Audible Vs Reading


Audible is an online business that’s been around since 1995 (24 years!) when it first released a proprietary audiobook player specifically for a proprietary digital audio format. Audible is a membership service that provides customers with the world's largest selection of audiobooks as well as podcasts, exclusive originals and more. Your Audible membership is free for 30 days. If you enjoy your Audible trial, do nothing and your membership will automatically continue. We'll send you an email reminder before your trial ends. Audiobooks is a strong audible alternative, with a collection of more than 85000.

  1. Audible Vs Reading Books
  2. Audible Vs Reading
  3. Audible Reading Books
  4. Audible Vs Reading
  5. Audible Reading App
  6. Audio Books Vs Books

Audible Vs Reading Books

Goodness holy, there are a lot of bookish subs out there for us heavy readers. We covered Prime Reading vs Kindle Unlimited a few months ago. We’ve talked about how you can find free Kindle books. We’ve shown you how Kindle Unlimited works. We’ve discussed the differences between Audible and Libro.fm. In the never-ending Book Riot quest to bring you all the news about all the books, today we’ll discuss the differences (and heck, I’ll even throw in the similarities) between Kindle Unlimited vs Audible!

The Kindle Unlimited part of Kindle Unlimited vs Audible

Kindle Unlimited allows you to access more than one million titles within the Kindle Store. This includes ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines.

Audible Vs Reading

Users can borrow as many as ten titles at once and read or access them from any Amazon device or any device with a Kindle reading app. Titles do not have specific due dates. The only limit is that you cannot have more than ten titles checked out at a time.


  • The number of total titles dwarfs what Audible offers (note that is includes audiobooks and other media).
  • Users have instant access to more than one million titles.
  • There are more than 40,000 ebooks with Audible narration included.
  • Comes with a variety of media options including ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines.
  • There are no due dates—which means no late fees.
  • Users can borrow as many as ten titles at once.
  • Users keep their bookmarks, highlights, and notes even when their subscriptions end.


  • Though there are more than one million titles, the newest and most popular titles are almost never included.
  • Titles can change at any time and without notice. It is possible to be in the middle of a book or series and have that book or series discontinued from the program.
  • Once your subscription ends, so does your access to the titles you are reading or have read.
  • Most of the books included in the subscription are worth less than $4.99. The cost of Kindle Unlimited is $9.99 per month which means that if you want to break even on cost, you would need to read at least two of the most expensive $4.99 books. Since most books are closer to $0.99, you may need to read ten books a month just to break even.


  • Many of the titles are also available on Prime Reading. If you do not have Prime Reading then this is not relevant. If you do, then Kindle Unlimited may not have enough added value to be worth the cost.
  • Much of the inventory available with Kindle Unlimited is self-published. This is great news for readers who want to read the latest in self-pub, but since these books are generally priced lower and often do not have editors, some readers may not appreciate this aspect.
Audible vs prime reading

The Audible Part of Kindle Unlimited vs Audible

Audible works like this: you sign up for a membership via your Amazon account. Depending on the type of membership you choose, you get credits for free audio books each month and also have access to buy additional books within each month of your membership.


  • The basic cost of $14.95 is more expensive than Kindle Unlimited.
  • There are fewer titles overall compared to Kindle Unlimited.
  • Certain users cannot purchase additional credits.
  • Depending on which audiobook you choose, it can be a poor value.
  • You lose any unused credits if you cancel your subscription.


  • You have access to just about any audiobook on the market.
  • Once you are no longer a subscriber, you get to keep your audiobooks—you are actually buying them.
  • You can roll over credits for up to five months as long as your subscription stays active.
  • It is easy to exchange an audiobook if you do not like it.
  • Includes two Audible originals each month.
  • There are several membership options available.
  • It can be a very good value if you choose higher priced books.
  • You can put your membership on hold.
  • There are often deals for new users that make it very affordable.

The Bottom Line: Kindle Unlimited vs Audible

Audible Reading Books

So there you have it! The pros and cons of both subscriptions, neither of which or both of which may be perfect for you. So which wins the battle of Kindle Unlimited vs Audible? Try out a free trial to see for yourself!

Even for people who love books, finding the opportunity to read can be a challenge. Many, then, rely on audiobooks, a convenient alternative to old-fashioned reading. You can listen to the latest bestseller while commuting or cleaning up the house.

But is listening to a book really the same as reading one?

“I was a fan of audiobooks, but I always viewed them as cheating,” says Beth Rogowsky, an associate professor of education at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

For a 2016 study, Rogowsky put her assumptions to the test. One group in her study listened to sections of Unbroken, a nonfiction book about World War II by Laura Hillenbrand, while a second group read the same parts on an e-reader. She included a third group that both read and listened at the same time. Afterward, everyone took a quiz designed to measure how well they had absorbed the material. “We found no significant differences in comprehension between reading, listening, or reading and listening simultaneously,” Rogowsky says.

