Audible is Retiring One of Its Older Audiobook File Formats

Earlier this week a less than reliable blog reported that Audible was “moving to an enhanced ebook format”. Unlike that blog’s “exclusive hardware leaks”, there was actually some truth to the Audible story.

I checked with Audible, and they informed me that they sent out an email to customers this week. Actually, they sent out two, one to Windows users and another to macOS users. (The only difference was that the email to Windows users mentioned the long-abandoned Audible Manager app.)

The short version is that Audible is retiring an audiobook format. Anyone who wants to use that older format will need to download your audiobooks before the end of June. This includes anyone who owns an older device running older versions of the Audible app.

Interestingly, I read over at MobileRead that the enhanced format is actually easier to strip the DRM, and not harder as you would expect.

Here’s what Audible had to say macOS users:

Our records show that in the past, you may have downloaded your Audible titles on your Mac in an older audio format we call “format 4.” In the upcoming weeks, we will be moving all downloads to an enhanced, high-quality audio format and will no longer support format 4 downloading.

We’re excited about providing you with this higher-quality listening experience. Your Audible titles are yours to keep and will be available for you to re-download in the new, higher-quality audio format. If you prefer to listen to your Audible titles in format 4 audio, you will want to download them all to your device before we make the switch on 6/30/2020.  

If you would like to learn more about other ways to listen to Audible, like via our smartphone app for iOS and Android devices, streaming from your desktop or laptop computer, or from an Alexa-integrated device, we’re happy to talk to you more about these options.

If you run into any issues, just let us know – we’ll figure it out. We’re here for you 24/7.

image  by Johan Larsson via Flickr

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Gordon Horne28 May, 2020

    Interesting. I used to have an Audible account. I gave it up, but I still have access to the audiobooks I bought.

    I haven’t received an email.

    I wonder if I will lose access with the switch, or if the format I can access will change.

    1. Mikou30 May, 2020

      It sounds like your access should be fine and it’s only an issue if you have audiobooks that you want specifically in format 4. I do wonder how we even know what format each book is. I checked my Audible Manager for Windows and my Amazon account and I don’t see where that detail is available

      1. Nate Hoffelder30 May, 2020

        That has me stumped too.

  2. Bobbie10 December, 2020

    As a diehard zune fan and a mega audible consumer I’m pretty mad about the move. I like listening to books while I work on my house etc. and a zune hd is a lot lighter, smaller, and cheaper to replace than my phone. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a work around. At least my library uses the Overdrive app and hasn’t changed that (yet).


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