Best 9 Audiobook Services for 2023 Free & Paid Apps
Wondering which audiobook service is the best? From 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 unlimited subscription, and which one offers a credit system. Before you make any decision, compare audiobook libraries and key features 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 variety audiobook service
Audible is, undoubtedly, the largest and most popular audiobook service as of 2022. 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 includes 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. Blinkist: Good non-fiction audiobook website
Blinkest is different from other audiobook services on our list because its library consists of only non-fiction titles. It is a good choice for people who are want to focus on self-development and learning, but if you are looking for non-fiction content, then it's better to go with one of the other sites mentioned in this article. Another thing that makes Blinkist unique is that the content of each audiobook is condensed into bite-sized chunks, leaving only the most important things.
Things I love about Blinkist
Blinkist offers a 7-day free trial for anyone who wants to try the platform.
Blinkist Premium plan includes unlimited access to over 5,000 non-fiction titles that can be downloaded for offline learning.
Most audiobooks end up being just 20 minutes long so if you don't have a lot of time on your hands, then this is a good option.
Thousands of non-fiction books on a variety of topics from parenting, wildlife, and economics to health, relationships, and psychology.
It's cheap! The annual plan costs $89,99 per year or $7,49 per month.
Things I don't like about Blinkist
There are no fiction books available.
3. Scribd: Best value for 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 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 full Scribd review) which gives you premium access to all audiobooks, e-books, magazines, and sheet music from their library.
Scribd monthly cost is just $9,99. And yes, for that price you get access to all audiobooks, e-books, magazines, and sheet music.
It is 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.
Things I don't like about Scribd
You don't get to keep any audiobooks or e-books if you cancel your subscription.
Check out our article on Best 6 Audiobooks of All Time To listen on the Commute
4. Audiobooks.com: Top service and superb quality
Another one of my favorite audiobook subscription services is Audiobooks.com which 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 the 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
The 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).
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
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 catalog 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.
To conclude this IMHO Reviews of the 9 best audiobook services, I want to say that there are many other good platforms including AudiobooksNow, Librophile, Simplyaudiobooks, and other. 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 many platforms come 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.