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Within the last few years, the audiobook industry has exploded. With the increased use of tablets, smartphones, and iPods, the practice of listening to books rather than reading them has almost become the standard. The convenience of listening to a book in the car, while exercising, or even while cleaning the kitchen means listeners are able to digest the knowledge of so many more books than they would have time to otherwise.
Not only are audiobooks convenient, but they open listeners up to an endless amount of book titles. Seeking out books in a store or at the library limits you to the selection they have in stock and takes time to browse through the inventory. With online audiobook stores, you can search for books by title, genre, ratings, and more. Books you wouldn't have found on a shelf are now at your fingertips in the form of an audiobook.
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Audible is one of the most popular audiobook stores on the market today and has earned our highest recommendation. With a huge selection of over 100,000 book titles, you can find just about anything you are looking for on their platform. All of their audiobooks are compatible with Apple, Android, Alexa-enabled devices, and Kindle to make for convenient listening wherever you are.
Keep it forever
For $14.95/month, customers can choose any audiobook they want as well as two Audible originals. All of the audiobooks you choose are yours to keep forever. If you are unsatisfied with a book you've chosen with your credit that month, you can return the book and get a new one. Audible automatically charges you each month for using their service, but you are able to cancel at anytime and still keep all of the books you purchased up to that point. With this audiobook service, you even have the ability to gift a membership to someone. This makes for a great present no matter the occasion!
Leave a review
After listening to any of the books on Audible, you can leave a review to let future customers know about your experience. In the reviews left by other readers, you might find opinions on the storyline, the voice of the narrator, the accuracy of details, and much more. These reviews are unfiltered and give potential customers an overall feel of what people thought of the books they are interested in.
There are many impressive features for book lovers to enjoy on Audible's platform. The first feature we really liked on Audible was the ability to listen to books at different speeds. If the narrator is slow, you can speed up the book to 1.5x or more to get through it a little bit faster. This would especially be helpful for audiobooks you are listening to quickly for school or work. Another feature provides readers with book suggestions. Based on the titles you listen to, Audible will give suggestions to guide you toward other titles that might pique your interest. Lastly, Audible makes it easy to browse their collection of audiobooks by letting you search by new releases, genre, author, average customer review, and running time. Other broad search categories include best sellers, kids' books, and more.
Overall, Audible is a great option for people who want easy and consistent access to new audiobooks. It's safe to say that listeners will never run out of content since Audible is frequently adding new titles to their online store. With their fair pricing and great user interface, Audible sets the bar high for audiobook stores and has earned our highest rating.
Book Lender is one of the leading book rental service companies. The idea is that renting, rather than purchasing books, saves customers money while still allowing them freedom to listen to whatever audiobooks they please. Not only does Book Lender have a selection of CD and MP3 file audiobooks, but paperback books for rent as well. From classics to new releases, Book Lender has over 40,000 audiobook titles.
Book Lender has both unlimited and limited pricing plan options for audiobook rentals. The unlimited plans start at $23.99 with 50% off the first month. This plan allows for as many titles to be rented throughout the month as your heart desires. However, the difference in the pricing is due to the fact that you must choose how many books you want to be able to rent at the same time. This can be anywhere from one book at a time to six books at a time for up to $96.99/month. Limited plans start at $12.99/month for one book total and can go up to $28.99/month for three book rentals. All of the pricing options might make your head spin if you don't understand what they are offering right away.
Take your time
Because all of the audiobooks you listen to through Book Lender are rented, there are no due dates or late fees for the books. You can take as much or as little time as you want to enjoy your novel. Customers can cancel their limited or unlimited rental plans at any time. While the renting option allows for more books to be read in a month, the downside is you don't get to keep the books you are paying for like you can with our highest-rated online audiobook store.
Choose your audiobook
When searching for an audiobook, the Book Lender site sorts them by popular audiobooks, fiction, non-fiction. From there, you choose the genre you are interested in and browse titles. We like that the book description gives a list of Goodreads reviews to help you decide if the audiobook is worth your time or not. Listeners can also rate the audiobook themselves after they have listened to it.
