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The Best Audiobook Stores

Where Can You Find the Best Audiobook Listening Service?

The world of audiobooks has seen huge growth over the past decade, with industry surveys showing a double-digit increase for ten years in a row with no signs of slowing down. Various platforms for listening to audiobooks have popped up, each one catering to different user needs, budgets, and preferences.

The recent boom in the popularity of audiobooks can be attributed to a few different factors, but one of the biggest reasons is how well they fit into our busy, multitasking lives. You can listen while you're commuting, working out, or even doing household chores like folding the laundry. It's a great way to access intellectually engaging entertainment while getting some drudgery done.

Sunday, July 14th

2024 Audiobook Store Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Libby Review 5 Star Rating

Libby

5 Star Rating
  • Cost: Free
  • Catalog size: dependent on your library
  • Stream titles via internet connection or download them for offline listening
  • Accessible on your computer or through the Libby app
  • Tailored homepage showcases titles and categories specifically chosen by your local library
  • Ability to sort and filter titles by popularity, release date, genre, and language
  • Easy switching between catalogs if you have library cards for multiple library systems
  • Intuitive categorization with tags and shelf management
  • Fun personal touches, such as a customizable logo and thank-you messages for early book returns
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Libby, developed by OverDrive, provides easy access to free digital content from your library. Designed for an enhanced user experience, Libby allows you to borrow digital audiobooks, ebooks, and even magazines from your local library. Stream titles via internet connection, or download them to read offline whenever and wherever you are. To get started, all you need is a library card. Libby can be accessed on your computer or through the Libby app, which is entirely free, with no subscription costs, in-app purchases, or risk for late fees, as digital titles automatically return on their due dates.

Get out your library card

When you get to Libby's website, you'll be asked if you have a library card yet. If the answer is no, you'll be taken to a screen where you can enter your zip code or search for the name of your local library. We probably don't need to extol the benefits of having a library card to you if you're already here exploring audiobook services, but we appreciate how from the very first step in the process Libby is all about libraries. If you have a library card, all you need to do is select your library branch, enter your card number and PIN, and you're free to start checking out books from their online catalog. This includes audiobooks as well as ebooks.

Stay connected to your community

We love Libby's homepage because it's tailored by your local library to showcase titles and categories specifically chosen for its patrons. For instance, if you lived in the fictional town of Mapleton where they celebrate the "Maple Leaf Festival" every year to honor the onset of fall and the town's rich history with maple trees, during this time the Mapleton library might highlight content on Libby related to maple trees, fall-themed books, and local history about maple farming. While other audiobook services often capitalize on wider-reaching trends, Libby offers a way for you to stay connected to your own unique local events and traditions like these.

Catalog size depends on your local library

To see which audiobooks are available, click on the three-bar menu, scroll down to where it says "Format", and select "Audiobooks". Depending on your library, this could include tens of thousands of titles. Because this is a library checkout system, not everything will be available immediately, but often libraries will purchase multiple digital copies of their most popular titles to keep wait times down. Of course, you can also choose to be shown only titles that are currently available for checkout. You can also sort and filter titles by popularity, release date, genre, and even language.

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Get notified of shorter wait times

If you have library cards for multiple library systems, Libby makes it easy to switch between catalogs by clicking the three-bar menu at the bottom of the screen and clicking on the card of the library you want to use. Also, when you go to place a hold on an unavailable title, Libby will notify you if one of your other libraries has a shorter wait on that title. You can place a hold on it through the library with the shorter wait while remaining signed into the catalog of the library you're currently browsing. Nifty!

Holds are basically managed for you

Your library sets the length of time you can check out an audiobook. When you borrow a book, you can click on the number of days and choose from the options your library sets. For example, when we tried this through our library, we had the option of 7, 14, or 21 days. If you have a book on hold and you're not ready to listen to it yet, you can choose a later delivery date to avoid losing your place in line. If you miss the 3-day pickup window for a hold, it will be automatically rescheduled. This happens once per hold. If you still don't act on the hold after it has been rescheduled, it will be canceled.

Complete range of playback features

The fingerprint button pulls up a menu called "Recent Places" that shows you different points in the audiobook where you stopped and how long ago you were listening to that part, so you don't need to leave a bookmark to find your place again. With one tap or click, you can return to any timestamp. By clicking or tapping on the pointing finger button, you can choose whether Libby displays how far into the audiobook you are or how much further you have to go. You can easily fast forward or rewind by 15 seconds, set your playback to any speed you like, ranging from 0.60x to 3x, or set a sleep timer. When you set a bookmark, you can also type in a note. Set bookmarks for single moments or, by holding down the bookmark button while the audiobook plays, highlight an entire clip. This will show up as a colored bar in the audio track, so you can easily find your way back there at any point.

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Categorize intuitively

The "Shelf" tab displays your current listens, past audiobooks, and allows you to manage your wish list. With the "Tag" feature, you can categorize books into labels such as "want to read" , "book club" , "my childhood favorites" , or any other designation you fancy. You can even use a singular emoji as a tag name. We adore this feature because many bookworms seem to enjoy intuitive ways to organize their physical bookshelves, and it's delightful to see this flexibility mirrored in the digital space.

Personal touches we love

Libby's logo is a smiley-faced girl wearing a blue bookmark as a hair ribbon. A fun little feature: by clicking on the logo at the top of the screen, you can change her skin tone to match your own. And when you return a book before its due date, Libby showers you with a little bouquet of flowers on your screen and shows you a "thank-you" message.

