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Looking for an mp3 player that can play your Audible audiobooks? Our article is here to help you understand what Audible is, how it works, and what mp3 players are compatible with Audible. We will also discuss ways to play Audible books on non-compatible mp3 players. Our list of compatible players is divided into 4 parts. If you want something fully compatible with Audible, don’t read the whole article – just the first two sections. If you are interested in all the possible options, you should check out the rest of our suggestions.
Table of Contents
- What is Audible?
- The Meaning of the Term ‘MP3 Player Compatible with Audible’
- Apple Players Compatible with Audible
- Best Overall – iPod Touch
- Best Alternative 1 – iPod Nano
- Best Alternative 2 – iPod Classic
- MP3 Players Compatible with Audible Through the AudibleSync App (Audible-Ready MP3 Players)
- Best Audible-Ready MP3 Player Under $30 – SanDisk Clip Jam
- Best Substitute for iPod Touch – Creative ZEN Vision:M
- The Smallest – SanDisk Sansa Clip+
- Best for Visually Impaired 1 – Bones Milestone 312
- Best for Visually Impaired 2 – Victor Reader Stream
- Creative Zen
- Android-Based MP3 Players Compatible with Audible
- Best DAP Under $500 – FiiO M11
- Best DAP Under $1,000 – ONKYO DP-X1A
- ACTIVO CT10
- HiBy R5
- How to Play Audible Audiobooks on Other MP3 Players
- Q: Does Audible work on mp3 players?
- Q: What to look for when buying an mp3 player for Audible?
- Q: What devices can play Audible books?
- Q: Is audible free with Amazon Prime?
- Q: How can I listen to audiobooks without Wi-Fi?
- Q: Is there a free version of audible?
- Q: Can I listen to Audible without a subscription?
- Q: Can you still listen to Audible books after canceling membership?
- Q: Is Audible really worth it?
What is Audible?
Audible was founded back in 1995. In 1998, Audible released its first product. It was a portable device called Audible Mobile Player and it had only 4MB of internal storage, which allowed the users to store up to 2h of audio content. The player wasn’t a huge success.
Audible Mobile Player released in 1998 (source – Audible.com)
In 2001, they released another portable player called Audible Otis. Again, not a huge success.
Audible Otis (source – Audible’s Twitter Profile)
That’s pretty much where they stopped when it comes to digital audio players and decided to concentrate on audiobooks only. They launched the first subscription-based platform for purchasing audiobooks in 2000.
The game-changer for Audible was most definitely the deal they signed with Apple in 2003. That’s when they became the provider of audiobooks to iTunes. In 2008, Audible was sold to Amazon for $300 million. Since then, this platform has been growing constantly.
Today, Audible is, arguably, the best place to go online for audiobooks. It’s still a subscription-based service, similar to many music streaming services. Audible has the largest library with an enormous title catalog and that’s one of the biggest advantages over similar audiobook services.
Also, unlike iTunes, Spotify, and similar subscription-based platforms, if you cancel your subscription, Audible allows you the keep the books you purchased – you can listen to your audiobooks, even if you’re unsubscribed. On the other hand, Audible doesn’t allow you unlimited access like Spotify – you can’t take just any book at any time. Instead, depending on the subscription plan, you will get a certain number of credits per month (or year), and you can use those credits to buy the books (one book – one credit). You also get unlimited access to select titles and Audible Originals. There’s a variety of membership plans so you can select the one that fits your needs.
Membership plans (source – Amazon)
You can purchase the books from Audible even if you are not subscribed (you just need an account) but you will be missing numerous benefits (especially discounts). Have in mind that the price of an audiobook is often much higher than the price of one credit (which is approx. $9.50-$15, depending on the membership plan).
Audible works across many different platforms including macOS, Windows, Android, iOS. The Audible app is available for all kinds of devices including iPhones/iPods/iPads, Android phones and tablets, Windows phones/tablets, Alexa-enabled devices, SONOS speakers, Kindle and Fire tablets. Finally, Audible is compatible with some mp3 players and devices for the visually impaired. On all the available devices, the app works flawlessly and allows you to access the audiobooks, purchase them, download them, and listen to them. You will get the best user experience when using Apple devices since the app syncs automatically with iTunes (macOS Mojave and earlier) or Apple Books (macOS Catalina and later).