30 day free trial
Without subscribing to a Book Lender membership, you can still browse through their collection of audiobooks and download any titles you would like for the set price listed. This is a more expensive route, but if you're not looking to rent audiobooks very often, it isn't a bad idea. If you're toying with the idea of becoming a Book Lender member, you could always start out with their 30-day free trial to see how you like their service.
Overall, Book Lender has a lot to offer their customers. If you are someone who stays up into the wee hours of the night listening to a gripping book and can't wait to get up in the morning to finish it and start a new one, renting audiobooks is a great option for you. Book Lender lets you listen to as many books as you want with their unlimited plans, so you will always have new content at your fingertips. The pricing plans are initially a bit confusing and you don't own the books you've read, but Book Lender provides a generous amount of reading material for their customers.
Barnes & Noble has hundreds of audiobooks on CD for sale on their website. Like their brick-and-mortar stores, they are always stocked with new releases and the most popular titles. For customers looking to listen to audiobooks infrequently, Barnes & Noble is a good option because you'll likely always be able to find the book you're looking for.
Barnes & Noble's audiobook CDs can be sorted by subjects, formats, age, and price. The lowest price category is "Under $5" which is a great deal for an audiobook on CD. The downside of purchasing even the most inexpensive audiobooks from Barnes & Noble is that the CDs need to be shipped (or picked up in-store) and you have to spend $35 to qualify for free shipping. Unlike our highest-rated online audiobook stores, Barnes & Noble doesn't offer instant streaming or downloads of their audiobooks.
Read the reviews
Customers can leave reviews on all the books, which is extremely helpful if you're undecided about whether or not to take the plunge and make a purchase. You can also read editorial reviews and get pretty thorough information on the plotline from different perspectives. Another helpful feature gives potential listeners the ability to read an excerpt from the book to grasp the tone, style, and storyline of the book. With this feature you can see the table of contents and read about the author as well.
30 day refunds
If you are unsatisfied with any of your purchases from Barnes & Noble, you can return them for a full refund within 30 days. Since purchasing audiobook CDs with them is more costly and less flexible than a dedicated audiobook service, the return policy is a good thing to be aware of. Relying on Barnes & Noble for your audiobook fix is not our first choice, but their good reputation and quality selection of material won't disappoint anyone willing to spend full price on their products.
Simply Audiobooks is an audiobook rental service with over 50,000 titles for listeners to choose from. Not only do they offer rentals for audiobooks and MP3's, but also for physical books as well. Shipping these books back and forth is completely free for customers, making their service easy and convenient. The major downside of their service is the time it takes to ship back and forth, whereas some of our higher-rated audiobook platforms provide instant downloads of their audiobooks.
15 day free trial
To test out Simply Audiobooks, they offer a 15-day free trial of their service. This free trial allows for 2 audiobooks at a time during this period. Once the free trial is over, if you choose to subscribe to the monthly rental club program, you can pay $19.89/month and receive 1 audiobook at a time, pay $29.98 and receive 2 audiobooks at a time, or pay $39.98/month and receive up to 3 audiobooks at a time. The great news is that although you are limited on how many audiobooks are shipped to you at once, you can send them back and get more as many times as you want during the month through their unlimited audiobook platform. There are no due dates or late fees for any of the books you receive.
Easy to cancel
Cancellation of Simply Audiobooks is easy. Even if you are on a prepaid plan, they will treat the account as if it is month-to-month and refund you the difference. To get a hold of customer service to request a refund or for any other questions, you can access their support team 24/7 via web contact form or by phone Monday - Friday 8 am to 8 pm EDT.
Narrow down your audiobook search
When sifting through the range of book titles offered through Simply Audiobooks, filter features help you narrow down your options by author, genre, narrator, or even ISBN and keywords with an advanced search. Each book comes with a listening sample, written overview, author details, length, number of units, publishing dates, and listener ratings. Some of our higher-rated sites allow you to narrow down your book options even more specifically, but users shouldn't have a hard time finding what they are looking through on the Simply Audiobooks site.