Our top choice

Overall, we're big fans of Libby. It's free, supports your local library, fun to use, and chances are, your catalog will have exactly what you're looking for. The only reasons you might want to use a different service is if waiting on a hold is a deal-breaker, you don't qualify for a library card, or if some of the titles you'd like to listen to are exclusive to certain services. Two thumbs up from Top Consumer Reviews.

Hoopla Review 4.5 Star Rating

Hoopla

4.5 Star Rating
  • Free digital lending system
  • Instant Borrows let you check out titles instantly without waiting
  • Varied content: audiobooks, movies, TV shows, music, and comics
  • BingePass: Stream diverse content for seven days with no added cost
  • Offline use available

Do you ever find yourself getting impatient when waiting to check out digital audiobooks from your library? It can be quite an exasperating experience being 15th in line for the next book in a series you've been devouring. The irony is that you're not even waiting on a physical copy to be dropped in the return slot at your local library, but rather a digital file that doesn't require any physical space or returns processing. Enter Hoopla, a library-based app that offers a fresh take on digital lending.

No waiting with Instant Borrows

Unlike our top library audiobook service which only purchases a specific number of digital copies for their catalog (just like physical books), Hoopla adds a twist. Yes, they also have this more conventional system, but in addition, they introduce "Instant Borrows". These titles are a godsend for the impatient reader. At the start of each calendar month, your library allocates you a given number of Instant Borrows (the number varies from library to library). What makes them "instant"? Well, these titles are always available, no holds or waiting, and multiple patrons can access the same title simultaneously. Just look for the lightning symbol next to the title. But remember, these don't roll over to the next month, and returning an Instant Borrow doesn't give you an additional one.

Type of Borrow indicated by symbol system

Flex Borrows are a bit different and can be identified by a symbol of two arrows circling each other. While Instant titles allow for simultaneous use by many, Flex titles operate on a one-person-at-a-time basis. If someone else is currently using a Flex title, you'll have to wait or place a hold, much like the traditional physical borrowing system. When all Flex titles are out on loan, you'll see a "Wait List" displayed above the title artwork.

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Libraries pay each time you check out an Instant Borrow

One librarian provided a clearer insight into this system: "Libraries set a maximum price threshold for items (some might be priced at .99, 1.99, with 5.99 being the highest). They also determine the monthly limit for each patron. For instance, we allow items under 3.99 and up to 10 checkouts per person. So, theoretically, a patron could cost us 39.90 a month at most." So don't feel bad about costing your library money by using Instant Borrows - they've budgeted for it.

Interface is a little clunkier than our top service

If you want to rewind while listening, you'll need to open the app and click the skip button. We observed that when listening through our car's Bluetooth system, pressing the back arrow on the steering wheel had no effect, and we encountered the same problem when using headphone controls. Given that most people listen to audiobooks while doing something else, this is a drawback worth mentioning.

Other listening features are typical

Hoopla's app comes equipped with a sleep timer, chapter navigation, and custom playback speed selection. Just make sure you download your audiobook to your device before you leave the house - books you've checked out won't be available for offline use unless you do this manually.

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Titles chosen by Hoopla

Unlike our top-ranked service, Hoopla's collection is not selected by your library. They receive new titles from different media vendors every week. Librarians can't suggest particular titles, either - the librarian quoted earlier in this review also wanted you to know that they've tried and been denied. Occasionally, Hoopla titles are added only for a limited time, so if you come across something you're interested in, make sure to take advantage of it.

Selection is a polyglot's dream

One of the things we love about Hoopla's audiobook catalog is the inclusion of titles in languages other than English. Want to listen to Harry Potter in German, Spanish, or Italian? No problem.

Bestsellers abound

When browsing the audiobook page, we were pleased to find a wide range of genres including many bestsellers available. And, although your library can't choose the titles Hoopla carries, they do still get to curate your browsing experience a bit. Look at the "Recently Added by Your Library" collection to see what they've picked out for you.

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Not just text- or audio-based media

In addition to ebooks and audiobooks, you can also find movies, music, TV shows, and even comics on Hoopla. This makes it a great one-stop shop for many of your media needs

BingePass for educational content

With a Hoopla BingePass, you have access to a wide range of premium digital content all in one place. It's perfect for beating boredom or engaging in targeted learning. The BingePass allows you to stream unlimited interactive, educational, and entertaining content, from magazines and podcasts to children's eBooks and documentaries. There's a BingePass for every interest. Just navigate to the "Browse" button next to the search bar and you'll find about 18 different collections to choose from, including Hallmark Movies, The Great Courses Video Library, and lots of children's media. Each BingePass is valid for seven days and is available for free to anyone with a public library membership. You can even suggest new BingePass options by consulting your local librarian. The BingePass can be accessed on the web and various mobile devices, but it's not compatible with set-top boxes like Roku, Fire TV/Stick, or Apple TV.

Strong choice

We think Hoopla is great, especially the Instant Borrow feature. The only reasons they don't get the top spot are that their interface isn't quite as intuitive to navigate as the top library service in our review, and there's an issue with skipping backwards or forwards in the app. We'd recommend you use our top service, and if you really can't wait for a title, check Hoopla to see if it's available as an instant borrow. Still, Hoopla is a fantastic resource for your audiobook needs and should not be missed.