Score one for audiobooks? Maybe. But Rogowsky’s study used e-readers rather than traditional print books, and there’s some evidence that reading on a screen reduces learning and comprehension compared to reading from printed text. So it’s possible that, had her study pitted traditional books against audiobooks, old-school reading might have come out on top.

If you’re wondering why printed books may be better than screen-based reading, it may have to do with your inability to gauge where you are in an electronic book. “As you’re reading a narrative, the sequence of events is important, and knowing where you are in a book helps you build that arc of narrative,” says Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and author of Raising Kids Who Read. While e-readers try to replicate this by telling you how much of a book you have left, in a percentage or length of time to the end, this doesn’t seem to have the same narrative-orienting effect as reading from a traditional book.

The fact that printed text is anchored to a specific location on a page also seems to help people remember it better than screen-based text, according to more research on the spatial attributes of traditional printed media. All this may be relevant to the audiobook vs. book debate because, like digital screens, audiobooks deny users the spatial cues they would use while reading from printed text.

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The self-directed rhythms associated with reading may also differentiate books from audiobooks.

“About 10 to 15% of eye movements during reading are actually regressive—meaning [the eyes are] going back and re-checking,” Willingham explains. “This happens very quickly, and it’s sort of seamlessly stitched into the process of reading a sentence.” He says this reading quirk almost certainly bolsters comprehension, and it may be roughly comparable to a listener asking for a speaker to “hold on” or repeat something. “Even as you’re asking, you’re going over in your mind’s ear what the speaker just said,” he says. Theoretically, you can also pause or jump back while listening to an audio file. “But it’s more trouble,” he adds.

Another consideration is that whether we’re reading or listening to a text, our minds occasionally wander. Seconds (or minutes) can pass before we snap out of these little mental sojourns and refocus our attention, says David Daniel, a professor of psychology at James Madison University and a member of a National Academy of Sciences project aimed at understanding how people learn.

If you’re reading, it’s pretty easy to go back and find the point at which you zoned out. It’s not so easy if you’re listening to a recording, Daniel says. Especially if you’re grappling with a complicated text, the ability to quickly backtrack and re-examine the material may aid learning, and this is likely easier to do while reading than while listening. “Turning the page of a book also gives you a slight break,” he says. This brief pause may create space for your brain to store or savor the information you’re absorbing.

Daniel coauthored a 2010 study that found students who listened to a podcast lesson performed worse on a comprehension quiz than students who read the same lesson on paper. “And the podcast group did a lot worse, not a little worse,” he says. Compared to the readers, the listeners scored an average of 28% lower on the quiz—about the difference between an A or a D grade, he says.

Interestingly, at the start of the experiment, almost all the students wanted to be in the podcast group. “But then right before I gave them the quiz, I asked them again which group they would want to be in, and most of them had changed their minds—they wanted to be in the reading group,” Daniel says. “They knew they hadn’t learned as much.”

He says it’s possible that, with practice, the listeners might be able to make up ground on the readers. “We get good at what we do, and you could become a better listener if you trained yourself to listen more critically,” he says. (The same could be true of screen-based reading; some research suggests that people who practice “screen learning” get better at it.)

But there may also be some “structural hurdles” that impede learning from audio material, Daniels says. For one thing, you can’t underline or highlight something you hear. And many of the “This is important!” cues that show up in text books—things like bolded words or boxed bits of critical info—aren’t easily emphasized in audio-based media.

But audiobooks also have some strengths. Human beings have been sharing information orally for tens of thousands of years, Willingham says, while the printed word is a much more recent invention. “When we’re reading, we’re using parts of the brain that evolved for other purposes, and we’re MacGyvering them so they can be applied to the cognitive task of reading,” he explains. Listeners, on the other hand, can derive a lot of information from a speaker’s inflections or intonations. Sarcasm is much more easily communicated via audio than printed text. And people who hear Shakespeare spoken out loud tend to glean a lot of meaning from the actor’s delivery, he adds.

However, a final factor may tip the comprehension and retention scales firmly in favor of reading, and that’s the issue of multitasking. “If you’re trying to learn while doing two things, you’re not going to learn as well,” Willingham says. Even activities that you can more or less perform on autopilot—stuff like driving or doing the dishes—take up enough of your attention to impede learning. “I listen to audiobooks all the time while I’m driving, but I would not try to listen to anything important to my work,” he says.

All that said, if you’re reading or listening for leisure—not for work or study—the differences between audiobooks and print books are probably “small potatoes,” he adds. “I think there’s enormous overlap in comprehension of an audio text compared to comprehension of a print text.”

So go ahead and “cheat.” Your book club buddies will never know.

Audible Vs Reading

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