Regional Restrictions on Audiobooks from Audible

I like to read, and I like podcasts, so Audible seems like a natural fit for me. It seems to be well priced, it uses platforms I already own (an Amazon account and an iPhone), and it aligns with my desire to read (or listen) to more books in 2015.

I certainly have plenty of listening time available to me each week. I spend at least 40 minutes in the car each week day, I clean up the kitchen and do the dishes a few nights per week, there’s laundry on weekends… all up I could easily spend 8 hours each week listening to audio content. Even when you subtracted  a few hours for the very best of those podcasts I already listen to, it leaves enough listening time for a typical audiobook.

So at $14.95 per month to listen to one book, why not give it a try. After all I’ve been hearing how great Audible is for years, they sponsor many podcasts that I already listen to and the reviews have been nothing but positive.

I had a long drive ahead of me to head up the coast for the weekend. What better time to start and Audible trial?

So I signed up, pondered the selection of books available, and finally chose Zero to One. I did this on my PC at work, because every attempt I had made to search for books in the iPhone app had returned zero results. In fact, searching on the website had been unreliable as well. But anyway, I chose my book and proceeded to checkout.

Then this happened.


Regional restrictions? Why tell me about them now, at the last possible step of checkout. I’ve been an Amazon customer for years, I’m using my Amazon account on Audible, why not warn me about this before I try to check out? Why show me content I can’t buy?

In fact, why even restrict me at all? I can buy the physical book and Kindle version from Amazon, but not the audiobook? What year is this?

It was at this point I realised that an Australian site,, also existed. So I went there instead. It’s the same Audible, just tailored for this region. And with fewer titles available.

And really none of the titles I’d considered buying up until that moment.

According to Audible:

When publishers decide to publish a work, they acquire the rights to distribute that title in certain parts of the world (or region). Sometimes they buy “world rights”, but frequently the rights for a book are split among several companies, each of whom publish for certain countries. As a distributor, we need to abide by the restrictions that publishers assume when they publish a work.

I don’t blame Audible for this. Publishers may have some valid reason for region-specific distribution deals, but they’ve got rocks in their heads if they think blocking entire markets is a good idea.

Anyway, I don’t get to listen to the book, Peter and Blake miss out on an audiobook sale (which isn’t going to even show up on their radar), and Audible has a customer more likely to cancel in the near future due to lack of choice than continue with a monthly subscription.

The old way of doing things continues, and nobody wins.

By Paul Cunningham

Paul is a writer and entrepreneur living in Brisbane, Australia. He enjoys spending time with his family and running in the mountains. Paul was the founder of Practical 365, a former Microsoft MVP, and Pluralsight trainer. Paul is also on Twitter and Instagram.


  1. I have this problem in Canada — many of the books I’d like are available on Audible’s UK and USA sites, but not , the Canadian site. The converse may be true as well, I suppose. It’s just a question of Audible paying the licence fee to the copyright holder for the region in question. However, there is some hope that Audible will respond to member concerns about this. I contacted Audible earlier this year and pressed them to put the early novels of Evelyn Waugh onto their Canadian site (Decline and Fall, etc). Other members may have done so as well — I see that the books have now appeared on the Canadian site.

    1. Richard’s comment makes no sense. Audible does not have a separate regionally specific Canadian site. “Audible.Ca” simply does not exist. Canadians have to sign-up with Audible.COM and pay in USD. No Canadian Dollar option exists. Damn trolls.

      1. This is actually true. I am in Canada and cannot access a CANADIAN author, Peter Behrens’ book “The Law of Dreams” in audiobook. It is accessible on but when I try to buy it, it says it is blocked for my region. SO irritating!

  2. I realise that this is an old thread, but I just was to express frustration. I’ve listened to the first two books in a trilogy, and the THIRD is not available to Australian subscribers!
    But there is not much use getting angry. This is normal for Australians, and I don’t have much hope of it changing any time soon…

    1. Okay this is even later in time now (May 2018) but I’m finding more and more books unavailable to me.. I’m still on the site (refuse to move to the Australian one).. and I’ve got almost all the Amelia Peabody books but now they’re saying that they’re unavailable to me! Ugh.. lucky I can still listen to the ones I’ve bought but hardly any of the new ones are available.. and they don’t tell you up front.. they let you go all the way through to buy them and it will say there are no books in your cart when I’ve tried to buy one. So frustrating. I don’t know why this is getting worse, not better. I can’t buy any of the Louise Penny books (except for the one I already have).. so frustrating.

  3. Some of the restrictions are just bizarre. The Australian book Shantaram, read by Australian Humphrey Bower has nearly 8000 reviews on the US website but is unavailable in Australia. The German edition, however is available.
    It is the same with many of the Don Winslow books.
    I seriously wonder if Audible have their Australia and Austria mixed up.

  4. Try looking for ways to bypass the restrictions. If it’s possible I’ll figure it out. Just signed up for and the ONE book I wanted (whole reason I signed up) said restricted after they accepted my payment.

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