Overall, Simply Audiobooks is a good option for book rentals. Their pricing is fair for a service that offers unlimited rentals each month. We do wish there was an option to do instant downloads of chosen audiobook rentals instead of having to wait to ship CDs back and forth. For listeners who are okay with their rental process, Simply Audiobooks is a good route to go for renting audiobooks.
Audiobooks has a clean, easy-to-use platform with an impressive amount of book titles. There are over 150,000 titles to choose from in the Audiobooks collection that can be streamed or downloaded at any time. Everything works through the free Audiobooks app that is compatible with iOS or Android devices. In addition to the audiobooks available on the app, a free podcast feature offers over 700,000 podcasts that members can listen to.
Listen to a sample
Audiobooks are filtered by price, duration, abridged vs. unabridged, and genre. When you find a book that catches your eye, you are able to listen to a sample of the book before deciding to purchase. Audiobooks provides a list of titles similar to the one you are viewing, allows you to send the book as a gift, see the duration, and read a summary of the plot. Listeners can leave feedback on the book once they have listened to it. We found it interesting that there are two kinds of reviews for each book: one for the book itself and another review for the narrator.
30 day free trail
To test out Audiobooks, they allow for a 30-day free trial where you can download one audiobook of your choice as well as one VIP title from a limited selection of audiobooks. After the 30-day period, membership costs $14.95/month. Included with membership is one audiobook of your choice as well as a VIP title. Audiobooks also runs deals on their website where you can get 2 for 1 audiobooks within certain genres like detective stories, romance, health and mindfulness, or memoirs. These deals are a great thing to keep an eye on with your membership!
Careful when canceling
If you cancel your Audiobook membership (which you can do at any time), you'll lose access to all of the chosen VIP titles you stored up within the duration of your Audiobooks membership. Something to be aware of as far as canceling your membership is that customers have complained about being charged monthly fees even after cancellation has occurred. The Better Business Bureau gives Audiobook a B+ rating because of this customer feedback.
Good for long-term members
Audiobook's online store is a good option if you are planning to be a long-term member and won't be dealing with issues that may accompany efforts to cancel. They don't provide as many titles each month as our highest-rated service, but they have a huge variety of books to choose from. While we don't feel Audiobook is the best choice when it comes to online audiobook stores, they still offer customers a lot of content and a user-friendly platform.
Audiobooks Now has over 60,000 audiobook titles to choose from. Like most other online audiobook stores, customers can download or stream their purchases either from the Audiobooks Now website or through the app on their smartphone or tablet. The app is compatible with almost all Android and Apple devices. For customers wanting to test out Audiobooks Now against their competitors, a 30-day free trial is in place that allows access to select titles.
Confusing price plans
We'll get straight to the meat of what prevented Audiobooks Now from earning a top spot among its audiobook store competitors: their confusing pricing plans. There are three options for listeners on their site. The first is to not join any type of plan and pay regular price for all the audiobooks found on the website. The second option is to subscribe to the Club Pricing Plan where you pay $4.99 each month and get 50% off the price of the first book you choose each month and then 35-40% off all other titles you select after that. If you don't use your 50% discount that month, it rolls over to the next month.
Unable to cancel
The third subscription plan option is opt into the Annual Club Pricing Plan for $35.99 where you receive 50% off of any 12 audiobooks along with the normal club price of 35-40% off every other audiobook for a year. You can renew this plan whenever you run out of your 50% discounts for another $35.99. Something to be aware of with this option is that, unlike the standard Club Pricing Plan, you cannot cancel the Annual Club Pricing Plan once you have purchased it.
1 hour customer response
For anyone who feels like the plan pricing or any other aspect of Audiobooks Now is unclear and needs clarification, you can reach a company representative through the contact form found on their website. If you message them during normal business hours (8:30 am - 5:00 pm Eastern time), they typically respond within one hour. If you need immediate assistance, a phone number is provided as well.
Audiobooks Now is not a bad option for avid readers who want unlimited audiobook downloads they can purchase each month. With the discounted pricing plans, audiobooks are less expensive than paying full price, but it could add up if you're wanting to purchase multiple titles every month. As long as customers understand the somewhat confusing pricing structure of Audiobooks Now, it could be a good option for some readers.