Audible also has some cons. For example, if you don’t use your credits, they won’t last forever. Every credit has an expiration date and you’re not allowed to have more than 6 credits available. If you have six and you don’t use them, one of them will expire. If you want to download books and listen to them offline (that’s also allowed), you will need a device with pretty large storage since the audiobooks are not small.
The Meaning of the Term ‘MP3 Player Compatible with Audible’
The term ‘portable device (or mp3 player) compatible with Audible’ can be interpreted in two ways. It could mean that you can install the Audible app on a device and get all the benefits that come with the app. Or it could just mean that it can play the books you downloaded from Audible.
If you want full compatibility without any hassle, you should most definitely go for a device that works with the Audible app. When it comes to portable devices, our top suggestions are iPhones and Android phones. If you need an mp3 player, your best option is iPod Touch. iPod Nano and Classic are also good options and can play Audible books, but they are not compatible with the Audible app.
The second group of the devices are real mp3 players and devices for the visually impaired. However. these devices are not compatible with the Audible app (you can’t install the app), but there’s a tool called AudibleSync app (developed by Audible) for Windows 10 that allows you to transfer files from Audible to your portable device. Devices that belong to this group are SanDisk mp3 players, Creative mp3players, Victor Reader Stream, and Bones Milestone 312. It’s not really clear why other mp3 players can’t work with the AudibleSync, but the app is only compatible with portable audio players mentioned above (aka Audible-ready devices).
This is pretty much where the list of devices approved by Audible ends and where finding workarounds and conversion tools starts. Here, we can make a difference between two groups of devices – digital audio players running on Android and regular mp3 players.
Now, the situation is pretty straightforward with regular mp3 players. They don’t support the Audible app and they don’t support Audible audiobook formats (AA and AAX). The only option with these devices is to download an Audible book on your PC/Mac, then download some converter for Audible books, convert the files to mp3, and send them to your mp3 player. Unfortunately, this is not exactly legal.
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Android-based digital audio players are the trickiest group of portable devices. You see, there’s an Audible app for Android devices, but Audible claims it’s only for Android phones and tablets. The main issue with these players is that they often use Android OS that is not fully open and has limited functionality. This basically means that you don’t get to install anything you want from the Google Play Store or some other Marketplace designed by the manufacturer of the device. Only a few players have fully open Android OS and allow you to download and install any third-party app (including Audible) from the Google Play Store. However, even in that case, there’s no guarantee the app will work flawlessly. If your Android-based DAP doesn’t support the Audible app, the only option for you to listen to Audible audiobooks is the one we’ve already talked about – download the book on some other device (PC/Mac), convert the AA/AAX file to mp3, and transfer it to your player.
So, to conclude, if we exclude iPhones and Android phones/tablets, you will get full compatibility and the ability to use the app, only when using iPod Touch.
SanDisk and Creative mp3 players are Audible-ready, but they don’t support the app – you have to download the book to your PC and use the AudibleSync app to transfer files to your player.
If you are not interested in workarounds and conversions, the list of compatible devices ends here and you can consider all the other devices incompatible with Audible. However, it may be possible to install and use the Audible app on some Android-based digital audio players even though they are not recognized by Audible as Audible-compatible players.
Apple Players Compatible with Audible
As mentioned, our top choice when it comes to mp3 players compatible with Audible is the iPod Touch. It’s compatible with the Audible app, you can stream audiobooks from a cloud, you can download audiobooks, listen to them offline, and you will get flawless performance.
Best Overall – iPod Touch
As far as iPod Nano and iPod Classic are concerned, they can both play Audible audiobooks, but you cannot install the Audible app. Instead, you have to download the book to your Mac/PC and then use iTunes to sync your iPod and transfer books. You should also have in mind that those iPods have file size limits and they may not play very long audio files. So, if an audiobook is longer than 20h, download it in multiple parts.
Best Alternative 1 – iPod Nano
Best Alternative 2 – iPod Classic
MP3 Players Compatible with Audible Through the AudibleSync App (Audible-Ready MP3 Players)
As discussed, you can’t install the Audible app onto these players but they are recognized by the Audible as Audible-ready. What you need is a PC running on Windows 10 and the AudibleSync app. You are supposed to download books to your PC and transfer them to your mp3 player via AudibleSync. The following mp3 players and devices for the visually impaired are our top picks.
