Find out which audiobook service is a better deal.

By Nora Horvath
Updated January 24, 2018
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Google is getting into the audiobooks game.

The company announced yesterday that it will now sell audiobooks via the Google Play Store—giving readers another service to buy audiobooks other than Audible, Amazon’s popular audiobook subscription service.

The audiobooks, which users can listen to on their phones as usual, will also be compatible with Google Assistant, so listeners can ask their Google Home to start reading, to remind them who the author of the book is, or to set a timer to stop playing if they’re listening before bed. Amazon also offers a similar technology, where Audible listeners can access their audiobooks by speaking to their Alexa-enabled device.

So what are the big differences between the two systems, and is one of them less expensive? Unlike Audible, Google Play listeners can buy a single audiobook at a time without having to commit to a subscription.

On Audible’s subscription service, users by “credits” with which they can buy any audiobook in the store. One credit equals one book, no exceptions. There are two different plans offered, the Gold plan that charges $14.95/month for 1 credit and the Platinum plan which costs $22.95/month for 2 credits. If users do not use their credits each month, the credits roll over to the next month until they hit the limit (5 credit limit for Gold Monthly and 10 credits for Platinum Monthly). If listeners want to download additional books, they can do so at a 30 percent discounted rate on the audiobook’s listed price.

In the Google Play store, audiobooks are sold individually, and often at a discounted rate. In many cases, this might mean a better deal for listeners. For example, the popular memoir <em>Hunger</em> by Roxane Gay currently costs only $4.99 in the Google Play store, while Audible listeners would have to use an entire credit (worth $14.95 or $11.48, depending on which subscription they have), to get the same title.

Both services also offer the ability to listen to a free preview of the book, so readers can make sure that they want to commit to the story and narrator before they spend the money on the full version.

Once you’ve decided which audiobook service is for you, be sure to download one of these audiobooks narrated by a celebrity you love.