Scribd seems to have all the makings of a 5-star audiobook streaming service on the outside. There are thousands of new books to choose from that are downloadable on just about any device. Scribd's website is clean, their membership pricing is straightforward, and they advertise unlimited monthly audiobooks. However, many third-party sites are full of customer complaints and warnings that their platform is not as it seems.
30 day trial
A free 30-day trial is offered before customers decide to buy into a membership for $8.99/month. The Better Business Bureau has given Scribd an F rating because of the complaints from customers about being charged even when they have cancelled after their 30-day free trial. Some are charged more than once in a month, while others have ongoing charges that they are not able to contact anyone about to get fixed.
When unlimited isn't really unlimited
All fees and charges through Scribd are nonrefundable. If you are having issues with charges to your account or any other aspect of the audiobook site, the only ways to contact Scribd are through social media, handwritten correspondence, or through a request form on the website that customers often claim gets ignored.
As far as Scribd's platform goes, it is sleek and easy to navigate. Much like the other sites we have reviewed, you can search through the thousands of audiobooks by category, play a sample of any given book, see the duration, and read listener reviews. We wish Scribd had a better reputation and would honor their pricing plan and unlimited audiobook advertisement because they have a lot going for them. Due to the negative feedback Scribd has received, we suggest going with a higher-rated online audiobook store.
Services that provide audiobooks used to be expensive and much more limited than they are now. Some services come in the form of monthly subscriptions, while others let you purchase audiobooks individually. Other online book stores allow you to rent audiobooks and return or exchange them rather than having to purchase each one individually. However, the online service works, you'll find that the audiobooks are quite affordable and there are more title options than you'd ever be able to get through in a lifetime.
When searching for the best audiobook options, consider the following things to ensure you get the most bang for your buck:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best audiobook stores available today. We hope these reviews help you find the audiobook service that provides you with a great experience!
If you're looking to decide if you should take the dive and get into audiobooks, you've come to the right place! We here at Top Consumer Reviews love audiobooks and have quite the extensive collection ourselves. There are plenty of reasons you may be unsure if audiobooks are right for you, but here are some ways to help you determine if this is the right step for you.
Audiobooks can often seem intimidating. It's not the same as reading, and can take a lot of time to listen to an entire book, so it's natural to be unsure if this will be the right fit for you. One way to tell if this is something to consider, is to look at your current listening time. Do you have a long commute to work? A long workout you never miss? Even long showers? If you have time now, that you spend listening to music or podcasts, then you should have time for an audiobook. It might seem like a big time commitment at first, since the book listening time can be several hours long, but just remember to listen in chunks and fit it in where you normally listen to things. Soon you'll be flying through books in no time!
Some people worry if the audiobook method will be boring. While some books may be dry, each one is different and it just depends on your tastes to see if the book is one you will like or not. Additionally, audiobooks are rather like podcasts, they can have a wide range of people for different characters that really add to the experience. Audiobooks can even be read by their own author, especially if that author is famous. You can feel closer to the likes of Nick Offerman or Amy Poehler as you hear them narrate their own books and life stories.
If that hasn't convinced you of how fun audiobooks can be, think of this: Audiobooks can be shared. You can literally have your own book club by sharing your favorite new book with whomever you want. Now you can have friends and family join in the fun as you all listen and share your favorite new book.
Another concern you might have may be about the cost. Some audiobook stores have a recurring membership. This can be good if you decide you like the audiobook world and want to continue on with a series, or listen to audiobooks often. However, you might not want to commit to a subscription right off the bat, and that's understandable. Some stores will let you buy one book at a time, if you just want to test the waters first and then that would be your best bet. A one time purchase may be the best for starting out, but chances are pretty soon you'll want that membership and all the benefits that come with it!
All in all, audiobooks are not going to be for everyone. Some people just never get into the feel of it. If you can take the first step of trying it out though, you might discover a whole new world of reading that you enjoy. We think it's well worth the risk, and you should take the plunge and start your newest adventure today!
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