Libro Review 4.5 Star Rating

Libro

4.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: One credit per month for $14.99 USD
  • Catalog size: 400,000+
  • Partners with independent bookstores to support local communities
  • DRM-free model allows users to listen to audiobooks however they want
  • 30% discount for members when buying audiobooks individually
  • Offers promotions and great deals on popular titles
  • International expansion, now available in all countries and six currencies
  • Book recommendations are curated by indie bookstores

Founded in 2014, Libro is an audiobook platform that distinguishes itself by partnering with independent bookstores to keep the publishing industry diverse and competitive.

Partnered with independent bookstores

Instead of channeling all profits into a corporate behemoth, Libro partners with indie bookstores, sharing the revenue from each purchase and breathing life back into local communities. In an era where one or two giant companies are attempting to monopolize the audiobook market, Libro is an alternative for those who value choice, diversity, and ethical spending. It's become the go-to platform for discerning audiobook listeners, those who not only crave a good story but also want their money to support something meaningful. By choosing Libro, users aren't just buying an audiobook; they're casting a vote for the kind of world they want to live in - one where small businesses thrive alongside the giants.

"Cage-free" audiobooks

Unlike most players in the audiobook world, Libro lets you listen to audiobooks you own without any restrictions or limitations. Most digital audiobook platforms use a system called Digital Rights Management, or DRM, which is designed to prevent piracy and unauthorized sharing or copying of media. Audiobook retailers that use DRM limit how you access and use the audiobooks you've purchased - for example, you may only be able to listen to them through the apps or devices the platform you purchased from owns. However, Libro uses a DRM-free model, which means you can listen to your audiobooks however you want - you can play them on any audio player device, convert them to MP3, or even burn them onto a CD. Libro recommends listening through their app for its playback features (wishlist creation, playback speed selection, sleep timer, bookmarking), but you don't have to.

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Support your local bookstore with every listen

For every audiobook purchase you make through Libro, the indie bookstore of your choosing will receive 15% of what you spent. Getting started is easy. Create your account, select the bookstore you want to support, and you're off. Libro is the favored audiobook platform of those who want to be ethical about where they spend their money. It offers an alternative to certain platforms that are attempting to monopolize audio publishing rights.

You get one credit per month for $14.99

By signing up for a monthly membership with Libro, you can get your hands on an audiobook credit for $14.99 USD plus tax, which can be used to choose from over 400,000 audiobooks. Plus, as a member, you'll receive a 30% discount when buying audiobooks individually. One thing to keep in mind is that, unlike some bigger-name audiobook subscription platforms, your Libro membership doesn't come with access to a catalog of free audiobooks in addition to your one monthly credit.

Returns usually allowed

If you purchase an audiobook and change your mind about it, you can email Libro's customer support to process a refund. However, they do reserve the right to decline your return if they believe you're abusing this feature. This is to prevent users from treating Libro like a library service by asking for a refund after finishing every audiobook they purchase, which would take money away from authors and narrators.

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Snag a great deal

Clicking on the "Find an audiobook" menu at the top of the Libro homepage brings up a list of categories including "New releases," "Bestsellers', "Identity collections" , and "Bookseller picks" : Libro's book recommendations are not generated by an algorithm, but rather by the booksellers they partner with. In the "Sale" category, we found a bestselling title on our TBR pile that was marked down to $5.99 from $25.86. Score! By visiting the "Playlists" tab, you can find recommendations curated by your selected indie bookstore.

Now available internationally

Previously, only those who lived in the US and Canada could register for a monthly membership. In July 2023, Libro announced their expansion to all countries and six currencies (USD, CAD, EUR, AUD, GBP, and NZD). 146 of their 2,200 indie bookstore partners are internationally-based.

A great choice

We love Libro for making it possible to support your local bookstore even when buying digital audiobooks. Their credits are reasonably priced compared to other credit-based services, and they often offer great deals on popular titles. Plus, the audiobooks you buy are yours to keep forever - no takebacksies. Other services might force you to listen only on their platform and maintain control over the book you paid for, but not Libro. The only drawback is that you only get one title for your monthly credit, but it's not a dealbreaker. Libro still stands out as a great choice for audiobooks.

Downpour Review 4 Star Rating

Downpour

4 Star Rating
  • Cost: $12.99/month
  • Catalog size: 80,000
  • One-month free trial with one free title
  • No Digital Rights Management restrictions
  • Rent titles for 30-60 days, saving up to 70% off the retail price
  • Extensive and unique category list
  • Above-average customer service
  • Committed to ethical business practices

Downpour is a subsidiary of Blackstone Audio, an audiobook publishing company that has been in business for over 30 years. They offer audiobooks in every format, as well as paperback and hardcover books. Recently, they've launched interactive, choose-your-own-adventure audiobooks. Their audiobook catalog includes over 80,000 titles and continues to grow.

One subscription plan

Downpour has one of the lowest prices for monthly credits we've seen. For only $12.99, you can become a Downpour Audiobook Club member and select 1 title per month that is yours to own. Even if you cancel your membership, you'll still be able to access your Library. As is standard, Downpour offers a free trial for one month, which includes one free title.

DRM-free

Downpour doesn't use the copyright protection known as Digital Rights Management, meaning your files are yours to listen to in any format you wish and are not dependent on Downpour's app for playback. Their FAQ includes video tutorials for how to use the app and guidance on how to download your files to multiple formats, among multiple devices.

You can rent instead of subscribing

If you're not interested in owning your audiobook outright but still want to use Downpour, you also have the option to rent digital titles from their iOS or Android apps. Depending on the length of your audiobook, you can rent it for 30-60 days, with the option to purchase an extension of 10 days for $1.95. By choosing to rent instead of purchasing, you'll be saving up to 70% off the retail price.

