Audible is one of the biggest names in audiobooks, and while you’ve probably mastered the basics of queueing up and listening to your purchased items, there might still be features you’ve yet to discover. Log into your account (or sign up for a free trial) and let’s start exploring.
The Amazon-owned Audible works very well with the Amazon-made Echo speakers and displays, as you might expect. As long as you’re signed into the right Amazon account on your Echo (see the Alexa app on your phone for details), you can say, “Alexa read my book” to carry on from where you last left off, or say “Alexa read...” followed by the title of something in your library. You can play, pause, and rewind using voice commands as well.
There’s an alternative playback screen hidden in the Audible interface on Android and iOS, which you can find if you tap the three dots (top right) and choose Button-Free. There are some new controls to learn here: Tap on the screen to pause and restart playback, swipe to the left or right to go back or forward 30 seconds, and long press on the screen (Android) or swipe down (iOS) to add a clip and bookmark. Tap the top left icon to exit.
There’s another now playing screen to use, but it’s more obvious—you can find it by tapping on the automobile icon in the top right corner when you’re listening to one of your audiobooks. This simplifies the interface to make it easier to operate while you’re driving, so you can tap in the middle of the screen to pause and restart playback, tap in the lower left corner to go back 30 seconds, and tap in the lower right corner to add a clip.
Don’t forget to rate the audiobooks you’ve listened to in order to make sure that you’re getting the best recommendations that Audible’s algorithms can come up with. Tap the three dots by an audiobook on the Library screen or on the now playing screen, then choose Rate and Review to leave your take. You’re also helping out the rest of the Audible community by leaving behind some thoughts on the book and its audio production.
Speaking of helping out other people, after you’ve reviewed something, you’ll also be invited to send it to someone else. If that person hasn’t yet signed up with Audible, the book will be free to access and listen to. You can also find the option to send books by tapping on the three dots by the title on the Library screen, or by tapping on the three dots in the top right corner of the now playing screen and choosing Share from the list.
If you use the Kindle app for Android or iOS, you can switch between reading a book and enjoying it on Audible (if available), though you will need to have purchased both. As long as you have access to both text and audio, when you tap on a page in the mobile Kindle app to bring up the menus, customization options, and so on, you’ll see the audio playback controls down at the bottom. You can then switch between the two formats as required.
Your Audible credits are precious, so don’t waste them on audiobooks that you don’t actually enjoy. If you go to your account page on the web and then click Purchase History, you’ll find Return Title buttons next to eligible audiobooks: You’ll get the credit back and you can pick another book. Audible doesn’t specify a limit for the number of times you can do this, but does say that it’s watching out for anyone trying to game the system.
By default, the Audible player on mobile will jump back or forward by 30 seconds whenever you press the relevant buttons on the now playing screen, but you can customize this if you think that jump is too far (or not far enough): tap the three dots (top right), then Player settings, then time under Jump forward and back (Android) or Seconds (iOS). Your choice for the time jump ranges from 10 seconds to 90 seconds.
If you know you’re not going to be able to get through many audiobooks for a while, you can pause your account payments rather than canceling your subscription altogether—this means that you’ll hang on to any unused credits (and you can still use them), but you won’t accrue any new ones. The rules are that you can put your account on hold up to once a year, for a period of 1, 2 or 3 months each time. Head here for the full instructions on what to do.
If you want the crispest possible sound from Audible on your phone, then you’ll want audiobooks in the highest possible quality (which also takes up more room on your device of course). From the app front screen, tap the menu button (top left) then Settings on Android, or the Profile tab and the cog icon (top right) on iOS, then Data & Storage. This screen lets you set the download quality and limit downloads to wifi connections only.
It might not be immediately obvious, but you can quickly beam an audiobook to any Sonos speakers you might have on your home wifi network as well. From the now playing screen, tap on Connect to a Device and your Sonos speakers should pop up (as well as AirPlay and Bluetooth options). Once the connection has been made, you can control the playback and change the volume in either the Audible or Sonos apps on your phone.