Audible Business Model – How does Audible Make Money

It’s no wonder that Audible has become the most popular audio books platforms in the world. 

People have become so busy with lives that books and newspapers, magazines are simply replaced by smartphones and tablets. World has completely changed to digital and hence, the digital content has grown popular. Especially, after audio books were introduced, it became easy for people to listen to their favorite books from anywhere, and anytime. 

There are multiple audio books platforms that are available for free and premium today. But Audible is unique in the industry with a large and high-quality collection of audio books and other audio content.

In fact, the platform has not only tremendously grown both its popularity and revenue in recent years, but greatly influenced the audio books industry. The global audio books market size was valued at USD 2.7 billion in 2019 according to a study. The market size might have increased multifold this year.

The growing popularity of the most trending audio books platform, Audible would definitely raise the question – how does it make money, right? So, want to know how Audible makes money? Well, let’s discuss that in this article, before that let’s see what is Audible, how it works and what is its business model. 

What is Audible?

Audible is a famous audio books platform that not only sells audio books or other audio entertainment such as radio, podcasts etc but it also produces audio originals. It features famous writers and is in contract with popular story-tellers to produce originals and entertain its consumers. Audible is available as an app for mobile users and even users can listen to content on desktops also. The company in recent days, welcomed most popular writers, storytellers, directors across the regions to produce original audio content for the platform. Audible mainly offers users with their country’s content.

However, it has all types of content the same as any media platform – comedy, fiction, romance, politics, science etc. Thus Audible is drawing the attention of users from all niches and of ages. The platform has over 200,000 audio books in which most of them are best-sellers and classics.

Like most of the companies, Audible has a story too.

Audible, originally was founded in 1997 by Don Katz and it released a portable media player, its first product in 1998.

In 2003 the company was in agreement with Apple Inc., until 2017 that states audio books is the exclusive provider for iTunes Music store.

In January 2008, Amazon, the eCommerce giant acquired Audible for around $300 million. The company never looked back since then. Within a short time, it started producing fantasy and fiction audio books. Thus it produced a large number of audio books including originals and narrations making the platform a giant library.

It is now offering users with thousands of audio books, radio programs, TV programs, podcasts, audio newspapers, magazines etc.

Read: Amazon Prime Business Model – How Amazon Prime Makes Money

Audible Features

A giant collection includes thousands of audio books, audio magazines, newspapers, podcasts, radio programs, and other entertainment content.

  • Users can access Audible on multiple devices.
  • Car Mode is available to make listening easy while driving
  • Audio books can be downloaded and accessed offline
  • Narration speed can be customized
  • Audible is available as a membership plan

The membership plan includes:

  • 1 Audio book and 2 Audible Originals for free every month
  • Huge collection of selected free content
  • 30% discount on every title

Enough said! Let us quickly jump into the Audible business model to understand how it makes money. Shall we?

Audible Business Model

Subscription Model

As you know, Audible is not available for free. Customers have to pay a monthly fee to enjoy the benefits of the platform. However, the membership comes with several perks such as tons of free content, discounts or credits and access to Originals.

Audible offers 6 types of membership plans.

  • Audible Plus (0 Credits) – $7.95 per month
  • Audible Premium Plus (1 Credit/month)- $14.95 per month
  • Audible Premium Plus (2 Credits/month)- $22.95 per month
  • Audible Premium Plus Annual (12 Credits/year)- $149.50 per year
  • Audible Premium Pus Annual (24 Credits/year)- $229.50 per year
  • Audible Escape Subscription – $12.95/month for standalone customers (No Credits)

Thus Audible is available in five membership plans so that users can choose based on their requirements. Say a binge audio book listener might have to take Premium Plus plans.

However, the platform only lets its consumers buy either 1 or 2 best-selling books per month. To buy extra books the members have to pay extra to get the book, at discounted prices though.

Members should use the credits before the plan expires and can access the audio books even if the plan is cancelled.

People can become members of Audible by visiting Amazon.com or Audible.com.

A la Carte Model (Direct Sales)

As mentioned above, people can also access audio books without becoming its members. Audible sells its audio books and other audio content available on the platform separately, meaning users can buy a single audio book without having to take membership. This model is known as A la Carte model, which is a very profitable business model. Because, here the company need not offer free audio books for credits or does not promise discounts. Hence, there are profits.

The prices when people directly purchase audio books from Audible without membership range around $15 to $40.

Read: Hulu Business Model – How Hulu Makes Money

How Audible Makes Money?

With its two business models – subscription models and direct sales, Audible is not only making more money, but it is adding more value to the platform by adding more audio content. Thus it is leaving its users and members with too many options to spoil. In fact, like Netflix, Audible might soon make its consumers binge-listeners. With the increasing popularity for podcasts, comedy shows, audio content from famous personalities and Originals, it is keeping its consumers for a long time on the platform.

Not only the Originals from top writers such as Michael Lewis or David Spade is beneficial to the company but the writers also. As there is no cost for print publishing, the writers or creators can gain handsome share for contributing content to audio books. Thus more and more storytellers are signing contracts with the platform. Hence, the platform is going to have an enormous collection of content for users in the coming days.

Thus, the major reason how Audible is making money is the user experience it offers. With a large collection of audio books, latest technology that keeps readers on place and high-quality content, Audible has millions of subscribers. Moreover it is attracting audiences by introducing cheaper plans such as $7.95 – Audible Plus.

No matter how many offerings does Audible provide to its customers, it is still making huge profits with its subscription model. Again, however, the more revenue is likely to come from its direct sales.

Bottom Line

Though there is a tough competition in the audio books industry with players such as Scribd, Audio books and even Google Play Books, Apple Books etc. Audible manages to make revenue more than that of its first two competitors combinedly.

Although the exact number is unknown, Audible is growing its user-base steadily from past few years. As more the customers, the more revenue, Audible is enjoying profits. Moreover, the Original content on the platform draws more subscribers doubling its revenue.

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