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Audiobooks: Cost Effective or a Waste of Money?

If you’re always on the go and like to learn something new or enjoy an adventure, then you’re probably familiar with audiobooks. There are several subscription services available, but Audible is probably the most widely known because it’s part of Amazon. You can find several other options in the Google Play Store.

But are they worth the money? And what if you don’t like the book or it’s not what you expected? Are you just out the cost?

Whether or not audiobooks are cost effective or a waste of money really depends on whether or not you listen, how often you listen, and if you have a membership.

If you listen to audiobooks, but very rarely, a subscription is probably not the best option for you. You can buy books individually, but the prices range from $5 to $35. If you’re only buying a couple of books a year, this is definitely more cost effective than a monthly membership.

If you don’t listen at all but you’ve been thinking about giving them a try, good news . . . Audible has a free trial period so you can test out a book or two to see if you like listening.

Now if you really enjoy audiobooks, always like to learn something new, and have lots of free time to listen (like on your commute or at the gym) then a membership is definitely the way to go. At $14.95 a month for one credit, Audible’s membership fee is less expensive than most individual purchases. And credits carry over for a few months so if you don’t use it one month, no problem. You can download two books the following month.

You can find audiobooks for just about anything that interests you from investing to productivity to self-improvement to mystery, suspense, and science fiction.

Books are a great way to learn something new, improve your life, and take an adventure without ever leaving home. Audiobooks just make it easier to get through your “to be read” list. Especially if you’re a slow reader or never have enough time to sit down with a book.

But what happens if you don’t like the book or it’s not what you expected? Audible does allow you to return books within 90 days and your credit is placed back in your account for your next download. Considering that you can’t really return something you’ve already downloaded, this is a very generous policy.

And if you don’t have the budget for a monthly membership or want to test out your audiobook interest for a few months, try Overdrive. With a library membership, you can “check out” audio books from the library and listen anytime, anywhere for free. Their selection is not quite as large as Audible’s but you’re sure to find something you like.

The bottom line on the cost effectiveness of audiobooks and membership fees comes down to how often you like to listen and if you enjoy having a large inventory of books to choose from. Only you can decide if it’s worth it. If you’re not sure, test drive a few on Audible or Overdrive before deciding if it’s the right choice for you.

About the author

Emilie Burke

Emilie is a politics-major turned data engineer. She graduated from Princeton University in 2015 and from Smartly with her MBA in 2016. She lives in North Carolina with her college sweetheart Casey who is currently stationed at Fort Bragg. She enjoys eating food, cuddling with her dog, and binge watching HGTV. She blogs at Burke Does. You can find her around the web at @emilielimaburke.

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