Best 9 Audiobook Services for 2021 Free & Paid Apps
Wondering which audiobook service is the best? In our comparison review, you will learn which website has a better variety and quality of audiobooks, and which one has a better price, which comes with an unlimitaded subscription, and which one offers a credit system. Before you make any decicion, compare audiobook libraries and key feautures of each platform, and choose the service that best suits your needs.
Audiobooks are one of the easiest ways to cultivate a consistent reading habit. Don't get me wrong, I love reading a physical book, but between work and family, I often struggle to find time for that. And that is why I often choose audiobooks. You can literally listen to audiobooks anywhere, be it on your commute, on a vacation, or even in the shower. Audiobooks give you the opportunity to fully and productively manage every second of your day.
Listening to audiobooks is simple, all you need is a subscription to an audiobook platform that will give you access to the best audiobooks out there. There are a lot of audiobook services available today and each one has its own pros and cons, which makes choosing the best one a time-consuming and difficult task. I hope that this review of the best audiobook service in 2021 will help you make this choice easier.
Best Audiobook Service:
1. Audible - Best quality and veriety audiobook service
Audible is, undoubtedly, the largest and most popular audiobook service as of 2021. Its library contains over 200,000 different book titles in every thinkable category. The service is a subsidiary of Amazon which explains its sheer size. When it comes to audiobooks, Audible offers you a lot of options and features. You can either buy, stream, or rent audiobooks. Plus, you have the option to download your preferred audiobooks so that you can listen to them offline.
Things I love about Audible:
- Audible comes with a free 30-day trial to help you get started. The free trial comes with two audiobooks and two Audible Originals.
- You get two Audible Originals every month as a bonus.
- Every member gets 30% off all audiobooks.
- All Audible books are yours to keep even if you decide to cancel your membership.
- Audible has a live sync feature that tracks progress. That means that the next time you resume listening to your book, you would just have to press "Play" and resume listening from where you left off.
- You can return and exchange any audiobook if you didn't like.
Things I don't like about Audible:
- The basic subscription plan costs $14,95 a month and includes only one audiobook, which is not enough for some people.
2. Scribd: Best value & best unlimited audiobook subscription
Scribd is another excellent audiobook platform. It may not be as popular as Audible but it certainly gives Audible a run for its money. When Scribd was first launched, its initial focus was on e-books. However, today Scribd users get unlimited access not only to thousands of e-books, but also to audiobooks, magazines, and sheet music. You can use Scribd on your browser or download an app and use it on your mobile device. Scribd gives its users an option to download audiobooks for offline listening and streaming when on the go.
Things I love about Scribd:
- Scribd offers a free 30-day trial (Read the full Scribd review and my experience with it here) which gives you premium access to all audiobooks, e-books, magazines, and sheet music from their library.
- Scribd monthly cost is just $8,99. And yes, for that price you get unlimited access to all audiobooks, e-books, magazines, and sheet music.
- Possible to download books and listen to them offline.
- A "sleep timer" feature that lets you a set time when the audiobook should stop playing.
- Scribd allows its users to use the service on multiple devices. Here is a comparrison of Audible VS Scribd
3. Audiobooks.com: top service with good quality
Another one of my favorite top audiobook subscription services is Audiobooks.com. It was launched back in 2011. The platform is similar to Audible in many ways, but I believe that it has its own advantages and unique features. The service can be used through a web browser or mobile app on a number of devices. Audiobooks.com has a very extensive library, almost as big as Audible.
Things I love about Audiobooks.com:
- Just like Audible and Scribd, Audiobooks.com comes with a free 30-day trial. If you decide to sign up for a trial, you will get one free audiobook plus one audiobook from their VIP section as a bonus.
- You get one audiobook from the Audiobooks.com curated VIP section every month at no extra cost.
- Audiobooks.com gives its members access to a podcast section that features over 70,000 podcasts.
- You get to keep all the audiobooks you purchased even if you cancel your subscription.
- Every audiobook comes with a 3-minute preview that you can listen to before you purchase it.
Things I don't like about Audiobooks.com:
- Their basic subscription plan is $14.95 a month and it gives you access to just one book (plus one book from the VIP section, as mentioned above).
4. Playster.com: cheapest and most flexible audiobook website
Playster is a great platform for streaming audiobooks and other media like games, movies, and TV shows. It is often referred to as the "Netflix for Everything". If you are looking for a platform that will give you unlimited access to all the media at a very low price, then Playster might be perfect for you. Their unlimited plans are truly unlimited. Playster has an amazing collection of over 100,000 audiobooks and once you pay the $14,95/month subscription fee, you can stream or download any audiobook of your choice.
Things I love about Playster:
-The Playster free 30-day trial gives you unlimited access to Playster library and allows you to enjoy all e-books, music, movies, TV shows, and games, plus listen to extended audiobook excerpts (each one usually lasts several hours).
- You can use save all of your favorite music, e-books, audiobooks, TV shows, and movies to your mobile device, and stream them anytime even when you are offline.
- For just $34,95 a month you can purchase the Playster Unlimited Standard plan that includes unlimited access to audiobooks, e-books, music, TV shows, movies, games, etc.
- Playster is always ad-free.
- Possible to customize playback speed.
Things I don't like about Playster:
- To get unlimited access to all of the newest titles on the day of the release, you need to have a subscription to a Premium plan which costs $29.95 per month.
- If you decide to cancel your membership, you won't be able to keep any of the titles you downloaded.
