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Best Audiobook subscriptions in Australia
Listen here: we've got the CliffNotes on which audiobook app is the best for Aussies.
As-you-go Audiobook subscriptions are hardly new, but they do represent a compelling alternative for once voracious readers seeking an easier way to squeeze a few more reads into a limited amount of free time.
If you don't have the time or the right place to do it, it can be hard to keep up the habit when it comes to reading both traditional books and their ebook equivalents. Subscription services like Audible answer this challenge by allowing you to chip away at your pile of paperbacks as easily as you can chew through an episode of your favourite podcast.
Without further ado, let's take a deep dive into the best audiobook subscription services available to Australians in '23 and compare them side by side to see which one offers the best value for money and bang for your buck.
- : Audible
- : Scribd
- : Audiobooks.com
- : Blinkist
Compare the best audiobook subscriptions
Best audiobook subscription
It's no accident that Audible has been the English-speaking part of the internet’s premier supplier of audiobooks for about two decades. The service is owned and backed by Amazon, and while the details have changed over the past twenty years the business model remains both intact and intuitive.
You pay Audible a monthly fee in exchange for a credit that can be redeemed for any premium audiobook available on the service. Each month you stick with Audible, you get another credit.Once you’ve redeemed your monthly credit on an audiobook, you’re able to listen to and download it as many times as you want and will still have access to it even if you cancel your subscription later down the line.
Audiobooks bought via Audible can be listened to via the Audible app, which is available on both iOS and Android.
As for the size of the library, Audible currently offers around 400,000 titles to choose from. Most of these are in English, but the service does include a modest amount of French, Spanish and Chinese language titles. All told, this puts it about 100,000 titles ahead of its closest rival.
What's more, a not insignificant chunk of this library is also included in The Plus Catalogue. Accessible to active Audible members, The Plus Catalogue is a selection of Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts that cost nothing to download but can only be listened to by active Audible members.
This perk adds a clear bucket of extra value to the monthly subscription, and yet another reason to stick with the service. Some of the original titles here like It Burns, Riot Act and Nut Jobs are good enough that they almost justify the subscription cost associated with Audible on their own.
The final perk worth mentioning here is that Audible members sometimes get access to exclusive member-only deals, letting them save on individual audiobook purchases.
Is Audible worth it?
For audiobook lovers, Audible offers a great balance between value and quantity. The competition is fierce, but the market leader continues to packs a punch in terms of quality, quantity, and affordability. It's as close to the perfect deal as any heavy audiobook listener can get.
Best cheap audiobooks subscription
Scribd doesn't just provide access to ebooks; it also offers original podcasts, sheet music, graphic novels, magazines, and a huge selection of audiobooks. What's more, the audiobook library here rivals that of well-known subscription services such as Audible, with a vast selection of classics—the likes of Austen, Orwell, Dostoyevsky, and Tolkien—along with more modern titles like Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, All Systems Red by Martha Wells, and Rachel Hawkins' The Villa.
If you're unsure whether Scribd has enough audiobooks for you to want to stay with it after the 30-day free trial period has ended, you should have plenty of time during that period to explore the library and reach a decision.
Is Scribd worth it?
At $13.99 per month, Scribd is pretty competitive in price. It's a few bucks cheaper than both Audible and Audiobooks.com, so those looking to listen to lots of audiobooks on a budget will be able to get more out of it for their money. The all-you-can-listen approach and the inclusion of both ebooks (accessible via an ereader or tablet) and audiobooks help Scribd's value for money across the line from excellent to exceptional.
The library isn't as vast or modern as Audible, nor is the ebook offering a match for Kindle Unlimited. That said, if you're to save money and listen to as many audiobooks as you want then there's nothing better.
Best Audible alternative
Audiobooks.com checks many of the same boxes and meets most of the same needs that its biggest competitor does and, if you're sticking to the single credit plan, it doesn't cost a cent more.
The biggest advantages that this Audible alternative has are the fresh possibilities it incorporates. In addition to their standard allowance of credits, Audiobooks.com subscribers score a second book from this collection each month at no additional cost.
Audiobooks.com credits can also be traded in for access to one of the service's Audiobook Clubs rather than be redeemed for a single title of your choice. One credit gets you 30 days of all-you-can-hear access to every title included in the club. For those who like the idea of a more buffet-style approach to audiobooks, this setup might strike a chord.
Even if they're not going to be for everyone, the VIP Selection and Audiobooks.com's all-you-can-hear Clubs system represent intriguing possibilities that don't really have an equal within Amazon's own audiobook ecosystem.
The same praise can't quite be levied at the over app experience. If Audible is sometimes painfully streamlined, the main menu on the Audiobook.com app is bursting at the seams. There's podcast integration, access to clubs, dedicated note-taking, a dedicated recommendations queue and a shortcut to member-exclusive deals.
Is Audiobooks.com worth it?
Audiobooks.com provides a great selection of titles for its monthly audio subscription, but it cannot match Audible in terms of app experience and the range of available books. Nevertheless, it's a clear front-runner as far as Audible alternatives go.
Audiobooks.com has almost as many titles to offer as Audible does and it puts a fresh spin on the formula that might appeal to those who struggle to settle on a single title each month.
Best cheap audiobook subscription alternative
What is Blinkist?
