Want in on a little secret?
I don’t actually read all the free books I download. The hundreds of them.
“Well Steve, neither do I.”
Right, but I have a point in WHY I download a lot of them anyway even though I know it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever read them.
Because I might LISTEN to some of them on Audible.com, instead of reading them.
I’ve been hoarding Kindle books and seldom getting around to all of them because I’ve only got the same 24 hours in a day as everybody else does.
So, the solution has been to listen to audiobooks while doing other things.
The cheapest membership at Audible.com, which at the time of this update (September 2020) is still pretty much unrivaled in terms of selection and members, costs only $7.99/month. With an “Audible Plus” membership, all titles in the Plus catalog, which includes exclusive Audible content, is free. With an Audible Premium Plus membership at $14.99/month you get access to that same Plus catalog, but members are also given a monthly credit which can get you one FREE book each month on top of the discount.
In late 2018, membership started to include a selection of 6 Audible Originals, exclusively produced for Audible, and members were allowed to download any 2 of them, which was expanded during the 2020 Pandemic allowing members to download all of them. But it seems these exclusive Audible Originals have been grandfathered into the Audible Plus membership.
When you sign up through your Amazon account and try Audible for 30 days you get two free audiobooks.
So that’s already a sweet deal, and I took advantage of Audible membership for like 2 years. When I went to cancel it they said “no, don’t leave, here we’ll give you three months membership at $7.99 instead of $14.99” so I stayed.
Finally one day I noticed something after I had canceled my membership for a little while.
This Whispersync benefit that you don’t need a membership for…
When you’re on a book’s page on Amazon, especially the Kindle version, look for this image above the price:
On titles that are on Whispersync for voice, there will be a notification if that title is one of the ones in this program, letting you know the money you could save.
One day recently while in Audible, I saw a notification that a book on my Wishlist was actually on sale for only $3.99 because I already had the Kindle version, which, after double-checking, was a book I had gotten for free one day!
As you may have already noticed, audiobooks are oftentimes a lot more expensive than the Kindle versions, and closer in price to the paperbacks. So this can actually save you a lot!
If you buy the Kindle version on Amazon, the audio version on Whispersync is HEAVILY discounted,
like down to $2.99 or $3.99 oftentimes they retail for as high as $19.99 or $24.99 depending on the book.
Aug 2017 Edit/Update: It’s been pointed out to me, and I’ve observed for myself that many Whispersync books are now priced at no lower than $7.49 (for lengthier books) if you already own the Kindle version. A few dollars more than when I originally wrote this article, but still a steep discount from buying them for $19.99 IF you already own the Kindle version. See another example of a fiction book below.
So, if I see a book shared on Facebook that’s free that day, I now check to see if there’s an audio version of that book as well. If I think “I’d love to listen to that” when I see the Kindle version free, I go and download it and buy the audio version for only a few bucks.
Check out this example.
These screenshots are from Frank Viola’s book on Amazon a few years ago when I discovered Whispersyn, Reimagining Church (which I highly recommend).
This first image is all the normal prices for each version of the book when I’m not signed in to Amazon. Notice it notifies you the audiobook could be free if you join Audible.
Then notice this second photo, where I’m now signed in. For some of you depending on where you’re located, the US store sometimes shows an even lower price for books when they’re not on sale. But notice how the Audible Audio Edition was showing as $2.99.
So let’s do the math with these figures. Say the Kindle book for an author you like is the usual $9.99, and the Audible version is $19.99 — oh heck, let’s go all the way to $24.99 to demonstrate the kind of money this can save you. Then one day you get the book while it’s free or on a heavy discount, and because Amazon and Audible don’t discriminate over whether you bought the book or downloaded it free, you’ve got it in your library. If it’s one of these Whispersync books, you could purchase the “extra narration” for only $2.99.
Together, they’d be $34.98.
That’s over $30 in savings.
Recently, I realized Whyspersinc is STILL a great deal, ESPECIALLY if you’re a fan of lengthy fiction novels.
A number of months back I bought Stephen King’s 11/22/63. The Print version is over 1100 pages, and I got the Kindle version for $9.99. At the time of writing this and the day I took this screenshot, it’s showing for $10.99. For books I’m interested in, a purchase price like this is a no brainer!