5. Librivox: best free audiobook service
Last, but not least, I want to talk about LibriVox, a great audiobook streaming and download platform that comes with hundreds of audiobooks across many categories including fiction, non-fiction, educational, and motivational. LibriVox is the only service on this list that will let you listen to an amazing collection of books without forking out a single cent. All audiobooks on LibriVox are in the public domain. These books are read by volunteers which makes them completely free. You can listen to LibriVox audiobooks on your computer, iPod, or mobile devices. If you fancy classics, then LibriVox should be one of your primary destinations. LibriVox also gives you the opportunity to volunteer through reading public domain books so other people can listen. A great way to give back.
Things I love about LibriVox:
- LibriVox audiobooks are free for anyone to listen to.
- Each audiobook has a summary and comes with a sample reading.
- Features many classic books.
Things I don't like about LibriVox:
- Compared to other audiobook services, LibriVox has a much smaller collection of audiobooks in its library.
- Audiobooks are not professionally recorded, and the quality is often quite low.
Read Full LibriVox review HERE
To conclude this IMHO Review of the 5 best audiobook services, I want to say that there are many other good platforms including AudiobooksNow, Kobo, Librophile, Simplyaudiobooks. It can be quite challenging to choose among the best audiobook services since each one has its own unique features. The good news is that pretty much every platform comes with a free 30-day trial and you don't have to spend any money before you find the one that suits your needs the best.
The Kobo app is a free app from a Canadian company that allows you to read books from a collection of more than 5 million titles for a paid subscription fee.
Things I love about Kobo:
You can borrow library books for free through Overdrive.
It is integrated with Pocket, enabling you to read longer articles you saved in your account while you were using your desktop computer.
Your first audiobook is free.
You have access to millions of audiobooks and eBooks right away.
The paid subscription fee costs $9.99 a month, which is less expensive than other platforms, such as Audible.
You can buy extra credits each month.
The app provides custom recommendations based on the books you have read.
There are book previews and reviews to help you choose your next book.
The app automatically synchronizes your bookmarks between your devices so that you never lose your place and you can switch back and forth as much as you would like.
Things I don't like about Kobo:
It is difficult to figure out where you are in the book—although Kobo keeps track of chapters, it counts portions of the book that are not actually chapters, making the chapter count inaccurate.
The narrator often might change in the middle of a chapter, which is something you would see on a page, but it is not included in the app, making it jarring for the reader.
There might be a bit of a lag when you want to turn the page.
Hoopla is a free app that connects to your local library account, allowing you to instantly borrow somewhere between 10 and 20 titles a month, depending on your library.
Things I love about Hoopla:
Hoopla not only includes audiobooks, but also eBooks, music albums, comics, TV shows and movies.
You can borrow titles from your library instantly, instead of having to place holds and wait for weeks or months as you do in similar apps such as Overdrive.
You can use the app on your phone or borrow and stream a movie or audiobook from the browser of your laptop.
The catalog in the app is easy to use and well-organized.
You can keep audiobooks for three weeks, and movies for approximately three days.
There is a wide selection, with more than 500,000 titles available, and titles change fairly regularly to update the selection.
You can download an audiobook or other title to avoid streaming or using data.
The app is totally free, and there are no late fees or fines.
Things I don't like about Hoopla:
You can only borrow a certain number of titles each month, and if you do not read a title or you borrow the wrong one by accident, it still counts as one of your borrows.
You cannot highlight content in an eBook.
Certain libraries might also only allow you to borrow a certain number of titles per day of the total borrow allowance.
8. Google Audiobooks
Google’s audiobooks are priced individually, ranging from approximately $1.99 to $40 each, offering listeners the opportunity to own books from their extensive catalogue through the Google Play Books app.
Things I love about Google Audiobooks:
You can use the timer feature to automatically stop the book after a certain amount of time, which is helpful if you are listening at night and do not want to lose your place if you fall asleep.
You can increase the speed of the narrator’s voice if you feel that he or she is reading too slowly.
You can keep a book forever when you purchase it.
Your progress is synchronized across all of your devices.
It does not require a monthly subscription fee.
You do not necessarily have to download any app—you can listen solely through your browser.
Things I don't like about Google Audiobooks:
There is almost no free content.
Books are sometimes more expensive than on other digital reading websites such as Audible.
With Downpour, users can purchase or rent individual titles or pay for a subscription.
Things I love about Downpour:
You can save titles you would like to listen to in a wishlist.
You can adjust the speed of the narration.
It has a sleep timer setting so that you can set it to stop at a certain time.
You can rent titles as cheaply as $1.99, and they do not use up your monthly credit allowance if you have a subscription.
Rentals are good for a month or two months, and you can rent for even longer if you pay a bit extra.
You can purchase additional credits each month.
Downpour credits last for a year, which means that if you go a few months without using any, you can save them up.
You can use Downpour through the app or in the browser on your computer.
There are 22 genre categories and hundreds of subcategories, which make it easier to find exactly the type of audiobook you are searching for.
You can read through reviews of the title right in the app.
The customer support team responds quickly and helpfully.
Things I don't like about Downpour:
The content library is smaller than other platforms, at only around 80,000 titles.
At $12.99 per month, the subscription fee is more expensive than Kobo.
You only get one credit a month with the subscription, which means whichever title you choose costs $12.99.
There are fewer search categories if you use the app as opposed to the browser version of Downpour.
You cannot return titles if you do not end up liking them.
The customer support team is not available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.