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Kindle Unlimited vs Audible in 2021: Which one is better for Audiobooks?

When we’re talking about Kindle Unlimited vs Audible, it used to come down to a question of quantity vs quality. However, with Audible Plus, Audible has introduced a gamechanger! Let’s look at the details of these two audiobook subscriptions…

First things first though, when you’re asking the question of Kindle Unlimited vs Audible, you’re already aware that Kindle Unlimited includes free audiobooks. But I’d still like to point you to my guide on how to find Kindle Unlimited audiobooks! It includes links that take you straight to the free audiobooks, as well as a guide for the lesser-known option of buying super cheap audiobooks as a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.

What’s the difference between Kindle Unlimited vs Audible?

Since both Kindle Unlimited and Audible are Amazon products, there’s less difference between these two than you might expect!

While Audible is one of the pure audiobook subscriptions, Kindle Unlimited also lets you read ebooks and magazines for free. But since the point of this article are the audiobooks, we’ll mostly leave the ebook aspect of Kindle Unlimited aside.

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As for the similarities: Kindle Unlimited audiobooks are actually the Audible narration! That means you use the Audible app to listen to them and it’s the same audiobook that you could also buy for an Audible credit. But you don’t need an Audible membership to use this feature of your Kindle Unlimited subscription!

Kindle Unlimited books are only borrowed – like in a library. They aren’t yours to keep and once you cancel your subscription, you won’t have access to these audiobooks anymore. The same goes for any audiobooks you borrow through Audible Plus – Audible’s new “all you can listen” catalog.

When you get an audiobook with your free Audible credit, on the other hand, the audiobook is yours to keep. And if you cancel your membership, you can still listen to these Audible books in your library as often as you want.

So, if you’re wondering: “Does Kindle Unlimited include Audible?” The answer is a resounding: “Yes and No!” Kindle Unlimited includes some of the Audible books and allows you to listen to Audible free of the usual charge per audiobook, but you don’t get access to everything from Audible’s catalog.

Audible vs Kindle Unlimited: Cost

An Audible Premium Plus membership costs $14.95 per month. For this fee, you receive an Audible credit for one free audiobook that you can pick from the entire Audible catalog (which includes almost every audiobook out there). Additionally, you have unlimited access to the entire Audible Plus catalog of over 9000 audiobooks and the prices for all Audible audiobooks are reduced. Unused credits carry over to the next month for up to 1 year.

If you cancel your membership, you lose any unused credits, so, make sure you always use them before canceling! You keep all the audiobooks you bought with money or Audible credits, but not the ones you borrowed through Audible Plus.

You can also sign up to Audible and only subscribe to Audible Plus. This new membership plan costs only $7.95 per month and gives you unlimited access to the aforementioned 9000 Audible books included in the Audible Plus catalog.

The price for a Kindle Unlimited subscription is $9.99 a month and you get access to their ebook library of over one million titles and to over 2000 free audiobooks. Additionally, you get special deals on audiobooks for tens of thousands of Kindle Unlimited ebooks. These audiobooks then cost you as little as $1.99 and they are yours to keep after your subscription ends. The free audiobooks, however, are only borrowed! So when you cancel your subscription plan, all “Read and Listen for Free” Kindle Unlimited ebooks and audiobooks are removed from your devices.

All 3 subscriptions offer a 30 day free trial period! Of course, you get to keep the free audiobook from your free 30 day trial with Audible** so you can listen to it more often. You also get to keep any of the cheap Whispersync audiobooks you buy during your Kindle Unlimited test month**. Lastly, you can also get a free trial for Audible Plus** – but I suggest you grab the Audible Premium Plus trial that includes a free Audible credit!

Related article: What you should know before you return a book on Audible

Kindle Unlimited vs Audible: Catalog

If there’s an audiobook, you will most likely find it on Audible! They have the most extensive catalog of all audiobook shops and don’t only offer all traditionally published audiobooks, most indie- and self-published titles, but also their own very high-quality Audible exclusive productions. That’s why it’s the most popular among the “1 free audiobook per month” audiobook subscription services.

