7 Best Audiobook Services for 2022
Updated: August 02,2022
Okay, I’m gonna risk the wrath of bookworms all around the world, but I’m gonna say it - listening to audiobooks is easier.
We all have busy schedules and need to multitask, so that’s the logical way to enjoy a good story.
Still with me? Okay, good.
So, what is the best audiobook service on the market?
We looked at all the top options out there and singled out the very best among these services.
Some of the most important things we looked at include:
- LIbrary size
- Genres available
- App features
- Pricing plans
- Free trial
- And more
With that said, let’s check out our seven best audiobook services at the moment.
Biggest audiobook library
You keep your books
Discounts for Prime members
Audible is the most recognizable audiobook service around. It’s owned by Amazon, the gargantuan in the ecommerce industry, which started as an online seller of books. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Audible has one of the most extensive audiobook libraries available, packing over 425,000 titles.
With an impressive array of celebrity narrators and tons of extra features, it’s the best place for audiobooks you’ll be able to find.
The app, available on Android and iOS, offers a perfect mix of simplicity and functionality, which takes your overall audiobook experience to the next level. It has handy narration speed and sleep timer options you can modify to your liking. You can even save any place in the audiobook and add notes for later.
A convenient car mode allows hands-free listening and avoids distractions while driving.
One of the things users love about Audible the most is the option to return or exchange a title if you’re unhappy with the one you just bought. Also, when you buy a copy, it’s yours forever, even if you’re just a free trial user.
There are incentives for Amazon Prime members to join. For example, you usually get some free books when signing up. Also, there are regular discounted membership deals.
Another perk - you can send audiobooks you’ve liked to your friends and family for free, provided they don’t have a membership yet.
Considering it’s often viewed as the best platform for audiobooks, it’s not a surprise that Audible plans are somewhat expensive. You can choose between:
- Audible Plus - $7.95/month
- Audible Premium Plus - $14.95/month
Both deals include a free 30-day trial.
The Plus plan offers access to a selection of originals, audiobooks, sleep tracks, podcasts, and meditation programs. In the Premium Plus plan, you get all that plus one title per month from an extended list of best sellers and new releases that you get to keep forever.
Unlimited audiobook access
Easy to use
Scribd is one of the few companies that offer unlimited streaming of audiobooks through their apps. This means that there isn’t a credit-based system where you can pick up titles you’re interested in. Instead, when you sign up at Scribd, you can consume as much material as you want.
The library it offers isn’t the best on the market, but is quite satisfying. Besides the classics, you get some new releases to listen to. However, most bestsellers aren’t available on Scribd. That’s natural since you’ll almost never get those with an unlimited audiobook subscription.
In addition, Scribd users get some valuable non-audio files such as magazines and newspapers. You can access a huge collection of all kinds of articles, all included in your monthly plan.
The app looks nice, with a standard audio player. The sleep timer function works really well, and it even adds “custom” and “end of chapter” options that you don’t get with other services. The playback speed feature includes all typical options up to 2x.
Like with most other services, Scribd works on Android and iOS devices.
At only $8.99/month, subscribing to Scribd is a great way to access inexpensive audiobooks. This is especially the case when you consider that you get to play all titles in the service’s library at this cost.
Also, the first 30 days of your subscription function as a free trial. If you don’t cancel it, you’ll be charged for the next month.
Nice two-credit deal
Audiobooks.com is your most standard service, built similarly to Audible. In fact, when you first glance at the two, you’ll see very few differences.
This platform follows the same credit-based system that became the industry standard. However, it offers two audiobook credits in the basic subscription, which is double what you get with Audible.
Not all credits are the same, though. You can use one to access any audiobook from the service’s library, while the other one only works with titles from the VIP section. There, you can find some modern titles but very few bestsellers. Audiobooks.com also has a completely free library consisting of over 8,000 lesser titles and niche books.
Considering that you get more in the deal, many view it as the best audiobooks destination other than Audible. For a long time, it had a by far inferior library to the popular Amazon platform, but it managed to grow it to very respectable 350,000+ titles.
The app follows all industry standards in terms of design, coming with its own audio player. It has handy 30-second fast-forward and reverse buttons. It also offers a sleep timer and playback speed option. It’s available on both Android and iOS.
One of the things users love the most about Audiobooks.com are recommendations. Rather than just listing random titles, the platform actually suggests audiobooks you might be interested in. Many users claim they absolutely loved recommendations the app gave them.
At $14.95/month, you get access to two books per month, which is more than what you get with some other audiobook memberships. If you’re not bought into Amazon, it’s a great Audible alternative. It also has a 30-day free trial, which includes three books. After that, Audiobooks.com charges you for the first month.
Credits don’t expire
With some services, you may lose audiobook credit if you don’t use it on time. With Downpour, you can stack it and only use it when you have time to listen to audiobooks.
This service is another one that uses a credit-based system, but is aimed at more casual listeners. You get one credit each month, which is just enough for most people falling under this category.
Also, Downpour is one of the best audiobooks rental apps out there. If you plan to listen to an audiobook only once, you don’t have to waste credits on it. Instead, you can simply listen to it once at a discount price. The rental option exists outside the main subscription, so it doesn’t have anything to do with your monthly credit.
The library isn’t as extensive as it is with some of the more popular options. However, it includes popular titles, and it only lacks some of the bestsellers.
Its parent company Blackstone Audio started as a provider of books in the form of CDs and MP3s. So, it’s no wonder its content is still DRM (Digital Rights Management) free, allowing you to burn it on CDs or copy it to USB flash drives.
