Audible Alternatives: The Best Audiobook Apps of 2022

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Storytelling began as a purely auditory art. Listening to a story can be an exciting experience. And now, thousands of years after its launch, it can save time. Audiobooks let you listen to novels, memoirs, and whatever else you love while you run errands, clean your house, or just lay back on the couch and close your eyes for a bit. Of course, they are also essential for the visually impaired.

But before you hit play on this bestseller, you might want to read up on choosing an app for your audiobooks first. There are many options and you may find that some are better suited to your needs and budget.

We’ve put together a guide to a few favorites. There are choices for what’s basically streaming services, but for books, two ways to use your library card to listen, and some apps that let you buy books a la carte. Here are our top picks.

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iOS

The Apple Books app isn’t just for reading ebooks; it has a store full of audiobooks available for download. It’s divided into handy lists by genre, bestsellers, deals, and more. There is also a free audiobooks section, some of which are public domain books and some of which are newer promotions. The books are purchasable one by one. You can listen to a preview before handing over your digital cash. Speaking of which, you pay with any payment method stored with your Apple ID. You can play the audiobooks on iOS device (including Apple Watch) and your Mac.

iOS, Android

Audible is the best-known of the audiobook apps, if only because it’s owned by Amazon. Due to its provenance, it has a lot of titles in stock, around 200,000 of them. Audible has two membership tiers: Audible Plus ($7.95 per month) and Audible Premium Plus (starting at $14.95 per month). To sign up, you need to have an Amazon account, but you don’t need to be signed up for Amazon Prime. With every subscription, you get full access to Audible Originals (Audible-exclusive audiobooks), podcasts, and other content. You can purchase audiobooks with each, but with the premium subscription you get credits that can be used for them. Audible lets you listen on your phone, tablet, computer, Alexa, Sonos, or Kindle.

iOS, Android

Audiobooks.com offers over 300,000 books, 10,000 of which are free. The service costs $14.95 per month and includes two audiobooks: one from its regular catalog and one from a new monthly list of VIP titles. You can then purchase any additional books you want separately. Ten-minute book samples give you a good idea if you want to commit to a purchase. The app has a section where you can store audio “notes” taken from audiobooks. The Audiobooks.com app works on iOS and Android and also includes podcasts and a small meditations section.

iOS, Android

Chirp Audiobooks is perfect for those who don’t want a monthly subscription but still want a deal. The limited time offers are all under $5 and often less. You can expect discounts of a few dollars on top titles. Chirp audiobooks can be played on iOS, Android, and Alexa devices, as well as through a web browser on your computer.

iOS, Android

Google Play Books mainly focuses on e-books, but just like its counterpart Apple Books, it also offers audiobooks. There are no membership fees, so you buy the books as you wish. You’ll find small discounts on many popular titles and some free (mostly public domain) books. Google Play Books is available as an iOS and Android app and also through a browser on computers.

iOS, Android

If you have a library card, you can probably listen to audiobooks on Hoopla for free. Hoopla has partnerships with libraries in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and if your library is not on their list, you can try emailing them at [email protected]. The audiobook section of its app has all the features you would expect, such as bookmarks and a sleep timer. Apart from audiobooks, Hoopla also offers e-books and even TV shows. Hoopla works on iOS and Android as well as in browsers.

iOS, Android

Kobo’s eBook-focused app also includes audiobooks. With a monthly subscription of $9.99, you get one audiobook of your choice per month and then you can buy more after that. You can listen to Kobo audiobooks on iOS and Android devices.

iOS, Android

Just like Hoopla, Libby lets you borrow from your local library. It works with approximately 90% of libraries in North America. The sign up process is simple and you might even be able to sign up for a library card in the process through a zip code and phone number search. The audiobook player has a sleep timer, bookmarks and the ability to adjust the playback speed. You can listen to Libby audiobooks on iOS and Android devices.

iOS, Android

Many good reads are in the public domain and LibriVox has many (over 50,000) in audiobook form read by volunteers. It’s truly an act of love for literature all around. LibriVox has a sleep timer and lets you add bookmarks. You can play audiobooks on iOS and Android devices. You can also listen from a browser, but that only gives you the ability to play and pause.

iOS, Android

Barnes & Noble previously had a standalone Nook audiobook app, which is now combined with its Nook app which also contains eBooks. There are over 300,000 audiobooks to choose from and buy individually, plus around 10,000 free ones. You can also join B&N Audiobooks for $14.99 per month, which gets you one book per month and savings on others. The audiobook app is available on iOS and Android devices and has all the features you would expect. You can also play your audiobooks through a browser.

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