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Every niche interest categorized and ready for listening

Downpour has one of the most extensive and specific category lists we've seen. By navigating from the "Browse" tab to the "All Categories" section, you can find tags such as "Arthurian," "Blended Families," "Crystals," and even "Exegesis & Hermeneutics" (we clicked on that last one, and yes, they do offer titles that fit that bill - It's not just a placeholder). In the mobile app, there are fewer categories, presumably so as not to be overwhelming.

Standard app features, above-average customer service

You can download Downpour's mobile app from either the Apple or Play store, depending on your device. The app is currently not available for download on Kindle Fire or Nook tablets, but you can still download the audiobooks to them. The features include fast-forwarding or rewinding by 30 seconds, a sleep timer, adjustable playback speed, and bookmarking. The iOS app only has a 3.2-star rating out of 5, but this isn't overly concerning to us because it's not the only way to listen to your files. Additionally, we noticed that the developer responded to glitch complaints by offering customers 2 free audiobook credits as compensation for their trouble, which we really appreciate. Downpour is not Better Business Bureau accredited, but they do enjoy an "A+" rating.

Cost-effective and ethical

We believe that Downpour is a hidden gem in the world of audiobooks. They have the lowest price per credit of any service we've reviewed, and they believe in your right to listen to your audiobooks however you prefer. They also seem to genuinely care about their customers. The only thing you won't find with Downpour is a catalog of free audiobooks complimentary with your subscription, but this is not a huge drawback.

Audible Review 3.5 Star Rating

Audible

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $7.95/month or $14.95/month
  • Catalog size: 400,000+
  • Offers exclusive "Audible Originals"
  • 30-day free trial with one free credit
  • Premium Plus members receive unlimited access to Audible's Plus Catalog
  • Whispersync technology allows syncing of reading on a Kindle and listening on Audible

Founded in 1995, Audible was envisioned as a digital alternative to traditional books and CDs, introducing one of the first dedicated digital audio players even before the advent of Apple's iPod. As a pioneer in spoken-word content, Audible experienced a real surge after its acquisition by Amazon in 2008, integrating it into a vast digital empire. Today, it differentiates itself from other audiobook platforms by offering exclusive "Audible Originals," a vast collection of audiobooks, sleep programs, radio drama, theater, and a unique subscription model.

Free Premium Plus trial

During your 30-day free trial of Audible, you'll receive one free credit, which you can redeem for any audiobook in Audible's library, no matter its original price (if you're an Amazon Prime member, you're eligible to receive two free credits for the same time period). This lets you explore the platform and enjoy an audiobook of your choice. If you decide that a paid subscription isn't for you, just cancel before the trial concludes and you won't be charged the $14.95 for renewal. And remember, even if you opt out of continued membership, the audiobook you chose with your free credit is yours to keep and listen to forever. It's a no-risk way for you to see if Audible matches your listening style and tastes.

Audible Plus for only $7.95 a month

On this membership tier, you have access to only a limited selection of books from Audible's catalog. They recommend this membership for those who primarily listen to podcasts or other short-form content. You won't be able to listen to any of the audiobooks that require a credit. You can purchase audiobooks directly from Audible without signing up for a membership, but you'll be paying almost double what Premium Plus members pay for their monthly credit and access to the Plus Catalog.

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Perks for Premium Plus members

For a monthly fee of $14.95, Premium Plus members will enjoy unlimited titles from Audible's Plus Catalog (which includes podcasts, audiobooks, and Audible Originals), a monthly credit, plus 30% off any titles you may decide to pay full price for after using up your credit. Audible recommends this plan for those who like to listen to new releases and best sellers.

Credits can expire

If you don't use your credit, it will roll over to the next month. However, if you don't use your credits within a year of their purchase, they will expire. Audible justifies this by explaining that the credit system is set up to benefit both users and the creators behind the audiobooks. When a credit is used or expires, it generates royalties for authors, actors, and other professionals, which is a significant part of their income. The reason credits expire after a year is twofold: to encourage users to pick and enjoy their audiobooks in a timely manner and to ensure that the artists are compensated fairly. While this might feel restrictive to some, Audible aims to find a balance that respects both its users and the artists.

Limited returns on purchased titles

If you're an Audible Premium Plus member, you have the option to return titles that you didn't enjoy and get your credit back, but there are some restrictions. You can only return titles purchased with credits, and you have to make the return within 365 days of purchase. Keep in mind that Audible can limit the number of returns or even revoke your return privileges, so use this feature responsibly. In the past, there were fewer restrictions, but some users were treating Audible like a library, returning titles they had listened to fully and enjoyed. This resulted in narrators losing their royalties and sometimes even owing money to Audible.

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Standard playback features and functionality

Audible works on a variety of platforms and devices, including iOS and Android apps, Windows and Mac desktop applications, and web browsers. Amazon's own devices, like the Kindle and Echo, also support Audible playback. The Audible app's playback interface includes standard navigation controls, playback speed adjustment, a sleep timer, and bookmarking capabilities.

Recommendations from editors

On the browsing page of Audible, you'll find the "Audible Editors" collections. These are selections of audiobooks chosen by the platform's in-house editors. The collections give a glimpse into the editors' preferences and their understanding of what listeners might appreciate. They cover a range of genres, from thrillers to non-fiction and classics. For those who feel daunted by the vast array of titles on Audible or are looking for some guidance, the "Audible Editors" collections can serve as a helpful starting point.

