Why Are Audiobooks So Expensive?

Nowadays, audiobooks are more and more popular. People can listen to the audiobooks whenever on a computer (Windows & Mac), iPhone, iPad and Android. Compared with the physical books, audiobooks needn’t print and they are the media files that can be easily reproduced. So you may have questions about why are the audiobooks so expensive. Let’s go through now.

Why Are Audiobooks So Expensive (Five Main Factors)

1. Narrators of the audiobook
As you choose the way to listen to the books, the narration quality of the audiobook is as important as the paper quality of the physical book. In order to make an awesome audiobook with a pleasant sound, you need one or several good narrators for different characters. The cost of an experienced narrator won’t be cheap.

2. Editing studio with audio engineers
Professionals like audiobook editors, recording and mastering engineers play a very important role in audiobooks. The audiobooks met the technical requirements of Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) will be available for Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Once the requirements are not met, the audiobook will be rejected by ACX. In order to meet the requirements, the cost of the professionals cannot be decreased.

3. Length of the audiobooks
Audible sets the price of the audiobook base on its length. It means that if the cost of the narrators and editing audio engineers is low, even if the author wants to start with a low price, it won’t be allowed by Audible’s pricing policy. It has a clear price according to the length of the audiobook.

Length of the AudiobookPrice
< 1 hour< $7
1-3 hours$7-$10
3-5 hours$10-$20
5-10 hours$15-$25
10-20 hours$20-$30
> 20 hours$25-$35

4. Marketing cost
As the audiobook is a new market, it needs much more promotional work and marketing fees. People are used to reading a book. Now people need time to be used to listen to a book. If you don’t do some promotions, people may not know this book now is available to listen to.

5. Publishers’ cost
As there are not many audiobook publishers, they will charge a high share based on the book price. And the author hasn’t any other publisher if he really wants to publish his audiobook.

Best Audiobook Services


Audible is the largest marketplace for audiobooks by Amazon. Currently, it offers 3 Free Audiobooks to new Audible subscribers during the free trial. As you make your account activated, you can get 1 audiobook of your choice as well as 2 from the Audible Originals! These three books will be kept in your account forever even you cancel your subscription. Audible provides a $14.95 monthly subscription and you can get one credit to get one audiobook for free. And you also can get 30% off to all audiobooks. For Prime Reading, you can listen to a lot of Audible audiobooks that are available to Prime members for free. 10 audiobooks can be borrowed at most and you can borrow another audiobook after you return one of them.

You may need: How to Download Audible Books to PC


Scribd is another popular media subscription service that you should know. It allows you to access to the audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, documents, music on Scribd unlimitedly. It provides an $8.99 monthly subscription to let you enjoy tons of popular titles and new releases. Scribd also offers members free access to Pocket, MUBI, Blinkest and Audm.

You may need: How to Download Files from Scribd

How to Save Money on Audible

Cancel Your Account Every Once In A While

Usually, for the subscription services, all service providers want their customers to pay for the payments on a regular basis. As they attract the new subscriptions by providing a free trial plan or a discount, they don’t want anyone to cancel the subscription. It is the same as Audible. In order to keep your Audible account active, it will offer you a discount if you try to cancel the subscription at the end of the month. In cases you cancel the monthly subscription, Audible may offer you a 50% discount on the next three credits.

Note: For the free trial plan, you can have once for the same account. If you think you can cancel your account every three months so that you can be subscribed at a half-price, it won’t be worked every time. But Audible’s customer retention system may reset periodically. It means that you can try this trick once or twice a year. You may get some different discounts. The most important thing is that even if you subscribe and cancel your account frequently, you won’t get implicated as a result.

Download Audible Audiobooks

As audiobooks contain DRM protections, even they are free audiobooks, you still need to listen to the audiobooks on the device with the permission. If you want to listen to the audiobooks without DRM protection, you can convert Audible audiobooks to MP3 to save the audiobooks offline using Audible Converter. Audible Converter is designed to convert Audible AAX/AA to MP3 files in a few steps. You can download all Audible audiobooks to DRM-free files and then cancel your subscription on Audible.

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Susanna is the content manager and writer of Filelem. She has been an experienced editor and book layout designer for many years, and interested in trying and testing various productivity software. She is also a huge fan of Kindle, who has been using Kindle Touch for nearly 7 years and carrying Kindle almost wherever she goes. Not long ago the device was at the end of its life so Susanna happily bought a Kindle Oasis.

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