to cancel your Audible membership
Make sure to redeem all of your unused credits before canceling, since they will disappear once you cancel. The rest of your library will always be available to you.
In short, these are the tips on how to save money on Audible Membership
1. Take advantage of sign up offers
– Sign up via Amazon (first month free + 2 free audiobooks)
– Sign up via shopping portals such as Groupon, Swagbucks, etc. for reduced rates (recommended)
2. Reduce your monthly membership fee
– Pause membership for up to 90 days (only available once)
– Get the $7.95/mo for 3 months offer by going through the steps to cancel membership
– Get AudibleListener Light Membership – Annual at $9.95/year by going through the steps to cancel membership.
If you’ve found out more options than listed here, please let me know in the comments section and I’ll include them in this post. I’ll also update this post when I find more tricks on how to save with Audible in the future.
Other tips on audiobooks and Audible:
Product links on this post are affiliate links, which means I get credits if you sign up through them. Would appreciate it if you do!