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Audible Plus unlimited audiobook streaming can be attractive – but only for some users. Here are the details of a new subscription plan.
Announced at the end of August 2020, Audible Plus subscription is like Kindle Unlimited for audiobook fans.
The new plan costs $7.95 per month – half the price of the Gold membership – and gives members unlimited access to a catalog of select audiobooks and podcasts. Many of these audio publications are exclusive to Audible platform.
For many Audible users, the new plan sounds like an exciting alternative to Gold membership, and many start to wonder whether to switch subscriptions. For half the price you get unlimited access to Audible audiobooks, right?
There is one big drawback you have to keep in mind. Just like in case of Kindle Unlimited, the “unlimited” doesn’t describe the content. And the content is pretty limited – it’s only 11,000 publications, out of over 450,000 available at Audible.
- Audible Plus gives unlimited access to 11,000 audio files in the Plus catalog.
- You don’t get credits that you can exchange for audiobooks that you will own forever.
- Your access to audiobook ends when your subscription ends.
- You are eligible for free trial even if you have used one for Gold membership.
The Plus membership is the Audible’s effort to adjust subscription model to changing needs of audiobook users. Netflix, Prime Video, or Kindle Unlimited show that users don’t need to own digital movies, books, or comics. Collecting is on the way down, while consuming – here, now, and as much as you can – is on the way up.
With the launch of Audible Plus plan, two current memberships, Gold and Platinum, have been renamed to Audible Premium Plus. The former Gold comes with 1 credit and costs $14.95 per month, while the former Platinum offers 2 credits and costs $22.95 per month.
Audible Plus subscription – things to know
You are eligible for a free trial
Audible Plus is a brand-new subscription plan which is essentially different from the old one. Every user is eligible for a 30-day free trial, even the one who signed up for Gold or Platinum plan in the past and used a free trial before.
I canceled my Gold membership some time ago. I wanted to test how the new service works, so I signed up for Audible Plus with the same account I used for Gold. It worked. I can use the subscription for 30 days for free and then I’ll be charged $7.95 for the first paid month, unless I cancel the subscription.
In a confirmation screen, Audible claims they will send a reminder before the end of the free trial. A few days before your credit card is charged, you will be prompted to decide what you want to do – cancel or continue Audible Plus. Make sure to check your email inbox associated with your Audible account.
International users can sign up as well
Are you an audiobook fan living outside the United States? Do you wonder whether you can subscribe to Audible Plus, even if your credit card is issued by a bank in another country?
The good news is that you are eligible for a service just like U.S. residents. I live in Europe, own a European credit card connected with my Amazon / Audible account, and I started my new Audible Plus membership without any problems.
Active Gold subscribers have full access to Plus audiobooks
If you are an active subscriber of a Gold Membership (which is now called Audible Premium Plus) you may wonder whether to downgrade your plan to access all benefits of Audible Plus plan.
You don’t have to. Your plan includes all benefits of Plus membership. You have unlimited access to Plus catalog: you can download any title from that catalog and listen to whenever you want for how long you want.
Your Premium Plus subscription has one big advantage over Plus: credits. You can exchange these credits for any title that’s not included in the Plus catalog. And once you get that audiobook, it’s yours forever.
In other words, with the launch of Audible Plus, you don’t have to “waste” credits for attractive but cheaper audiobooks which cost $5 or $10 – and which are now included in the Plus catalog. You can spend every single credit on an audiobook that costs over $30, and save over $15 each time.
There are only 11,000 eligible Audible Plus audiobooks
How many audiobooks are available on Audible platform? Last time Amazon displayed the exact number of items in specific categories (it ended in 2018), the Audible catalog included over 450,000 titles. As the platform is growing, I expect that number to reach or exceed 500,000.
How many audiobooks are included in Audible Plus catalog? There are only some 11,000 titles here. And this may be the biggest disappointment of the new subscription. Audible is aware that this number is not stunning, so the company translates it into hours of listening: about 68,000. It sounds much better.
