How to Get Great Deals on Books & Courses Through Audible.com

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Open Culture has had a relationship with Audible.com for close to six years, and, here and there, we’ve told you about their 30-day free trial, which gives you the opportunity to download a free audio book, listen to it, and then decide whether you want to become an Audible subscriber or not. (You can keep the audio book regardless of the decision you make.) I personally became an Audible subscriber a long time ago, and while I’ve always enjoyed listening to audio books, I’ve recently realized that an Audible subscription can be a real deal if you’re a fan of big audio books and great lectures. Let me break it down for you.

If you sign up for Audible’s Gold plan, you pay $158 for 12 books over a year. (You get one book credit/download per month … and you’re billed in installments monthly.) That translates to $13.20 per book on average. That’s not a bad price (given that mainstream audio books often sell for $30). But here’s where the Audible plan becomes a great deal. Earlier this fall, I re-read Joyce’s Ulysses and wanted to listen to a professionally-read unabridged narration of the novel that runs 27 hours. For the cost of one book credit – $13.20 – I downloaded the entire audio book. Naxos, the publisher, sells it for  £85.00, or $134.00. Audible sells it to non-members for $104.00.

Next example. For the holidays, I’m listening to Mark Lewisohn’s new Beatles biography Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years. The well-reviewed book runs 944 pages in print and 42 hours on audio. The audio usually retails for somewhere between $53 and $63 — much more than the $13.20 you can snag it for on the Audible plan.

Last example. Earlier this year, Audible began distributing courses by The Great Courses (aka The Teaching Company), whose products we’ve told you about before. Let’s say you’re interested in a course called Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition. Right now you can get the 60 lecture, 30-hour course through The Great Courses for $299 (in audio format). A non member can purchase it through Audible for $41.96. A member for, again, $13.20.

If this sounds like a good plan for you, you can sign up for Audible’s Gold plan via this link. You could also try out their 30-day free trial. And, of course, there’s always our collection: 550 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free. Whatever way you go, we wish you happy listening.

NB: We have a partnership with Audible.com. So, if you make a purchase, it will help support Open Culture.



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  1. A Reader says . . . | December 23, 2013 / 2:08 am

    Sorry, but as long as Audible makes use of DRM and restricts the usage of its files, it is neither “open” nor “culture” in my opinion.

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