Audible Business Model: How Does Audible Work and Make Money

The advent of audiobooks changed the process of reading books for many people. People no longer needed to take the time and read books. Instead, they could hear it during their free time. However, audiobooks were not easy to find. Most books were also not available in an audio format, which made it more frustrating. However, there wasn’t much progress with audiobooks for a long time. Considering they existed since 1932, audiobooks were outdated.


However, there were some companies that changed that. One of those includes Audible. The idea of audiobooks for Audible was unique. The company came up with a portable media player known as the Audible Player in 1998. This player had around 4 MB of onboard flash storage. The company designed this product specifically with audiobooks in mind. At the time, the player could hold up to two hours of audio.

The company started in 1995. However, it didn’t make much progress apart from its portable player. However, it reached an agreement with Apple to be the exclusive provider of audiobooks for the iTunes Music Store. Later in 2005, the company released another product, known as the Audible Air. This product allowed users to download audiobooks directly to their smartphones and PDAs.

In 2008, the company got acquired by Amazon for about $300 million. The company then started producing audiobooks. On top of that, Audible significantly grew its online presence and platform with Amazon’s backing. Throughout the years, the company has offered many services to its users that are unique.

Currently, Audible owns more than 200,000 audio programs from leading publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, etc. The company also offers podcast services to its companies. On top of that, it includes books from all genres, radio shows, etc. Due to its own production, the company also owns many original audiobooks exclusive to its platform.

As of 2021, Audible is still a part of the Amazon ecosystem. The company is overall profitable. Despite competition from companies like, Audiobooks Now, Downpour, etc., the company still holds a large market share. For most consumers, Audible is the top name in the audiobooks market.

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How Does Audible Work?

Audible makes listening to audiobooks much simpler for users. The company does not charge users for the audiobooks they consume. Instead, it uses a subscription service model to charge users for all the content. In those terms, the company is similar to other streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, but for audiobooks. However, Audible has an added twist to the process by providing users with credits.

Audible requires users to sign up to its platform to use it. Users can choose from one of many membership packages based on their preference. Some of these packages are inexpensive, but there are higher-priced subscriptions as well. Based on the membership package, there will be some restrictions on how many content users can consume.

Logging into the platform is relatively straightforward. Users can use both the web interface and the company’s app. To get started, users have to log into their accounts. They don’t need an Audible account. Instead, they can use their Amazon details to log into the Audible platform. Once they log in, they can use the company’s features.

Audible also provides users with a 30-day trial when they join the app. Regardless of the package users choose, this trial is free of charge. Users will immediately get a free credit that they can exchange for any audiobook. Similarly, they can explore Audible’s entire catalog to help them choose the best package for their needs.

The platform is also straightforward to use. It allows users to browse a catalog of books to choose what they like. The company also sorts books into several genres to help users find audiobooks easily. On top of that, it has a search feature for users to find the specific books they need. On top of that, there are several other features that make the platform easy to use.

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Apart from books, Audible also allows users to listen to podcasts. These include Audible Original Podcasts with unlimited streaming. The platform also has a number of exclusive offers and deals that users can benefit from throughout the month.

What is the Audible Business Model?

The Audible business model is simply subscription-based. However, in practice, it is much more complex. The platform allows users to choose from one of many subscription memberships. Each package has some limitations. These limitations relate to the content that users can access. Based on the subscription package that users choose, they will get Audible credits.

The Audible credits get renewed on each subscription. Users can then use these credits to get books. In essence, users can exchange Audible credits for audiobooks. These credits act as an internal currency that users can use throughout the app. Each credit allows users to purchase one audiobook. The standard package that Audible provides users with one token.

If users fail to utilize their credits, the platform rolls them over to the next. This scheme is known as the rollover scheme. With these, users don’t lose their credits. Instead, their credits get transferred to the next month. However, these credits have an expiry date as well. With this approach, Audible has used the subscription-based business model and refined it to its own advantage.

Overall, Audible’s has a profitable business model. The company bears the initial costs of producing an audiobook. However, once it does so, it stays on the platform forever. Users can then pay through credits to get that book. Therefore, Audible can make profits on a single book for the entirety of the time the audiobook stays on the platform.

How Does Audible Make Money?

As mentioned, the primary source of money for Audible is its subscription packages. The company has a catalog of Audiobooks that it markets to its users. These books include internally produced audiobooks and those that come from external producers. As mentioned, Audible provides several subscription packages to users, which then provides them with Audible credits.

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A detail of all the packages that Audible offers are as below.

Audible Plus: $7.95 per month, No credits

Audible Premium Plus: $14.95 per month, 1 credit per month

Audible Premium Plus – 2 credits: $22.95 per month, 2 credits per month

Audible Premium Plus Annual – 12 credits: $149.50 per year, 12 credits per year

Audible Premium Plus Annual – 24 credits: $229.50 per year, 24 credits per year

Users can subscribe to these packages to get one free audiobook and two Audible Originals per month. These Originals include podcasts or original audio magazines. Similarly, the packages give them access to content like audio fitness and new programs. Audible members also get 30% off of every audiobook on the platform. Similarly, they also get exclusive deals, as mentioned above.

A detailed analysis of Audible’s revenues is not available. This is because it is a subsidiary of Amazon and Amazon does not categorize revenues and income from Audible as a separate segment. However, the overall revenues from the audiobook industry in the US for 2020 were $1.3 billion. This revenue was only an increase of 8% over the $1.2 billion this industry made in 2019. Audible is a leading competitor in the market. Therefore, a large portion of these revenues is attributable to the company.


Audible is one of the companies among the leading names in the audiobook industry. The company produces audiobooks and also acquires them from other producers. Then, it provides users access to those books through its online platform. Audible’s business model is a subscription-based model. The company offers various packages, which allow users to get Audible credits where its users can then use these credits to purchase audiobooks on the platform.

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