Before signing up for Audible Plus, you should check out the catalog of eligible audiobooks. The good news is that on Amazon you can explore Audible Plus catalog without being signed in to either Amazon or Audible.
Most Audible bestsellers are not included
Most titles available for free for Plus subscribers are original audiobook productions. You can find here Audible Originals, classic novels produced by Audible, documentaries, short-length audio publications, and popular podcasts.
However, don’t expect too many hot audiobook bestsellers on this list. You can assume that most titles that cost over $30 normally, cannot be accessed for free by Plus subscribers.
If you are a Plus member, and wanted to get one of the Audible bestsellers, you would need to buy it separately.
Audible Plus doesn’t offer credits
This is the most significant difference between old and new subscriptions: the Plus plan doesn’t offer credits.
Audible Gold subscribers know credits very well. You get one credit per month (if you had Platinum membership, you received 2 credits), and you can exchange it for any audiobook. In other words, you pay for audiobooks in credits you receive from your subscription.
There are no credits in the Plus subscription. If you want to buy any audiobook from outside the Plus directory, you will need to pay the full price – or wait for an Audible deal.
All non-Plus audiobooks are now a part of the so-called Premium catalog. You can get them for credits if you are a Premium Plus subscriber, or you can buy them for a full price if you are not subscribed or subscribed to Plus plan.
Audiobooks are not yours forever
As you can’t use credits to get audiobooks, you just use Audible platform the same way as Netflix or Prime – you get full access to eligible titles, can do everything with them only when you are subscribed.
None of the Plus audiobooks you download to your iPhone or iPad are yours forever. You don’t buy them with your subscription. You rent them on a 100% flexible basis.
There are no Audible Plus gift plans
With the introduction of Audible Plus and rebranding of Gold / Platinum memberships, Amazon refreshed also Audible gift plans. However, gifting is still only available for Gold Membership, now called Premium Plus.
I think we will have to wait quite long for Audible Plus gift plans. They will be released when the Plus catalog is attractive and large enough for long-term membership plans.
You can keep at least 20 Audible Plus audiobooks
Audible hasn’t revealed detailed conditions of using the Plus membership, but I wanted to find out what is the limit on the number of audiobooks you can download to your device.
As you may know, in Kindle Unlimited such a limit is set at 10. If you want to download the 11th Kindle Unlimited book, you have to remove one of the earlier ones.
With my new Plus subscription, I added to the library in my Audible iPhone app several eligible books, and downloaded 21 of them – with no prompt to replace older audiobooks with the newer one.
Therefore, I can say that you can download to your connected Audible app at least 20 Plus audiobooks.
I will update this section the moment the platform adds such information to their Audible membership help pages.
Audible audiobooks are gone from Prime Reading
When Prime Reading launched in October 2016, it offered access to Audible Channels. Then Audible Channels were replaced by Audible Originals, and now Audible Originals are a part of the new Audible Plus subscription.
To cut story short: it turns out audiobooks were removed from Prime Reading catalog. You can only access Kindle books with narration, but there are no fully-fledged audiobooks in the Prime Reading catalog any longer.
How Audible Plus works
It’s one of the biggest benefits of the new Plus subscription, You don’t have to bother about buying separate titles or exchanging your credits.
It’s also the most convenient way to get Audible audiobooks to your iPad and iPhone. As you may know, Apple wants a 30% cut on any purchase made within iOS or iPadOS applications. As a result app developers, Audible included, removed an option to buy audiobooks within their apps. If you wanted to get a new audiobook, you had to switch to a browser, complete a purchase either on Amazon or Audible website, switch back to your iPad, and download the audiobook.
With Audible Plus subscription, this irritating inconvenience is gone. All you can do – no matter whether on iPad or Android app – is go to “Discover” tab and look for titles labeled “Included.”
• • •
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