I am a self proclaimed book dragon, and as such I love the library, but I really thrive off of owning books and being able to see them on my shelves. Heck, I even tore apart the “formal dinning room” in my house and made it into a library. That being said, I also live in metro Atlanta and work in Midtown. My commute is awful, so I started to pick up audio books as a way to help cope with it. At first they were on CDs and it was great while I was in the car, but I quickly got attached to the stories I was listening to and wanted to be able to continue them while I did other things. Ripping the CDs to an iPod worked for a time, until I got hit with the Audible Exclusive roadblock (mid-series, no less!). That's when I decided I had to brave the subscription service I had avoided until then. A little over 3 years, 204 owned titles, and well over 3.5 months of listening time later I've spent a good bit of money and learned quite a few tricks to getting the most out of my subscription and I would like to share some of my knowledge to help fellow audio book dragons in their listening pursuits.
If you are new to Audible they give you the first month of your subscription free. This includes 1 free credit and 2 free Audible Originals from that month's curated selection. Credits are used to purchase content from Audible. Yes I said purchase, you own the book when you spend a credit on it, even if you cancel your subscription, and almost everything in Audible's massive catalog will only cost you 1 credit. These were two of the big draws that lead me down this path. If one credit a month is not enough for you, never fear! There are a few different tiers you can switch to after this first month, as well as the option to buy 3 extra credits at a time (which runs about $35, or $11.50 a credit). But let's go back to those tiers for a minute. The Gold Tier, which is the base month to month tier, generally runs about $15 a month to get you that 1 credit and 2 free originals. The plan I personally use is the Platinum plan which runs about $23 a month to get me 2 credits plus to two free originals. This means each audio book I use my credits on only runs me about $11.50. Both of these plans also have a yearly option where you save a bit more making each credit cheaper, but it is one lump sum up front. There is also a romance package that acts more like a library from what I understand, as I haven't used it myself, where for an additional $7 members can add it to their regular subscription ($13 for just the Audible Escapes membership). The Audible Escapes membership allows you to listen to an unlimited about of books in their Audible Escapes library. The down side here is that you don't get to keep the books if you cancel your membership. Audible also allows for each member to be gifted 1 free book by another user allowing you another way to start building your collection.
Now let's talk about spending those credits! It can be tempting to spend them as fast as you get them but I advise using the above tricks to get you started and trying to keep at least 1 credit handy most of the time. Credits don't expire for a year, but unused credits do disappear when you cancel your subscription so don't forget to spend accordingly. I say this because Audible likes to do 2-for-1 credit sales and you can only participate in them when you have credits. You can buy extra credits to join in if you are out of get more books, but if you have one handy it wont be $35 for you to join in the sale if you only wanted 2 books.
Speaking of those extra credits, they are actually a great way to get books since they are about the same price you would pay for a credit. So if you really want that new release that is still $20, even after Audible's”30% off discount” that members get, it might be worth if for you to spend the $35 to get 3 credits and thus spend less than $12 on that book and still be able to get 2 more. That being said I have a hard and fast rule that I won't spend a credit on a book if its less than $12, I'll pay the cash price because I'm not getting the value I put into my subscription out of it.
Periodically, Audible runs different types of sales/deals. The ones that stand out to me include pre-order incentives that got you a $5 coupon if you pre-ordered a book, a $5 coupon for buying 3 books from a sale, and as I type this there is a challenge going on (for active members enrolled from January 31st to March 17th) where if you listen to 3 different books that are a minimum of 3 hours by March 3rd you will receive a $20 Amazon credit. I also keep an eye on the daily deals, which are a catalog item a day that Audible Discounts to $6 or less. These can range from any genre and sometimes feature things like course books, which can be a heck of a steal if you are interested in them.
Another great way to watch what you buy is to check out the little blurb on the books page. Many books have a blurb about being "Whispersync for voice-ready" where you can get the audio book for cheaper if you purchase the Kindle version. I've managed to get a few audio books for about $3 by getting the Kindle book first. I've also heard this applies to Kindle Unlimited titles where you can add the audio book for free or cheap, but I have not tried it myself.
Using social media to your advantage can aid in your quest for more audio books as well. I am a member of quite a few book groups on Facebook and have been alerted to hidden gems and great buys I might have missed otherwise. There are also periodically posts from authors who have codes for free downloads in exchange for honest reviews. Recently one of the genre specific newsletters Audible sent out alerted me to a free prequel to a series, thus I get a nice long taste of the story and narrator before trying to dive all the way in. That leads me into my last tip. You can return audio books you just cant get into, which comes in really handy if the narrator is not to your liking. There are some limitations, however, and Audible might restrict you if you do it too much.
I hope this run down of the tips and tricks I've learned while using Audible helps you to get the most out of your subscription, be you a seasoned user that didn't know some of these tricks or someone wanting to jump in and horde all the audio books. Please keep in mind all prices listed are what I saw at the time of writing, but they are subject to change according to Audible's whims.