It turns out Audible’s original audio productions, formerly known as Channels, are not included in Prime membership any longer.
If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, you have unlimited access to eligible digital content that’s free to download and use with your membership: movies, songs, ebooks, or magazines. Are still audiobooks included?
Audible Channels was a $4.95/month service launched by Amazon in early 2016. It was a carefully curated selection of original programs and audio editions of standout articles from The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, McSweeney’s, and other top sources.
In September 2016, Audible Channels joined a list of services available for free for Amazon Prime subscribers. Mobile Audible apps were updated with easy access to Channels content right in the Menu bar. Many Prime members were enjoying these free audio publications a lot.
Two years later, in August 2018, Audible started a reorganization of their original productions unit, renamed “Channels” to “Originals”, and removed easy access from Android and iOS mobile apps.
In 2019 Prime users started to ask about what had happened to Audible Channels/Originals. It turned out that eligible audio shows and podcasts were still included in Prime, but only for users of the Windows Audible app.
The latest official piece of information linking Audible Channels to Amazon Prime subscription was this Prime Insider newsletter from July 2018.
What happens to Audible Channels and Amazon Prime right now? Are Audible audiobooks included in Prime in any form? Especially now, when Audible Plus subscription has been launched?
For $7.95 per month Audible Plus membership gives unlimited access to over 11,000 audiobooks and podcasts, what translates to almost 70,000 hours of listening. Audible Plus catalog includes all Originals audio productions that were previously available free for Prime members.
I have emailed Audible to find out whether Originals are still among Amazon Prime benefits. The answer came that no, original Audible titles are not a part of Prime.
What’s more, although you can still see Audible Channels listed among Prime benefits on Amazon help pages, they are no longer listed on a primary and regularly updated Prime benefit checklist at Prime Insider.
Are audiobooks gone from Amazon Prime completely? No. As you know, audiobooks could be accessed by subscribers in two ways:
- Audible Channels/Originals – fully-fledged audiobooks and podcasts available in the Audible app. This benefit seems to be discontinued.
- Prime Reading – audiobook companions of Kindle books available via the Kindle app. You can still listen to audiobooks this way.
Prime Reading is one of the most popular services included in Amazon Prime. It gives unlimited access to a rotating list of up to 3,000 Kindle ebooks, comics, magazines, and audiobooks. In this case “an audiobook” means an Audible narration to a Kindle ebook.
In this month’s Prime Reading catalog, over 2,000 Kindle ebooks are included. Over 1,000 are available with a free Audible narration. You can use your Kindle app to download an eligible book together with an audiobook companion, and use Whispersync for Voice feature to seamlessly switch between reading and listening.
What if you prefer to listen to Audible Channels/Originals? The most affordable way is signing up for the new Audible Plus subscription ($7.95 per month after 30-day free trial).
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