Kindle Unlimited vs Audible: What’s What and Which is Which?

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.

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.

Neutral:

  • 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.

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.

Cons:

  • 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.

Pros:

  • 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

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!

We have 5 copies of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to give away to Book Riot readers! Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the image below. Good luck!
Tracy Shapley: Tracy is a freelance copywriter, all around ne’er do well, non-traditional (that's a polite way of saying old) undergraduate student at the University of Iowa, and occasional waterer of plants. Her hobbies include writing fiction, reading fiction, mixing together various flavors of soup, and typing letters to her friends on an old red typewriter that doesn't have a working period so all sentences must end in questions marks or exclamation points? She has read every Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and has a lot of thoughts on them. Her old Iowa farmhouse is shared by her partner Sean, their two cats Dry Bones and Gristle, and the ghost of Kurt Vonnegut. Twitter: @tracy_shapley