Whispersync Technology allows you to sync listening and reading

Whispersync is a feature developed by Amazon that maintains continuity between reading on a Kindle and listening on Audible. Think about those times when you're engrossed in a book at home, but you want to continue the narrative during your commute. With Whispersync, if you transition from your Kindle to Audible, it'll automatically pick up from where you left off. For this seamless experience, you'll need to have both the Kindle eBook and the corresponding Audible audiobook, which could get pricey if you're paying for both. Helpful tip: you might be able to check out the eBook from your library's digital catalog and send it to the Kindle app. For those who enjoy reading but sometimes prefer the ease of listening, Whispersync can be incredibly convenient. Just remember to periodically connect both your Kindle and Audible apps to the internet to maintain the synchronization.

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Audible Originals are exclusive to Audible

Audible Originals are exclusive audio content produced and curated by Audible. These titles are different from other spoken-word content in that they aren't available on any other platform outside of Audible. Audible Originals span various genres and formats, including full-length novels, non-fiction pieces, plays, scripted series, and short stories. Collaborations between renowned authors, celebrities, and experienced audio content creators often result in unique listening experiences. Subscribers to Audible receive access to select Audible Originals as part of their membership benefits, adding an exclusive dimension to their audiobook library. Seeing the yellow label on an audiobook cover that says "only from Audible" gives Audible users a sense of exclusive access to premium content.

Ethical questions about Audible Originals

However, Audible has faced criticism for creating barriers to access for some readers. The exclusivity of Audible Originals means that these audiobooks can only be sold and distributed through Amazon's Audible and cannot be sold by any other retailers or providers, including local bookshops or libraries. Unfortunately, some people who require audiobooks to read due to disabilities are more likely to be underemployed or unemployed and often rely on libraries for access to audiobooks. Critics argue that it is unjust and unacceptable for Amazon to put a paywall between an author's disabled audience and their book by making them available only for a monthly fee.

We like them

Audible is undeniably at the top of the industry, and it's for a reason: with their vast catalog of high-quality full-cast audiobooks, podcasts, radio dramas, and the star factor created by celebrity features in Audible Originals, they're hard to beat. However, some dyed-in-the-wool bibliophiles may have a bone to pick with their ethics. Additionally, their prices can be a little high compared to other services we have reviewed. For these reasons, we rank Audible as better than average and worth a look.

Everand Review 3.5 Star Rating

Everand

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $11.99/month
  • Vast collection of audiobooks, e-books, magazines, and news articles
  • No credits needed for book selection
  • 30-day free trial available
  • Lower audio quality used to save bandwidth and space
  • Standard playback features, including adjustable listening speed and offline listening
  • Better recommendations than competitors

Everand, formerly Scribd, is a digital subscription platform that stands out not only for its vast collection of e-books, but also as a prominent service for audiobook enthusiasts. Launched in 2007, Scribd initially began as a platform designed for users to publish and share their documents online. It was often referred to as the "YouTube for documents," offering a space for individuals and organizations to share PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations.

Evolution introduced audiobooks

However, as the digital reading landscape evolved, so did Scribd. It transitioned into a comprehensive subscription service, integrating an expansive audiobook library alongside other reading materials, making it a notable competitor in the audiobook platform arena. By their own explanation, Scribd kept their advertising costs low in order to pass the savings on to you, the customer. Recently they rebgranded their audiobook service as Everand.

Millions of ebooks, audiobooks & more for $11.99

Everand has just one subscription model: pay $11.99 for a month of access to their entire library, which includes 2,000,000+ eBooks, 300,000+ audiobooks, and 1,000,000+ magazines and news articles. When we searched Everand's catalog, we did notice that a few audiobooks we've listened to, which could be considered somewhere between niche and mainstream, were missing. However, they do seem to have all the trending titles covered.

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30-day free trial

Like many audiobook platforms, Everand offers a 30-day free trial. You'll have access to their entire catalog during this time, and they'll remind you before you're billed that your trial is coming to an end.

Lower audio quality might not be a concern

Everand's audio quality is a little lower than some of its competitors - 32 kbps versus 64 kbps. Lower-quality audio uses less bandwidth when downloaded or streamed and saves space on servers, which means Everand can pass its savings on to you. For most people, the difference in audio quality between 32 kbps and 64 kbps may not be noticeable or even a big deal, especially when it comes to spoken word content.

Standard playback features

Everand has all the typical playback features, including adjustable listening speed, bookmarking, skipping ahead and rewinding, and the ability to download titles for offline listening.

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No credits needed

What sets Everand apart from services where you exchange credits for permanent additions to your library is the level of flexibility it offers. With a credit-based service, each choice of a new book carries a risk: you're stuck with it, whether you end up enjoying it or not. Everand eliminates this issue entirely. If you find that you're not enjoying a book you've started, you can simply move on to another title without any repercussions.

Better recommendations than competitors

Everand's recommendation system is better than other audiobook services that focus on selling you more titles or require you to use credits to own them. With Everand, you'll get a wide range of book suggestions that actually match what you're interested in. Each category usually has several good options to pick from. The best part is that you can start reading or listening to these recommended books right away, without having to buy them separately.

Everand may restrict your access without warning

Is Everand truly unlimited? The simple answer is no. User reports and official statements suggest that there are, in fact, limitations on the content you can access within a given 30-day period. This limitation isn't arbitrary; it's an effort to manage costs, since Everand has to pay royalties for every book consumed through their platform. For example, there have been cases where Everand removed certain romance titles from view, presumably to deter avid readers in that genre from consuming content at a rate that would be expensive for the company.