Blinkist pitches itself as the Audible alternative for the time poor. While the subscription-based app does offer a number of traditional audiobooks as a in-app purchase, the main draw here is that you pay one simple monthly fee for your Blinkist subscription and get access to the knowledge contained in thousands audiobooks. There's no fussing around with credits, you just get access to everything the service has to offer (outside of traditional audiobooks, which cost extra).
The catch, if you want to call it that, is that you're not really paying for full-blown audiobooks but rather a playlist of episodic summaries called Blinks. Each Blink tends to be around 5 minutes long, but contain the big ideas of each text. For example, Hugh Eakin's Picasso's War is broken out into 7 Blinks that run for a total of 20 minutes.
It might be a little reductive to frame Blinkist as something like podcasts meet SparkNotes, but it wouldn't be far off. The appeal of the service is that you can get the gist of a given book without committing all the time it would take to fully read it.
For some, this shortcut might not sit well. For others, it might be just the thing. In either case, the Blinkist book list isn't hugely long and it is dominated by self-help texts above other genres. There's a little of variety here, but nothing as deep or diverse as the libraries found with services like Audible.
Blinkist isn't the only listen and learn app out there. Headway is another option. If you're after a half-decent Blinkist alternative, it might be your best bet. It's a few dollars cheaper, but the library is significantly smaller and more narrow in its focus.
Is Blinkist worth it?
Whether or not Blinkist's approach to fast and easy audio learning sits well with you will a go long way towards winning you over on the subscription cost being worth it.
If being talked through the big ideas of a book appeals to you, then Blinkist is a solid execution on that proposition. What's here is good, but it's inevitably limited in both scope and depth. It's a good option if you want to learn a little bit about a lot of different things, but it's not likely to satisfy those with deeper audiobook appetites.
How we score audiobook subscription services
When it came to comparing Australia's current crop of audiobook subscription services, we rated providers across five key areas: Price, Features, Availability, Content and Satisfaction. Across these categories, there were a couple dozen points of comparison separating each service. Ultimately though, the final score for each audiobook subscription service was decided by the writer who reviewed it.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the factors we considered:
- Price: Plan pricing, discounts and free trial length
- Features: Ads, podcast integration, playback controls, accessibility features, offline listening
- Devices: Number of compatible devices available
- Content: Original content library, member-only discounts and overall library size
- Satisfaction: Aggregated score of App Store, Google Play reviews and our own editors’ hands-on experience
Audiobook subscription FAQs
While audiobook subscription services like Audible do occasionally issue members with freebies, a better option for those looking to listen to audiobooks on a budget is built into the Google Play Books app.
Back in 2020, Google started releasing free audiobooks via the Google Play Store that relied entirely on the company’s text-to-speech tech. In the years since then, Google has further refined this into a feature called Read Aloud.
Once enabled, Read Aloud can instantly turn any ebook in your Google Play library into an audiobook. What's more, this feature is supported not just by books bought via Google's own online storefront but also those bought elsewhere and imported into the app.
The listening experience here is nowhere near as cinematic or feature-rich as what you'll get from a modern and mainstream audiobook provider like Audiobooks.com or Scribd. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to work your way through a more academic text or are keen to save that little bit of extra cash amid rising inflation, this is one of the best legal ways to start listening to audiobooks for free in 2023.
While Audible is owned by Amazon, you don't get any free listens with a Prime Membership. It's a separate service that commands its own subscription fee.
Audiobooks are not free on Spotify. However, rather than pay a subscription in exchange for access to a Netflix-style library and/or in-app credits that can be traded in for your choice of audiobooks, audiobooks on the popular music streaming service have to be purchased piecemeal.
At the time of writing, Australian prices for audiobooks on Spotify seem to vary between $20 and $50 per title.
In Australia, a standard month-to-month membership with Audible will cost you $16.45 per month. Assuming you stay on with Audible for a full year after the 30-day free trial, you’re looking at paying around $197 overall.
However, this is not the only available option for those looking to sign up for the service. If your appetite for audiobooks can't be sated by a single read each month, there's a second subscription tier available that costs $27.45 per month. This tier is more or less identical to the cheaper one, except you get 2 credits to cash in each month rather than just one.
If you're looking to save money, then paying for a year of Audible in advance is another option worth considering. A standard annual plan costs $164.50 and includes 12 credits to spend as you wish. This works out to be around $3 cheaper than the cost of paying month-to-month each month, for a total of around $33 saved each year.
Finally, the most expensive of the four Audible plans available costs $274.60 annually. This one gets you 24 credits to spend and represents around $5 saved each month compared to the $27.60 monthly plan and $55 in savings over the course of a full year.
Blinkist is free to try, but sticking with it will cost you. The abridged audiobook app offers a 7 day trial, letting you try Blinkist for free and then decide whether you want to stick with it.
With a single plan priced at $19.99 per month, Blinkist comes out ahead of most of the other audiobook subscriptions services on this list. What's more, you're getting Blinks rather than full-blown audiobooks.
In some ways, what's on offer here is a different product to what most audiobook subscriptions offer. Still, it might work just as well depending on who you are and what you're looking to get out of your next listen.
Blinkist themselves might offer discount codes on audiobook purchases from time to time, but their
If you're considering signing up, it might be worth looking at annual plan. Paying over that longer timescale will net you savings of around 50% of what you'd end up paying month to month. Instead of paying around $240 over the course of a year, you're only paying $120 or so.