Best Audible-Ready MP3 Player Under $30 – SanDisk Clip Jam
Best Substitute for iPod Touch – Creative ZEN Vision:M
The Smallest – SanDisk Sansa Clip+
Best for Visually Impaired 1 – Bones Milestone 312
Best for Visually Impaired 2 – Victor Reader Stream
If you are not interested in workarounds and don’t want to deal with players that are just maybe compatible or partially compatible, you should stop reading now. The following players are not recognized by Audible as compatible or Audible-ready devices.
Android-Based MP3 Players Compatible with Audible
As discussed, Android-based DAPs may be compatible with the Audible app but most of them are not. The reason is simple – they usually use closed Android OS and the number and type of apps you are allowed to install is limited. In most cases, you can’t even access the Google Play Store and download anything you want.
The following players are, according to the customers’ reports and/or manufacturers’ claims, compatible with Audible.
Best DAP Under $500 – FiiO M11
Best DAP Under $1,000 – ONKYO DP-X1A
How to Play Audible Audiobooks on Other MP3 Players
Other cheap and affordable mp3 players as well as high-end DAPs running on their own OS (not Android-based) are technically incompatible with Audible. They don’t support the Audible app and can’t play Audible audio files (AA/AAX files). If you have one of those players, your only option is to download Audible audiobooks to a compatible device (like a PC or Mac) and then use some of the available Audible-to-MP3 converters to turn AA/AAX files into MP3 files and then transfer those files to your player. So, even though, they are not compatible with Audible, there are some relatively simple workarounds.
However, none of these workarounds are actually legal. Every conversion from AA/AAX to MP3 includes bypassing/removing DRM (Digital Rights Management), which is considered a felony in the US. Some would argue that it’s not illegal if you’re not distributing the content (if it’s for personal use only), but we still can’t recommend using these tools.
This was, more or less, everything you should know about mp3 players compatible with Audible. If there’re some unanswered questions, check out the FAQ section or leave a comment below.
Q: Does Audible work on mp3 players?
A: The only player that’s fully compatible with Audible is iPod Touch. Other players can play Audible audiobooks from iTunes (iPod Nano and iPod Classic) or are considered Audible-ready (SanDisk mp3 players, Creative mp3 players, and some devices for the visually impaired). Some Android-based digital audio players may allow you to download, install, and use the app. Other mp3 players and DAPs can be considered incompatible with Audible. There are ways to convert audiobooks downloaded from Audible to mp3 files, but they can’t be considered legal.
Q: What to look for when buying an mp3 player for Audible?
A: Well, the first thing to pay attention to is always compatibility. If you already know that the device you want to buy is compatible with Audible, you should check the storage capacity (it should as big as possible), battery life (as long as possible), and file type support (it’s always better if an mp3 player supports a wide variety of audio formats). Another great feature for an mp3 player for Audible is the bookmarking feature – the device should be able to remember where you left off.
Q: What devices can play Audible books?
A: Aside from mp3 players we’ve talked about, Audible books can be played on any computer (PC/Mac), on Kindle devices and Fire readers, Alexa-enabled devices, SONOS speakers, Fire TV, all kinds of smartphones (Android or iOS), and all kinds of tablets (iPad, Android, Windows).
Q: Is audible free with Amazon Prime?
A: No, Amazon Prime doesn’t include free Audible membership and requires a separate subscription. You may get bigger discounts with Amazon Prime, but that’s all you get.
Q: How can I listen to audiobooks without Wi-Fi?
A: Any book that you purchase through Audible can be downloaded in AA or AAX audio format and you can listen to it offline. However, you have to use a device that’s compatible with the Audible app.
Q: Is there a free version of audible?
A: No, Audible is a subscription-based platform. You can make an account for free and you don’t have to pay for the subscription but you have to pay for the books. Naturally, the books are pricier if you are not subscribed.
Q: Can I listen to Audible without a subscription?
A: You can choose not to pay for the subscription and just make a free account, but you have to pay for the audiobooks, and the prices are usually higher if you are not subscribed.
Q: Can you still listen to Audible books after canceling membership?
A: Yes, you can listen to audiobooks you purchased from Audible, even if you cancel the membership.
Q: Is Audible really worth it?
A: Well, it depends. If you like reading and listening to audiobooks on the go, Audible membership is most definitely worth it and it’s cheaper than buying books, e-books, and audiobooks on other platforms. If you are not a fan of books in any format, why are you still reading this?
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.