Kobo adds audiobook subscriptions undercutting Amazon’s Audible by a third

Kobo has added audiobooks to its range with a subscription scheme which undercuts Amazon’s Audible deal by 33%.

After a month’s free trial, the price of a Kobo audiobook monthly subscription is $9.99 for the US compared with $14.95 for Audible.

Kobo aims to also offer a subscription plan offering two credits a month for two audiobooks and annual subscriptions with 12 or 24 credits which can be used all at once.

The audiobooks are available to customers living in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. In the UK, the Kobo monthly charge is £6.99, which is £1 cheaper than Audible’s £7.99 a month.

Kobo subscribers keep all the audiobooks they have downloaded if they cancel their subscription. The scheme operates with a month’s free trial and then each subscriber gets one monthly credit which equals one audiobook.

Customers can also purchase Kobo audiobooks if they don’t want to join the subscription scheme but there are big savings to having a subscription. For example, The Girl on The Train audiobook by Paula Hawkins costs around $28 to buy on Kobo.com while you could get it to keep permanently for just $9.99 on a subscription.

Another example would be the audiobook of The Late Show by Michael Connelly, which is priced at around $30 to buy on Kobo — the cost of three months’ subscription.

To listen to Kobo audiobooks requires the free Kobo app on smartphones or tablets running Android v4.4 or higher or iOS v9.0 or higher.

The audiobooks cannot be played on Kobo e-readers, Kobo Arc 7, 7HD or 10HD tablets, the Kobo desktop, Kobo.com or on devices running the Kobo app on Windows or Blackberry devices.

Amazon’s Audible audiobook subscription offers a month’s free trial with two free audiobooks but after the trial the monthly fee is $14.95. That’s the fee for Audible Gold, which offers one credit a month while there is also a Platinum option which costs $22.95 a month for two credits.

Audible subscribers keep their audiobooks permanently and can also buy extra credits.

If Audible credits are not used in a month they can be rolled over to a limit of five credits a month for the Gold plan and 10 credits a month for Platinum subscribers.

Monthly subscription members can also put their account on hold for up to three months where they won’t be billed but will have access to their existing credits.

In the UK, Audible costs £3.99 for the first three months and then at the regular price of £7.99 a month.

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