The Downpour app is one of the more simplistic. However, it features all options you generally need with such apps including sleep timer, adjustable jump time, and playback speed.
The service isn’t necessarily aimed at someone who cares a lot about buying audiobooks. Instead, you have your monthly subscription which costs $12.99/month and provides one title. It also has some of the best audiobook rental deals available.
Downpour doesn’t offer a free trial, but you do get one free audiobook when you first sign up.
PC app available
Credit doesn’t expire
Rakuten’s digital reading platform Kobo gained popularity for its ebooks, but it also entered the audiobook scene relatively recently. It quickly joined the top audiobook companies on the market.
Like with many other services, users get one credit per month, which is what the majority of audiobooks cost. If you need more, you can always purchase additional credit. None of your credits ever expire, allowing you to stack them for holidays and vacations.
The library is quite extensive, but keep in mind that not all content is available to users in some countries. Titles available include both fiction and non-fiction.
Besides its Android and iOS apps, Kobo has a desktop app which is available on both Windows and Mac. It also has one of the best audiobook sites you’ll come across. When purchasing audiobooks, you have to find them through your PC.
The Kobo subscription is available at $9.99, which puts it among the cheapest audiobook service providers out there. In case you cancel your account, any credits you have will remain yours for the next six months.
Kobo also offers a generous 30-day free trial. Unless you cancel the subscription before it expires, you’ll be charged for the next month.
If you don’t want to burn through all your savings for your audiobook subscription, LibriVox is the platform for you. Unlike many other places, that’s where you can find entirely free audiobooks to download and listen to.
Of course, this means the service only has public domain audiobooks in its library, but it’s an extensive list of titles to browse. It’s mostly made up of non-fiction books and centuries-old works. It’s everything you’d expect to get from a free audiobook service.
Volunteers from around the world work together to ensure the service has new titles to offer.
Unlike with some other services, you don’t stream audio files but you download them. Most of them come as downloadable audio MP3 files taking up about 250MB of space. So, if you’re looking for classics from Kipling or Verne and you want digital/downloadable audiobooks, LibriVox is the place to be.
With files arriving in MP3 format, you can play them in any music program you usually use. LibriVox also has its own app which is available on Android and iOS.
Since all recordings are open source, it’s natural to expect that not all of them are the highest quality.
How To Choose the Right Platform
So, how do you decide what’s the best audiobook company for you to turn to?
Let’s look at the key things to pay attention to:
Probably the first thing you may want to consider when signing up for an audiobook service is how many titles it offers.
Audible is the absolute king when it comes to library size with its 425,000 titles. However, some other services have been growing their databases and also offer hundreds of thousands of audiobooks.
It’s not only about how many titles a service offers, it’s also about what you can get.
Some platforms specialize in certain niches, meaning that they’re not necessarily the best option for every user out there.
For example, Audible has the majority of the highest-rated audiobooks, including the most popular titles at the moment. At the same time, services such as Blinkist focus on non-fiction, making them a more suitable option for students or anyone doing some kind of research.
Also, consider this when you're choosing between several services - do they have an app? Is it available for the devices you usually use?
You don't want listening to audiobooks to become a chore, so the easier you can make it, the better.
The good news is that the majority of top audiobook options work on all mobile devices. So, whether you have an Android or iOS, you should be able to run them. They also often offer PC apps you can use.
Those without an app require you to download the file and transfer it to your device. While this requires some technical know-how on your part, it’s nothing most users shouldn’t be able to handle.
Apps also offer an array of features that can help you have a better overall listening experience. Usually, they have customizable reverse and fast forward buttons that ensure you can quickly skip between different scenes.
With listening to the human voice is one of the most effective techniques to put yourself to sleep, many users need a sleep timer.
Audible even has a car mode for those who enjoy listening to audiobooks while driving.
If you want the best audiobook subscription for you, it also has to fit into your budget. Top services range from entirely free to monthly credit you can spend on bestsellers and other popular titles.
Some platforms, such as Scribd, even offer unlimited access to their libraries as long as you have a monthly plan. They usually lack the latest and most popular titles, though.
The free trial available in the deal is another thing to consider as it’s usually the best way to test the platform before subscribing. Most of the top platforms offer it, but you have to leave credit card info when signing up for it. Then, you can cancel your subscription before the company charges you for the first time.
There you have it:
Now you’re familiar with the best options on your market. Finding the right audiobook subscription service shouldn’t be tough, no matter how niche your taste in literature is.
So, what’s the next title on your to-listen list?
What is the cheapest way to listen to audiobooks?
LibriVox is free! It offers a public domain library with classics and non-fiction audiobooks. If you want a cheap audiobook subscription with newer titles, you can join Kobo for $9.99.
Which audiobook service is the best?
Audible, owned by Amazon, is the best audiobook service you can opt for. It has the largest audiobook library with over 425,000 titles.
Is Audible free for Prime members?
No, Prime membership doesn’t include Audible. You need to sign up for Audible Plus or Audible Premium Plus subscription. Prime members do, however, get certain perks compared to other users.
How can I listen to unlimited audiobooks?
Only some audiobook services offer access to unlimited audiobooks. Scribd has the best such deal on the market.
Is there a Netflix for audiobooks?
Netflix doesn’t offer audiobooks but if you want a similar service, Scribd is the closest thing. It’s the best audiobook service if you want unlimited access to a library of audiobooks.
Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.
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