Audible vs. Kobo: What you need to know
Audiobook services are becoming the standard for readers worldwide. More and more people are listening to books instead of reading them for many reasons such as improved accessibility for persons with disabilities, the benefits of multitasking, and being able to listen to your favorite books while on-the-go. This increase in popularity also means more audiobook services are active in the market.
Some of the notable sites for audiobooks and eBooks include Audiobooks.com, Google Play Books, Downpour, Kindle Unlimited, and Scribd.
In addition, there are services that specialize in public domain works like Librivox which has many free audiobooks. Finally, options like Overdrive allow users to borrow audiobooks from their local libraries.
Kobo is one of the most affordable audiobook providers out there, and Audible is the most popular
Of the available offers, two audiobook providers stand out: Kobo and Audible. Kobo is one of the most affordable services out there, while Audible is the most popular.
Here, we’re comparing Audible with Kobo as we review their pros and cons.
At the end, we’ll give you our final verdict and recommend an alternative service that might be more attractive to users.
Launched by parent company Rakuten Kobo in Canada, the service started in 2017. While Kobo hasn’t been around for long, its low prices have made it widely popular.
Here are the pros and cons of Kobo at a glance:
Users can keep their audiobooks
Easy to buy extra credits
Can buy books without membership
No yearly subscription options
No return policy
Kobo: Membership and price
Kobo offers a one-month free trial. During that period, users may cancel the subscription or move to a monthly plan. This standard plan costs $10 a month. For that price, users get one audiobook monthly.
Kobo doesn’t have a yearly plan. Instead, it has some flexible features. For example, users can buy three instant credits—each credit is worth one book.
Cancellation is easy and allows users to keep their credits for six more months to buy books.
Also, Kobo allows non-members to buy books for cash. This is great for casual readers who don’t want a monthly obligation.
Kobo: Library size and variety
Kobo has a large library, counting more than five million books. Of course, this means that Kobo books cover nearly all genres and categories.
But not every title will be available at all times. New books may get released by country, so some readers might have to wait for those Kobo audiobooks to become available in their country or region.
Kobo: App and website
Kobo doesn’t function via a website. The only way to listen to books from this service is through the Kobo app or one of Kobo eReaders.
Kobo: Support and exchange
In terms of support, Kobo Inc. has a good customer service that’s always ready for user contact. In fact, getting in touch with their support team is a must in case of book returns.
Their exchange policy isn’t particularly clear, and the service doesn’t seem to have any exchange options.
Amazon’s Audible got an early start back in 2008. Since then, the service has grown more popular each year—far beyond the U.S. where it started.
Let’s take a quick look at the Amazon service’s pros and cons:
Audible Originals and exclusive content
Three audiobooks monthly
Compatible with many devices
A bit pricey
No extra credits
Smaller selection of books
Audible: Membership and price
Like Kobo, Audible has a free trial that lasts for one month. After that, users can cancel the trial or opt for a subscription plan.
There are two monthly subscription plans on the service: Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus. The first one costs $8 while the second is $15.
Audible Plus gives users access to a selection of Audible Originals, certain audiobooks, podcasts, and more. The Premium Plus plan offers all this and one monthly title from a wider selection.
Members receive audiobook credit monthly. This credit is forfeited in case of cancellation.
Audible: Library size and variety
Audible has over 200,000 books, including bestsellers, non-fiction, and various other categories. With the premium audiobook subscription service, users can access the most popular titles.
In addition, members can get Audible Originals every month. These are audiobooks made exclusively for Audible.
Audible: App and website
Audible audiobook app is available for iPhone and Android phones. Also, Audible audiobooks are ready for playback on PCs, smart TVs, Kindle, and the Alexa smart speaker.
Audible: Support and exchange
If the book you’ve bought on Audible turns out not to be the best audiobook for you, you can return or exchange it within a year from the purchase date.
Which is better?
Audible is still a more complete service than Kobo. Its library includes many bestsellers and highly popular books. Plus, Audible’s policies are clear and user-friendly.
After all, Audible has been in the market for much longer. As a result, it has a more organized structure and well-defined plans.
On the other hand, Kobo might be attractive due to its vast selection and low pricing. It will be more suitable for users who want easy access to great audiobooks on a budget.
If you’re looking for more variety in your audiobook selection, you should check out Speechify. This isn’t a standard audiobook service. Rather, Speechify is a powerful text to speech engine that can instantly turn any book, document, or piece of text into an audiobook.
The main advantage of Speechify is that the books you listen to aren’t pre-recorded. The engine uses AI to turn any text into audio with natural-sounding voices. This means you can upload or paste a piece of text or even a PDF and the service will read it for you.
Best of all, Speechify allows you to choose between over 20 narrators. It can also be adjusted by speed, which is especially useful for speed-reading or slowing down the speed for people with reading difficulties or for anyone learning a new language.
Advanced options are reserved for premium users and include narrators in different languages as well as greater speed and voice customization. However, many great reading options are still available with the free version.
In the audiobook services market, Speechify represents a revolutionary new option that allows you to make your listening experience truly your own.