Can you really read books on Audible? Seamless Switching with Whispersync

10 min Read
Published: 
June 28, 2021

Last week, one of our readers asked an interesting question:

Can you read books on Audible?

Unfortunately, you cannot read books on the Audible, but you can listen whilst reading on Kindle by using Whispersync, and I’ll show you how to set this up.

Whispersync for Voice was introduced a couple of years ago by Amazon to allow you to switch effortlessly between reading and listening using Kindle. You can even read along while the narrator speaks.

One slight caveat with Whispersync is that you must own both audio version and ebook to take advantage of this option. This can be expensive, but later I’ll show you how to get the Audible version for half the price of the regular Audible subscription.

Before I begin, it’s important to know that not all Amazon ebooks are compatible with Whispersync. So how can you tell which books have Whispersync?

Which books have Whispersync

You can check which ebooks have Whispersync in two ways;

1. The simplest way is to check if the book has an Add Audible Narration option. You can find this under the Buy Now button on the kindle books page. This confirms that the ebook is compatible with Whispersync.

can you read books on audible

2. Alternatively, you can scroll down to the Kindle books Product Details and make sure that the book has the option for Text-to-Speech. If this is enabled, you should also find the Add Audible Narration check box at the top of the page next to the purchase button.

Just be sure to purchase Audible Narration before to attempt to sync both Kindle book and narration, otherwise you may be disappointed.

But I’ve Already Purchased the Ebook?

If you have already purchased the ebook but did not include Audible narration at the time of purchase, don’t worry. You can still go back to the books Amazon page, select kindle ebook, check Add Audible Narration, and complete your purchase.

Sync reading books on Audible

For those of you that have purchased both Kindle book and audible narration, to read along whilst the narrator speaks, follow the tutorial below:

  1. Open the Kindle App.
  2. Select the book from your library.
  3. Tap on the page to open the top menu.
  4. Select Switch to Listening.
  5. Tap on the download audio icon.

Once complete, select the Play Arrow icon to start and tap on the read text icon to view the text whilst listening.

Sections of the sentence should be highlighted while the narrator speaks, making it easier to follow along.

To find out more check out our Definitive Guide to Whispersync, it includes a step-by-step of all the features available and how to sync your device.

Audiobooks for a fraction of the cost

Some of you money savvy readers may have noticed something about one of the screenshots above.

Adding audible narration for this book is half the price for an Audible credit. So, you have the option to follow along to the narrator for a fraction of the cost of an audiobook.

I will preface that not all Audible Narration prices are this cheap and will vary from one kindle book to another. In some cases the price could be the same if not more than Audible subscription. But either way it’s good to know that you can get this much cheaper and check the narration version before purchasing on Audible.

Switching between listening and Reading on Audible

There are times where I just cannot be bothered to read (this is generally late into the evening) and switch to just listening

An alternative way to do this is to switch between the Kindle app and Audible.

If you sync both apps you can in effect close one app down, open the other and continue from where you left off. This allows you to jump back-and-forth and keep your place in the book.

Again, if you have purchased the audible narration version of the Kindle book, you should find this within your Audible library, if not then I would suggest trying to sync your devices again until you do.

Can you read books on Audible: FAQ

Do Audible books come with text?

Audible books on their own do not include text, but when purchased along with Amazon Audible Narration you can read the text of the audiobook at the same time.

Can you read and listen to books at the same time?

You can listen and read to books at the same time using text-to-speech software tools such as Amazon’s Whispersync. This enables you to follow along reading whilst the narrator reads aloud.

Can you see pages on Audible?

You cannot view the page on a book on Audible. However, you can listen to the audio narration whilst reading using Whispersync for voice. This allows you to do both simultaneously within the Kindle app.

Summary

Although you can’t read books on audible you can listen to the narrator of a book using the Kindle app.

Whispersync allows you read along whilst the narrator speaks and highlights the sentence being read aloud to help you follow along.

Even though it may sound expensive to purchase both the audiobook and audio narration, in some cases where a Kindle book is on offer, it can be cheaper to purchase both ebook and add audible narration than on Audible, so it’s worth hunting round for a bargain.

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