When it comes to audiobook apps, Audible is often looked at as the pinnacle of the industry. Backed by a huge library and the Amazon name, Audible is arguably the best audiobook site on the Internet. However, there are many other places to find audiobooks online, and that’s especially true for anyone looking for an alternative to Amazon. Whatever your reasons, here are some of the best Audible alternatives you can get started with today.
Did you know you can borrow audiobooks from your local library? For anyone with a library card hanging around, OverDrive and its companion app, Libby, are great ways to listen to popular audiobooks for free. As one would expect with a library, there are limited “copies” of each audiobook, so you may have to wait for someone else to check their “copy” back in. The other caveat is that your local library has to have the book as part of its collection.
Available in over 40 countries, both services are essentially free, since taxes cover most of your library’s costs. Both the websites and apps are pleasant enough to use and navigate and finding books in a variety of categories is easily done. Students can even take advantage of the audiobook experience from their library with another OverDrive child app called Sora. Likewise, it also offers an easy-to-navigate interface that even small children can use.
Scribd is best known for its print material but also offers a great audiobook experience. While Scribd doesn’t note just how many books are available in its audiobook collection, online estimates have suggested around 40,000 in total. That includes a list of popular titles chosen by celebrities like Reese Witherspoon and best-selling titles written by Pulitzer Prize winners. Both the website and the available apps on iOS and Android make it easy to search, discover and download for offline listening.
Every title in the collection is included in Scribd’s $9.99 monthly plan, which also includes ebooks and documents available across the entire Scribd site. You can cancel any time without penalty, and there is a 30-day trial to get started to make sure it’s the right service for you.
Similar to OverDrive, Hoopla enables you to check out audiobooks from different libraries. Upon authentication of your library membership (using a library card), you get complete access to the service’s audiobook collection. There’s no charge for the service, and you can listen to them on iOS, Android, Amazon, Roku, etc. The interface is easy to navigate and breaks down its collections into Popular, Featured, New York Times bestsellers and more.
Parents will love the kids collection with topics that center around various holidays throughout the year or well-known titles like Harry Potter. What it lacks in customization, Hoopla more than makes up for with one of the largest platforms for listening and a price tag that cannot be beat.
4. Apple Books
If you’re already deep into the Apple ecosystem, it makes a ton of sense to look at their audiobook options. Available in their “Books” app across macOS, iOS and iPadOS, there are a ton of book options available. Best of all, these lists not only include bestsellers, new or trending books but also deals. Immediately upon opening the app, Apple highlights some of its best limited-time offers, including audiobooks under $5. Separately, if you need something new to read, Apple does a great job of recommending audiobooks based on your past reading habits.
Unlike Audible, which focuses heavily on its subscription service, Apple’s audiobooks are individually priced, and you keep them forever. As is the case with most Apple services, the Books app is clean and easy to navigate without any extraneous info or details to distract.
5. Google Play Books
Similar to Apple, Google also offers its own bookstore experience. There are numerous similarities between the two competitors, including recommendations based on previous reading habits. One bonus for Google Play Books is how quickly it highlights free audiobook options in both fiction and nonfiction categories. Google’s offering isn’t as friendly to navigate as Apple, but it’s still easy to use.
Scroll through and you will see a variety of categories for self-help, business and investing, science and technology, science fiction, comedy and more. The introduction of specific categories is great and helps even new users properly navigate Google’s store. Best of all, each category starts with deals and price cuts to help attract impulse purchases. Like Apple, any audiobook purchase through Google is a one-time fee and you own the book indefinitely.
Adding more than 50,000 audiobooks to the mix, LibriVox is a great Audible alternative that heavily focuses on books available in the public domain. The good news is that part of the 50,000 book volume are fantastic reads across bestsellers, history, biographies, poetry and short stories. What it lacks in bestsellers, it makes up with some of the greatest novels available in audiobook format.
Discovering audiobooks is easily done through the search tool at the top of the page, or you can jump directly into the catalog for more specific search functions. Additionally, the site lists all of the latest releases, so you can quickly see what’s new and of interest.
There are iOS and Android apps available for listening on the go, and they work well enough for both new and advanced users. This is really a great site for anyone who loves the classics and would prefer not to pay for any audiobooks.
Audiobooks have increased in popularity dramatically over the last few years, and the above list of Audible alternatives will serve you well. If you prefer to read rather than listening, check out some of the best ebook readers for Android here.