Tips & more

Audiobook prices compared to ebooks and print books

If you buy an item via this post, we may get a small affiliate fee. Details.

Audiobook price comparison vs. ebook and paperback edition

In most cases, an audiobook is more expensive than an ebook or print version of the same book.

People who started buying ebooks are used to prices that are lower – sometimes considerably lower – than print editions.

What’s more, there are several deals on ebooks, which enable users to get favorite titles at prices cut to a range between $0.99 and $2.99.

Users expect audiobooks to work the same way. Audiobooks are also books in a digital format, so there is no cost of printing, right?

Yes, but there is another cost-generating factor. It’s narration. You have to pay the narrator, plus cover the cost of sound recording and editing.

An average novel contains 80,000 words. It translates to about 9-10 hours of narration. The cost per finished hour ranges between $100 and $500. So, the cost of producing an audiobook of a 100,000-word novel narrated by a recognizable voice can easily exceed $5,000.

It’s no surprise that an audiobook version of a book title costs much more than its ebook edition. In most cases, it’s also more expensive than a paperback or even hardcover.

The usual price of an audiobook edition is between $20 and $30. It’s twice as much as the cost of a Kindle or paperback edition. Both formats are usually priced below $20.

In the table below, we’ve compared prices of a few popular books from the list of Amazon’s top 100 book bestsellers.

Price comparison: audiobook vs. Kindle vs. paperback

Data collected on June 7, 2018
Title and author Kindle Paperback Audiobook
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng $4.99 $19.72 $20.65
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood $9.99 $10.50 $23.44
The Outsider by Stephen King $14.99 $18.00 $26.64
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey $4.99 $21.31 $28.30
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson $14.99 $12.99 $23.95
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling $9.99 $8.49 $29.99
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R. R. Martin $5.99 $10.48 $28.77
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho $9.99 $9.33 $23.95
Artemis by Andy Weir $15.99 $16.00 $29.95
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders $10.99 $10.20 $24.50
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie $0.99 $9.60 $29.46

• • •

To get more posts like this, please subscribe by RSS or email. Let’s also connect on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

More posts about audiobooks – keep exploring!

Reading books around the world in 2021 (infographic)
– December 24, 2021

There is no need to wait for Cyber Monday Kindle and Audible deals
– November 25, 2020

Save almost 40% on the 6-month Audible Plus audiobook membership
– November 22, 2020

Americans are listening to more audiobooks than ever before
– September 24, 2020

How to cancel Audible Plus subscription effectively – step-by-step guide
– September 23, 2020

Recommendation box

Gifts for modern book lovers in 2022

Based on recommendations from top tech sites and customer reviews.

• • •

Breathable 3D sleep headphones

Breathable 3D sleep headphones – great for audiobooks

This cozy and breathable sleeping mask has a special 3D shape which will not put pressure on your eyeballs and face. It features built-in Bluetooth earbuds with a playback time reaching 10 hours.


• • •

Cute book sleeve

Cute book sleeve – great for print books and e-readers

From The Great Oak comes a large zippered book sleeve with a cozy and bright pattern. The soft middle layer is designed to keep your books safe and comfy. It will protect not only your paperbacks, but also an e-reader.


• • •

Hands-free pillow stand

Hands-free pillow stand – great for e-readers and print books

An improved version of a popular Lamicall tablet pillow comes now with a side pocket for a pen or small accessories. The grooves are deep enough to hold a print book. It’s made of durable materials and is available in five fashionable colors.