I love audiobooks, and Audible is my favorite way to listen to them.
I’ve finally figured out how to use a great service that makes it even easier—and cheaper—to listen to audiobooks with Audible. I’m kicking myself for not figuring it out sooner (it’s been around for a couple of years), so I wanted to make amends by filling you in as soon as possible. It’s called Whispersync for Voice, and it allows you to switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the audio version without losing your place.
Last fall when I raced through the Outlander books, I switched back and forth between the Kindle and audio versions so I could get through the books faster. But I didn’t use Whispersync—I didn’t know it existed—and I spent a lot of time trying to find my place. (For most of the books, it wasn’t too hard to stop at a chapter break. But some of the later books stopped at seemingly random one-hour intervals, and it drove me crazy.)
(Giant disclaimer here: read the reviews before you start the Outlander books.)
I wish I’d known how to use the service then. I could have spent more time reading, instead of searching for my place. I also would have saved a ton of money.
The finances of Whispersync
It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true: even if you have no intention of reading the ebook, sometimes buying the Kindle book plus the audio saves you serious money.
Compare this to the $14.95 I paid per credit for the audiobook alone with my Audible membership.
Gold: 1 credit/month — $14.95 per credit (my old plan)
Gold Annual: 12 credits at once — $12.46 per credit (my current plan)
Platinum: 2 credits/month —$11.48/credit
Platinum Annual: 24 credits at once — $9.56 per credit
If I can beat $12.46/credit, it’s worth buying the ebook and audiobook together, even if I’m not planning on ever reading the ebook.
Once I figured out how this Whispersync thing worked, I went searching for great deals. Not every book is Whispersync-enabled, and not all of those are good deals. Many audio companions cost $12.99; many ebooks cost in the double digits. But there are lots of good deals to be found.
How to get started
The first audio companion I bought at a big discount was Pride and Prejudice. I was getting ready to spend an Audible credit for this because my kids are ready to give it a try. (!!!) I downloaded the public domain ebook for free, and added the unabridged audio companion for $.99. On Amazon’s website that looks like this:
The “Whispersync for Voice-ready” in search results means an audio companion is available. On the book’s sales page, click “add Audible narration” to purchase the audiobook companion.
To listen to a sample of the audiobook companion before you buy, click on the book’s title under “add Audible narration.” That will open a page that looks like this:
Click “play sample” to hear an excerpt from the recording.
For further instructions that are specific to your device, head here.
How to find out which of your ebooks have audio companions
If you own any Kindle books—even free ones—it’s easy to see which have audio companions available.
Go to Amazon’s Whispersync home page, click on “view audio companions for your Kindle books.” (See the orange arrow above.) Enter your account information. Amazon will generate a list of available audio companions for your Kindle books. It looks like this:
Great Whispersync deals available now
Prices on Kindle books change all the time. Prices on audio companions are more stable. I scoured Amazon to give you an idea of what’s available, and for how much, to give you a feel of what kind of deals you can get with this service.
These are a few books on my reading list:
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer. The ebook is $11.19; add the Audible narration for $3.99. I think $11 is a lot for an ebook, but if you catch this on sale (like it was recently) this will be a great deal. • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Buy the ebook for $1.99 (sale price); add the Audible narration for $3.95. • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls., The ebook is $9.99; add the Audible narration for $3.95. • Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl is $4.65; add the Audible narration (by Selma Blair) for $3.95
Books I’ve enjoyed and recommend:
Cinder by Marissa Mayer. The ebook is $2.99; add the Audible narration for $3.95. I love this YA series. • The Martian by Andy Weir. The ebook is $7.99; add the Audible narration for $2.99. That’s not a great ebook price (although it was recently on sale for $3), but combined with the audio it’s still a great deal. (I really enjoyed this. So did my husband, which is saying something. There’s some language.) • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The ebook is $4.99; add the Audible narration for $3.95. This is intense but such a good read. • Holes by Louis Sachar. The ebook is on sale for $3.99; add the Audible narration for $3.95. • Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty. The ebook is $3.99 right now; add the Audible narration for $12.99. $12.99 isn’t a great deal, but it’s a good example of how you can still get Audible membership prices if you buy both. Sensitive subject matter; I think Moriarty handled it well.
Books that have been highly recommended:
Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe. The Kindle book is $9.99; add the Audible narration for $3.95. • Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. The ebook is $6.99; add the narration for $3.95.
(Did you notice $3.95 is a popular price for audiobook companions? View the current list of $3.95 audiobooks here.)
There are abundant fabulous deals available for the classics. This is a tiny sampling:
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The ebook is FREE. Add the Audible narration for FREE. • Little Women by Louise May Alcott. The ebook is FREE. Add the Audible narration for $9.49. • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The ebook is FREE. Add the Audible narration for $.99. • Persuasion by Jane Austen. The ebook is FREE. Add the Audible narration for $2.99.
View Amazon’s list of bargain classics that are Whispersync-enabled here.
A note about Kindle sales
I share great Kindle deals daily, updating the page every morning. Some sales last for weeks; some last for hours. If you snag a book on a great sale, that can make for some killer audiobook deals. Starting today with the new sales, I’ll state on the deals page if a book has an audio companion available. (Note: you don’t have to buy the Kindle book and the audio companion at the same time in order to get the reduced rate.)
Have you tried Whispersync, and if so, what do you think? Any tips for us? What else do you want to know?