Best Audiobook Stores

What Coming Soon really means

Everand reserves the right to restrict access to specific titles within a particular content library until your membership renews for the next month. For example, you might notice an "Available Soon" ribbon over an audiobook you're looking at, and that's what that means. Not everyone may face the same limits; it could depend on how much you read. So, you can listen to a lot of books on Everand, but the list of available books might get shorter as the month goes on, especially if you read a lot.

Lack of transparency knocks them down a few spots

Overall, it seems like Everand is best for audiobook listeners who don't go through a ton of books per month. We wish we could tell you exactly how many books that is, but it appears that Everand will limit access to titles based on several different metrics, including which genres you listen to the most, so they probably can't provide an exact number themselves. As a method for keeping costs low, this is understandable, but we don't like that they aren't as transparent as they could be about it. We rank Everand above some services that require you to purchase expensive credits every month but below services that are totally free.

Audiobooks Review 3 Star Rating

Audiobooks

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: $14.95/month
  • Catalog size: 400,000
  • Exchange your credit for a single title or access to unlimited listening in a given category
  • Members also get to choose one book from VIP catalog in addition to title purchased with credit
  • 30-day free trial includes your first book free plus two books from VIP catalog

Audiobooks is a global subscription-based audiobook service that became a part of Storytel AB, a leading Stockholm-based e-book and audiobook subscription company, in 2021. The platform operates on a monthly credit model, allowing subscribers to access a vast catalog of titles across numerous genres, from fiction and non-fiction to bestsellers and new releases.

Free titles from VIP catalog

All Audiobooks members (including customers in their free trial) can choose from a specially curated selection of VIP Rewards books to download for free, every month. VIP Rewards books will refresh every month on the first day of the month, at which point you'll be able to browse the new selection and make your choice for one free download. All of your VIP Rewards books will remain in your library as long as you remain a member with an active subscription.

Monthly credit for $14.95

Audiobooks uses a credit system wherein your monthly fee covers the cost of one credit that can be used to purchase any audiobook from their catalog of 400,000+ titles.

Membership includes access to "VIP' catalog

Included in your membership at Audiobooks is access to what they call "VIP Rewards" books. Each month, this collection is updated on the first day, allowing you to choose one audiobook to download for free. The books you've downloaded as part of the VIP Rewards program will stay in your library for as long as you maintain an active subscription. Don't expect to see dozens of Bestsellers in this catalog - you'll have to do some sifting to find those hidden gems.

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Free 30-day trial

Audiobooks offers a 30-day free trial that includes your first book free (the one you would purchase with your credit) plus two books from their VIP catalog. After your trial, you'll be allowed just one VIP book each month.

Audiobook Clubs allow for binge-listening

Audiobooks' most unique feature is the ability to spend your monthly credit on access to an Audiobook Club. If you're primarily a Self-Help listener, it would make sense to join the Health & Wellness Audiobook Club for access to as many Self-Help titles as you can listen to for those 30 days. After your 30-day period of unlimited access ends, the choice is yours on how to use your upcoming credit. You can either extend your unlimited membership with the same Audiobook Club, explore a new genre by joining a different Club, or opt to use your monthly credit to select a single title from their library of over 400,000 audiobooks. Note that you always have the option to browse the titles in each Club before committing to it for the month.

You probably can't get your credit back if you regret your pick

Audiobooks explicitly states that they do not offer refunds on subscription charges. However, if you've streamed an audiobook and encounter issues with the content, like audio glitches, it's recommended to get in touch with their Customer Service Team. Should they determine the file is flawed, Audiobooks will replace the file itself. In essence, while you probably can't get your credit back for an audiobook you're unsatisfied with, you have some recourse if the file itself is faulty.

Best Audiobook Stores

App could use some improvement

We didn't find reports of any major glitches for the iOS or Android apps, but several users said they'd like to see better track naming (for example, the name of the chapter instead of just "track 49" ) and chapter outlines so that you don't have to tap on the "skip" arrows until you arrive at the chapter you're looking for. Otherwise, the app has all the usual features for playback and offline listening.

You can't access your audio files directly

Audiobooks is another service that prevents users from downloading their purchases in their preferred formats, like MP3 files. That means you have to use the Audiobooks app or website to listen, and if anything ever happens to their servers, or if they go out of business, they'll take your audiobook purchases with them.

Just "meh"

Initially, we were intrigued by some of Audiobooks' features, such as their VIP catalog and Audiobook Clubs. However, we aren't convinced that these provide much more value than other services that offer similar unlimited listening options. Additionally, their refund policy seems unnecessarily strict, and it's not ideal that you have to use their app to listen to the audiobooks you've purchased. Overall, Audiobooks left us feeling lukewarm.

Barnes & Noble Review 3 Star Rating

Barnes & Noble

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: $14.99/month
  • Catalog size: 300,000
  • Trusted destination for bibliophiles and casual readers since 1886
  • 30-day free trial with one free credit
  • Buy-one-get-one-50%-off deals on selected categories

Barnes & Noble, a name synonymous with brick-and-mortar bookstores for decades, also offers a robust selection of audiobooks through its digital platform. Established in 1886, Barnes & Noble has long been a trusted destination for bibliophiles and casual readers alike, providing a vast array of books, magazines, and other media. Venturing into the digital realm, the company has expanded its offerings to include audiobooks to remain competitive in an increasingly digital market. Through its website and mobile app, Barnes & Noble Audiobooks offers thousands of titles across multiple genres, allowing customers to purchase and listen to audiobooks on the go.