Sometimes when I was busy and unable to read, but could not wait to dive back into the story, I thought of getting the audiobook so I could keep going with the story while doing other things. So, I checked on Audible to see what the Whispersync price would make it, and I almost bought it because it was so low:
Notice that the regular price that’s scratched off is $52.50 for this 30 hour-book. As a narrator myself, I know how much time and work goes into producing an audiobook (exponentially more hours than how long the book is in terms of hours). So, a read of this size deservedly costs accordingly.
But if you already have the Kindle version, and you cough up another $13, you can get the audio version.
Let’s look at the same math formula as before:
The Kindle version for the book costs you $10.99, and the audible version is $52.50.
If you bought them separately, you’d be spending $63.49 before taxes.
But if you avail yourself of Whispersync, you’re getting both for a total of $23.98, and save 39.51.
Without even BEING a member of Audible, you still save nearly forty bucks because the deal is based on owning the Kindle version, and is not just exclusively for members.
Scan Your Library For Eligible Books
So how do you figure out which books are on Audible that you already own the Kindle versions for?
Check out this link https://www.amazon.com/gp/audible/matchmaker and when you sign in, Amazon will scan your account and let you know which Kindle books have “audio upgrades”
Recently I got 6 audiobooks for less than $25 because I already had all those titles in my Kindle library.
If you don’t have a membership with Audible, I highly recommend it. Not just because if you sign up through my link I’ll get a commission, either, but because like I said earlier, I have the smartphone app on my Android and listen to a ton of books nowadays.
You can sign up using your existing Amazon account. Not only do you get a lot of discounts as I mentioned but in your first month you can get a free audiobook of your choice, and you can cancel after 30 days.
ASK Authors directly if they Have Any Promo Codes
This is a new strategy, and I may be coming at this from a bit of a biased angle as a narrator myself, but also as a lover of audiobooks.
On May 9th, 2019, ACX announced its new and improved promotional code giveaway.
Rights Holders (Authors) and Producers (Narrators) with an audiobook exclusively for sale through ACX are awarded promo codes (aka free credits) good for a free copy of their audiobook on Audible. The author and the narrator are both given 25 codes for the US store, and 25 codes for the UK store EACH, totaling 100 free promo codes to give away, and once a certain number of them have been used, authors and narrators in good standing with ACX can ask for more.
I know some independent authors struggling to get rid of all the codes for their books, while others of us can’t keep them in proportion to how many people claim them. You have not unless you ask, or something like that.
For Books of Mine, I’ve either written and produced or just narrated, click on this image and see the list of titles I currently have available codes for in the US and UK.
This particular service is one I hold dear to my heart since I’ve used it in the past as a narrator.
For a small fee, independent authors and narrators can offer to give away promo codes to readers through Audiobook Boom in exchange for candid reviews on sites like Audible and GoodReads.
So if you’re willing to leave an honest review, the author may choose you to receive their audiobook for free.
Audiobook Boom sends out a curated newsletter every Tuesday which will contain available books looking for reviewers based on the niches and genres you checked off when you signed up to get emailed. When the email blast arrives each week, you can sign up to request a free audiobook from the author or narrator. You then have 30 days to listen to the book and leave an honest, unbiased review.
If you’re given a code by the author, there are no strings attached, though it’s expected you will leave an unbiased review and rating, which is a very little price to pay for getting a free audiobook to listen to.
Don’t Forget to Sign Up For Audible’s Daily Deals
If you sign up, you will get an email every day notifying you of audiobooks that are on sale for that day only. I’ve rarely seen one for more than $4.99.
Directly from Audible’s site;
The Daily Deal is a special sale for all customers where one Audiobook’s price will be drastically reduced for one day only. The Daily Deal changes from day to day so there’s a new book to purchase every day!
Visit www.audible.com/DailyDeal to see today’s Daily Deal. To subscribe to our Daily Deal email list, please follow these steps:
Note:These steps can only be completed on the Audible desktop site.
- Go to your Account Details page on the Audible desktop site.
- Click Manage Daily Deal Email Subscription under Preferences.
- Click Subscribe.
Your first Daily Deal email will arrive 48 hours after subscribing. Want to stop Daily Deal emails? You can unsubscribe at any time from the Manage Daily Deal Email Subscription page in your Account Details.
Links to Check out
Best Books Under $10 – Audible
9 Audible Insider Tips to Get the Most out of It – MakeUseOf
Also, there are other ways to get audiobooks cheap outside of using Audible if you don’t want to be chained to their ecosystem, as well:
Top Ten Reviews of the Top Ten Audiobook Services out there, listing the pros and cons of each service.
Also click on the image to learn how to sideload ebooks onto your Kindle device.