Kindle Unlimited only includes a small fraction of Audible’s catalog and these titles are mostly indie- or self-published. So, it’s unlikely that you’ll find your book club choice of the month among the Kindle Unlimited audiobooks. Nevertheless, they regularly offer bestsellers – for example, The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. But sometimes, titles are also removed from the plan again. For example, The Hunger Games trilogy was available as “Read and Listen for Free” for a while but the audiobooks have been removed recently.

New audiobooks are added every month though so it’s unlikely you’ll run out of interesting titles any time soon!

Kindle Unlimited vs Audible Plus

Let’s play the numbers game for Kindle Unlimited vs Audible Plus! As I mentioned before, Audible Plus includes over 9000 audiobooks and as an Audible member, you have unlimited access to these for free. As a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you only get free access to around 2000 audiobooks.

However, Kindle Unlimited comes out ahead when we look at new releases!

In November 2020, Kindle Unlimited has added 5 new Romance audiobooks, 10 new Thriller releases, and 12 Literature & Fiction audiobooks – most of them novel-length. And in the same timeframe, Audible Plus has added 7 new Romance audiobooks, 1 new Thriller, and 8 Literature & Fiction audiobooks. More than half of these titles have a run time of around 1 hour!

Kindle Unlimited consistently brings you popular new releases every month with a good selection of full-length books in the Romance, Suspense, and General Fiction genre. Audible Plus might have started with a higher total number but it includes podcasts and 1-hour-long audiobooks. So, neither catalog is clearly better than the other.

Related article: What is Audible Plus and is it worth it for you?

What’s it gonna be?

Now, who comes out ahead in the Kindle Unlimited vs Audible match? Well, that depends on you! Right now, an Audible Premium Plus membership looks to be better than Kindle Unlimited since it offers you both unlimited listening with a good selection of titles, as well as one audiobook to keep that you can freely choose from… pretty much every audiobook in existence!

If you listen to 1 or 2 or maybe a handful of audiobooks a month and like to choose specific titles – for example, the most recent bestseller or a book club pick – an Audible membership is simply the best choice for you because you can be sure to find the audiobook you want and can get great value for your Audible credit.

However, Audible Plus is still in flux while Kindle Unlimited is very established. And as a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can be sure that you will get high-quality new releases every month. So, if you like to listen to a lot of audiobooks, if you enjoy discovering new authors and genres, if you read a lot of indie- and self-published titles that others might not have heard about, then Kindle Unlimited is perfect for you and definitely worth it for the audiobooks alone, even if you never touch any of the ebooks in the subscription!

Get a 30 day free trial with Audible** and 30 days Kindle Unlimited for free** to try both out for yourself!

And check out the book lists with my favorite Fantasy audiobooks in Kindle Unlimited, the best Romance audiobooks in Kindle Unlimited, the most popular Romance audiobooks in Audible Plus, and 50 of the best audiobooks of all time!

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10 thoughts on “Kindle Unlimited vs Audible in 2021: Which one is better for Audiobooks?”

  1. Exactly what I was looking for! Have been using KU for almost 4 years but only use it for audio (Around 800 hours a year). So torn if I should make the jump or not. I still fill in some audio from fav authors, so maybe I need to see if I can take a look at the AP library!

    Subscribed and looking forward to exploring your blog!

    1. Thank you for your comment! So happy to hear my comparison of Kindle Unlimited vs Audible was useful for you. I hope you’ll find a lot of good audiobooks in Audible Plus 🙂

  2. My 95 year old mother is paying for Audible premium plus, kindle unlimited and Amazon digital. She does not listen to books, only reads. What should she keep?

    1. If she doesn’t listen to books, she doesn’t get anything out of an Audible subscription since they offer only audiobooks. Kindle Unlimited is definitely the better subscription for someone looking for ebooks!

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