Audible vs Libro.fm—which is better? I have subscriptions to both and recognize both have their pros and cons. Most people are more familiar with Audible, but it’s certainly not the only show in town. After a few months of trying both subscriptions, I believe my long commute paired with a penchant for long walks has made me a qualified judge of Audible vs Libro.fm.
I currently have three audiobook apps on my phone, Audible, Libro.fm, and Libby (the latter for my digital library loans). I’ve been enjoying books on both Audible and Libro.fm, but they have a few key differences.
Pros of Audible
One audiobook credit per month
For $15.99 plus tax, you can get almost any audiobook in the Audible library. This comes out to one half to one third of what the book would be regular price and is definitely the most cost-effective way to stuff your ears with wordsy goodness.
With an Audible subscription, you also get two Audible Originals every month in addition to your regularly allotted audiobook. These can be hit or miss, but I've enjoyed some of their selected offerings. There's a curated selection, so you never know what will be available, which is the only drawback.
Member discount for additional audiobooks
Though I haven't calculated the exact percentage, it appears Amazon takes a good chunk out of the price of additional audiobooks for Audible members. There are also special sales for members, such as the Black Friday sale this past month that slashed 50% off everything.
Many audiobooks are exclusive for Audible
Audible's e-store is rife with the "Exclusive for Audible" ribbon and many audiobooks are only on Audible even if they don't have the ribbon. R.A. Salvatore's Legend of Drizzt series is one example and there are many others.
Automatically pauses audio when other apps talk
I primarily listen while driving, with my navigation on. One of my favorite features of Audible is that it will pause my book while the Google lady gives me directions, and then pick back up once she's done. This seems fairly basic, but I have several apps that don't have this feature.
Cons of Audible
Some titles require more than one credit
This probably won't be an issue unless you're into academic content, but I happen to be into academic content. I had to use three credits each for my Pimsleur Japanese downloads, but those are "monster" titles.
Referrals require an Amazon Associates account
In order to get credit for referring my friends, I have to use my Amazon Associates link for specific books. It's a bit of a pain, but probably not a dealbreaker for most people.
Support local bookstores every month
This is my main reason for using Libro.fm. My local bookstore, Lark and Owl Booksellers, gets a commission every month I renew and every audiobook I purchase. As someone with limited space in my house, finding a way to support them without buying physical books was a huge win!
Get three credits instantly for switching
If you decide to go with Libro.fm and use promo code "SWITCH" you can get three books right off the bat. I was gifted my Audible membership, so I used this one and I was pretty stoked. Totally worth it!
Get referral credits
Libro.fm is the easiest affiliate program I've seen. You can just email a link to your friends and if they jump on board, you get an instant free book. Everyone wins.
Attentive tech support
I have needed to contact Libro.fm's tech support twice since I started my subscription (neither was any fault of theirs). Both times, they were quick to respond and work through the issues, even going so far as to contact a publisher to resolve one of the issues I encountered. As a tech giant, Amazon is no longer able to offer this level of individualized attention and I'd forgotten how great it was to be treated like a human instead of a ticket number.
The personal attention is one of the biggest differences between Audible vs Libro.fm.
30% discount on all additional titles
I think this is probably the same discount Amazon gives their users. While you can use the app without a subscription, there is this sweet discount.
Cons of Libro. fm
No in-app purchases
The mobile app for Libro.fm does not allow you to buy books in the app. You can go to their mobile site, but it is a few extra clicks and a bit inconvenient for this tech-dependent millennial. Their mobile site is very user-friendly, but the app isn't as encompassing as Audible.
Fewer title options
Libro.fm does not yet have exclusive titles. As a result, they don't yet have the catalog Audible does. While this may change, it is something to consider when comparing the two platforms.
Does not pause audio when other apps operate
As I mentioned, I primarily listen to audiobooks while driving. Libro.fm, in my experience, continued playing while the Google navigation lady yelled as me. This has resulted in several occasions of panicked jabbing at the rewind button and I hope they fix it moving forward.
Audible vs Libro.fm Verdict
Honestly, when it comes to Audible vs Libro.fm, I have Libro.fm for purely sentimental, human reasons. I like supporting my local community and don't trust Amazon to treat authors and publishers fairly (do a quick Google search if you'd like more details).
Audible is great for the binge listener and supports a large roster very well. Libro.fm has some technical issues to sort out, but I love small bookstores and the books play the same for the same price. And who knows? They might blow up in the next few months or years. You never know with tech.
Audible vs Libro.fm is subjective, as I said, and it really depends on you. Most people I know use Audible and it's widely considered the behemoth, but it makes up only 42% of the audiobook market, so I would encourage you not to limit yourself too much.
What do you think? Do you use Audible? Libro.fm? Another app? Let me know in the comments!