Credit-based subscription with no free titles

Barnes & Noble Audiobooks offers a standard credit-based system and pricing of $14.99 per month, which includes a single credit that can be exchanged for a title. Also standard: you can try the service for free for 30 days and get one free credit to spend. However, unlike other credit-based services, Barnes & Noble Audiobooks subscription doesn't include access to a catalog of free audiobooks; your one monthly pick is all you get.

Special deals and browsing features available

Barnes & Noble offers buy-one-get-one-50%-off deals on many of their categories. These books can be purchased without a subscription or in addition to your one credit. While shopping for books, you can view the current and previous prices as well as any available discounts. Additionally, you can subscribe to pre-orders, create wishlists, browse monthly recommendations, and more.

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DRM may limit long-term access

You can listen to your audiobook through the Barnes & Noble website, or through the NOOK app. However, unfortunately, they are also one of the services that uses DRM, which we were a little surprised by, given they're also a brick-and-mortar chain as opposed to just an online entity. One customer review we found tells an anecdotal story about a friend who was unable to access her audiobooks on Barnes & Noble's platform after a break of several years because she did not have the original credit card number associated with her account. This raises concerns about potential ways to lose access to purchased content, such as if Barnes & Noble were to go bankrupt.

iOS app is buggy despite high rating

Barnes & Noble's iOS app has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating in the App Store. However, we have found many reports of the app being buggy or crashing. The developers seem to be responsive, but this is one of the issues that comes with DRM. Your ability to listen to your own audiobooks is dependent on their app's functionality, which isn't consistent.

NOOK app offers typical listening features

The NOOK app's audio player offers a range of features, including the ability to skip forward or backward by 30 seconds, bookmarking and note-taking capabilities, adjustable speed from 0.5x to 3x, and a sleep timer.

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In-app purchases not available

You can't purchase new audiobooks directly from the NOOK app. Instead, you'll need to go to the Barnes & Noble site to do so. This is less convenient than other apps that allow you to pick out your next title right away.

Just okay

The best thing Barnes & Noble has going for it is its catalog size of 300,000 titles. However, this isn't enough to make it a top choice. They're one of the services that forces you to use their app to listen to your purchases, and the app isn't perfectly functional. A subscription costs the same as other credit-based services, but you don't get access to bonus titles in addition to the one you purchase with your credit like some of Barnes & Noble's competitors. There's nothing majorly wrong with this service, but it's not particularly impressive either. If you're loyal to the Barnes & Noble brand, we won't discourage you from using their audiobook service, but we don't really see a reason to recommend it to new customers.

Book Lender Review 3 Star Rating

Book Lender

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: starting from $9.99/month
  • Catalog size: 40,000
  • Rent physical audiobooks through a subscription-based model
  • Choose from several plans based on the number of books you can check out at a time

BookLender, founded in 2000, is an innovative service that allows bibliophiles to rent books and audiobooks, like how a library operates. BookLender offers a subscription-based model that grants its members access to a vast selection of titles without the commitment of purchase, or having to wait for a title to be available like you would with a library. BookLender's approach mirrors the DVD rental methods popularized in the early 2000s, adapting it aptly for literature enthusiasts.

Audiobooks available only on CD

BookLender rents audiobooks in physical formats, not digital. This might be a good option for those who don't use smartphones, people who have older models of cars with CD players but not Bluetooth, or those who simply prefer tangible media. One obvious drawback to listening to audiobooks on CD versus on a digital app is that it's easy to lose your place. Even if the CD is broken up into many tracks, if you can't listen to the end of the track every time, you'll have to skip around within it to find your place. And you'll always have to remember which track you were on when starting up the CD again.

Plans based on how many books you can rent at once

BookLender has several membership plans available for both paperbacks and audiobooks, and the plans are based on the number of books that can be checked out at a time. This means that there are no limits on the number of books that can be rented, but only a limit on the number of books that can be checked out simultaneously. Note that if you're interested in using their paperback rental service in addition to audiobooks, you'll need to create a separate account from the one used to activate your audiobook subscription.

Limited vs Unlimited plans

BookLender categorizes its plans into Limited and Unlimited. The Unlimited plan gives you access to current bestsellers as well as past popular titles. You'll also be allowed to order an unlimited number of audiobooks each month. A Limited plan will only let you check out titles from their catalog of current bestsellers, and you'll only be allowed to have a certain number checked out each month. Both the Unlimited and Limited plans include 50% off your first month, cancellations anytime, and no late fees or due dates.

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Two versions of Limited Plan for audiobooks

Here's where it gets a little confusing. BookLender has two types of Limited Plans for audiobooks. The first includes CDs and MP3-CDs, while the other includes only MP3-CDs. But what's the difference between CDs and MP3-CDs? We'll break it down for you.

Not all CD players are compatible with MP3-CDs

CDs and MP3-CDs are both disc formats, but they have some important differences. Standard CDs use uncompressed audio and can hold up to 80 minutes of high-quality sound. They work with most CD players. MP3-CDs store compressed audio files, which means they can hold around 10 times more music than a standard CD, depending on the compression quality. However, not all CD players can read MP3-CDs, and the audio quality may not be as good as that of a standard CD. MP3-CDs also allow you to store other types of files, unlike audio CDs, which can only store audio data.

