Why Is Audible So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Fletcher Crawford

Fletcher Crawford is a 20-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

Audiobooks have revolutionized reading and book accessibility, and if you want quality audiobooks in all genres, the best brand to turn to is Audible.

While Audible’s offerings are beyond satisfactory, you might be dismayed by Audible’s pricing model. Why is Audible so expensive? I looked into it, and here is what I found!

Why Is Audible So Expensive?

Audible is so expensive because it is the biggest digital audiobook platform in the world. Moreover, Audible has the largest collection of audiobooks, all of which are high quality. Producing great audiobooks is expensive, especially when the audiobook is lengthy. Also, Audible has to pay royalties to authors and producers with each sale.

If you are interested in learning more about the costly process of creating audiobooks and why Audible has to charge a large sum for its products and services, keep on reading!

1. Audible Needs A Host Of Professionals To Create An Audiobook

There is more to producing audiobooks than recording a narrator as they read the entire book. Instead, Audible needs to hire a host of different professionals to get the job done.

Further, apart from hiring the right narrator, Audible needs to get the right director, producers, and editors to ensure that the audiobook is as high quality as possible.

Assembling this team, providing the resources they need, and paying their wages cost a lot of money, which is partly why Audible books are so expensive.

2. Audiobooks Need To Be Advertised

While audiobooks have been around since 1952 and Audible has been releasing audiobooks since 1995, it was only recently that audiobooks were popularized.

Even today, not everyone in the book community believes that listening to audiobooks counts as reading.

Therefore, to fight back against this widespread belief and make audiobooks more desirable to the masses, Audible has to continually produce clever advertisements.

However, marketing campaigns are expensive, and Audible passes on most of the marketing cost to consumers by increasing the price of its subscriptions and audiobooks.

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3. Audible’s Pricing Encourages Subscriptions

It is possible to purchase Audible audiobooks without subscribing to Audible’s membership plans. However, the cost of audiobooks will be much higher.

For example, an Audible best-seller can cost around $25, but if you subscribe to Audible, you can get the book for $9 to $10 less. Furthermore, you have access to more books.

Therefore, by keeping the cost of individual Audible audiobooks high, Audible’s monthly subscriptions and corresponding perks seem cheap and more desirable.

4. Audible Is The Most Popular Audiobook Brand

Audible was the first digital audiobook company in the world, and it paved the way for other audiobook brands to shine in the digital age.

Moreover, Audible maintains a reputation for providing some of the highest quality audiobooks across various genres.

Naturally, Audible’s reputation as a trustworthy producer of audiobooks allows Audible to command higher prices for its products and services.

5. Audible Is Owned By Amazon

Audible, by itself, is already a great brand. However, when Amazon acquired Audible for $300 million in 2008, Audible’s branding was further solidified.

As a company under Amazon, Audible boomed and became more accessible to the public. So, if you regularly buy on Amazon, it is likely that Amazon is how you access Audible.

Therefore, since Audible is now a billion-dollar industry, keeping prices high is simply a way for Amazon to get a return on its investment and to continue making Audible profitable.

6. Audiobooks Can Span Up To 55 Hours

6. Audiobooks Can Span Up To 55 Hours

Audiobooks can last for as long as 20 to 50 hours, with Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson being one of the longest in the collection at a remarkable 55 hours.

Additionally, the length of the audiobook does not reflect the total amount of time spent by the producers, directors, and narrators on creating the final product.

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So, with production possibly taking weeks and the audiobooks consuming a lot of storage space, Audible incurs a staggering expense just to produce and keep audiobooks.

To cover these expenses, Audible has to make audiobooks and subscriptions expensive.

7. Audible Has The Largest Collection Of Audiobooks

Audible remains the largest audiobook provider globally, with a collection of over 2,000,000 titles. Moreover, these titles come from a wide range of categories.

That said, if you are an avid reader who supports multiple genres, this level of accessibility is remarkable. Additionally, Audible lets you enjoy this collection better with a subscription.

Therefore, given this unique opportunity to listen to classics, bestsellers, and new releases on one platform, it is no surprise that Audible maintains such expensive rates.

8. Audiobooks Is A Niche Market

Audiobooks belong to a niche market that falls under the broader scope of the publishing industry.

While audiobooks are popular, the audiobook market is far from reaching its full potential.

For example, there are still fewer avid audiobook listeners than there are avid print book readers.

Consequently, this means covering the expenses of producing and marketing products is much harder for Audible than for established print book retailers.

Also, to secure enough profit to maintain operational and experience growth, Audible has to increase the cost of its audiobooks and subscriptions.

9. Audiobook Readers Are Increasing

Audible may be thriving in a niche market now, but that can soon change as the demands for audiobooks increase in America and other parts of the world.

Moreover, with higher demands for audiobooks comes an increasing pressure to make improvements on the Audible platform and further enlarge its collection of audiobooks.

Therefore, to cater to a greater demand for its products and services, Audible has to keep rates high.

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10. Audiobooks Profit Authors Through Royalties

Audible produces a lot of its audiobooks in-house, but Audible offers a feature called ACX, which allows authors and producers to upload and sell their audiobooks on Audible.

Granted, an honest computation of royalty payments is not as big as authors or producers hope them to be, but the collective amount of royalty payments across Audible is big.

That said, these royalties influence Audible’s pricing scheme, and that is part of the reason why Audible is so expensive.

11. Audible Needs To Maintain A Website & App

Audible makes its products and services available through two leading platforms, namely the Audible website and the Audible app.

Further, websites and applications supporting a brand as big as Audible require infrastructure and a team of experts to operate smoothly from day to day.

Also, it is not a secret that IT resources and professionals are costly to procure and retain, which is why Audible has to be expensive.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Adobe is so expensive, why Windows is so expensive, and why Apple Pencils are so expensive.


As the top provider of audiobooks, Audible sees that all of its products are high-quality, and doing so results in expensive procurements that impact Audible’s rates.

Moreover, Audible profits best from subscriptions, and by selling its audiobooks at a high rate, Audible gets more subscribers and makes its subscription fees seem cheap.

Additionally, other factors like meeting audiobook demands and maintaining Audible’s website and app explain why Audible is pricier than other audiobook platforms.


  • Fletcher Crawford

    Fletcher Crawford is a 15-year veteran of the electrical engineering field. He has worked on everything from Linux systems to Apple products, and is passionate about technology.

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