Limited plans are cheaper

BookLender offers limited plans for audiobooks that are quite affordable. The Limited CD and MP3-CD Audio Plan starts at $15.59 a month ($7.75 for your first month with the 50% discount we mentioned earlier), and you can rent one audiobook. Get two books at a time for $22.99, or three for $32.79 (before discount). The Limited MP3-CD Audio Plan ranges from $9.99 for one audiobook to $28.49 for three (before discount). Renewals are only allowed monthly, as opposed to Unlimited plans, which can also be renewed Semi-Annually and Annually.

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Build a personal library of rented titles with Unlimited plans

BookLender isn't very clear in explaining this, but our understanding is that with the Unlimited plans, you can only order a certain number of books per month based on the plan you choose. However, you can keep them after ordering for as long as you like, and you don't have to return one before your next order can be placed or delivered. Here's a practical example: if you subscribe to BookLender's "1-at-a-time" Unlimited Plan for $26.49 (before any discounts), you can place an order for one audiobook this month and keep it for as long as you wish. Then, when the next month rolls around, you can order another audiobook without needing to return the first one, allowing you to accumulate a growing selection of titles over time.

6 at a time

On the other hand, if you opt for the "6-at-a-time" plan at $107.49 (before discounts), you can order up to six audiobooks in a single transaction. When the next month comes, you're eligible to place another order for six more titles while still holding onto the original set. This option is especially convenient for households where multiple people enjoy different genres or for avid readers who like to have a variety of titles on hand, as you can build a sizable, personalized library without worrying about return deadlines.

Option to keep titles you like

If you rented a book and enjoyed it so much that you want to keep it, you can do so by going to your Orders page and clicking on the Keep Book button located under each title. However, some titles may not have the Keep Book option available due to limited availability.

Always have a book on deck

BookLender's subscription system operates through a "Queue" feature. When a member finds a title they want, they can add it to the end of their queue by clicking the red "Add" button. The number of books shipped is determined by the member's subscription plan, and once a book is returned, the next available selection is automatically shipped. Members can add up to 500 books to their queue, remove titles, and modify the queue's order at any time.

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Reviews are scant, but we trust their reputation

We had difficulty finding customer reviews and testimonials of BookLender outside of their own website, and they're not listed with the Better Business Bureau. However, they have been in business for over 20 years, so if there were any major issues, they likely would have come to light by now. Testimonials from customers on BookLender's own website say that orders are shipped in a few days, customer service is top-notch, and that they have no trouble finding the books they want to read.

Smaller, but solid, catalog

At the time of this review, BookLender had 40,000 audiobook titles available, which is fewer than other services we've reviewed, but understandably so - it's expensive to manufacture audiobooks in physical formats, so naturally some audiobooks, particularly those that aren't likely to sell well, will not be available on CD.

Just right for their niche

We think BookLender is a really interesting service: for nostalgia's sake, we're glad to learn that physical format audiobooks are alive and well. They're not going to be the right service for people who have adapted to a largely digital lifestyle (those who use their smartphones for everything and like it that way), but they'll certainly serve the needs of those outside that demographic.

Chirp Review 3 Star Rating

Chirp

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: Pay-as-you-go model
  • Catalog size: 200,000+
  • No monthly membership fees
  • Rotating selection of discounted audiobooks available across various genres
  • Audiobook bundles available, including entire series of books, at highly discounted promotional rates
  • Audiobook recommendations sent via email based on categories and authors of interest

Founded in 2018, Chirp is an audiobook service that offers its users a rotating selection of discounted audiobooks, enabling audiophiles to delve into new stories without breaking the bank. Unlike some subscription-based services, Chirp operates on a "pay-as-you-go" model, meaning listeners only pay for the titles they're interested in. The platform curates a selection of audiobooks across various genres and offers them at highly discounted promotional rates.

No monthly membership fees

Registering for Chirp is straightforward - simply provide your email address and select categories and authors of interest. Chirp uses this data to send you emails about audiobook recommendations on sale in the categories you have selected. You don't need to enter any payment information for Chirp since there's no membership fee. You only pay for the individual audiobooks you choose to purchase.

Buy a series for the price of one audiobook

You can browse audiobooks by deal, genre, and popularity right from Chirp's homepage. They even offer audiobook bundles where you can purchase entire series of books for as little as $2 and up to $15.

Best Audiobook Stores

Titles for all tastes

In the "Less Than $2" category, you might have to dig to find something worth listening to. Trashy romance novels with covers featuring male models in stages of undress abound - if this is your jam, then you're in the right place. However, if you consider your tastes to be a little more refined, you might want to check out the "Hot Deals" tab where the selection is a bit more curated. Here you can find bestsellers you may have missed when they first came out for around $5.99 each.

Less expensive than credit-based platforms

You'll find the more recent releases and top authors in the New York Times Bestsellers category for around $13-$17 each - about the same price as a credit from a credit-based audiobook service but way less expensive than retail (which is usually in the $25-$35 range).

Only available in North America

Unfortunately, Chirp is only available in the US and Canada for now, so international audiobook listeners won't be able to use it. We couldn't find any plans for Chirp to expand internationally at the time of this review.

Best Audiobook Stores

You don't really own your files

Another downside is that Chirp uses Digital Rights Management (DRM), which means that you can't download the files of the audiobooks you've purchased in your chosen format. Instead, you have to use the Chirp app for Android or iOS to stream or download your audiobooks. You can also stream from your web browser on a Mac or PC, but you can't download titles to these devices.

App is not consistently functional

We also found some reports that the Chirp app is glitchy on both iOS and Android. Users report the app crashing, needing to restart the app before changing Bluetooth connections, and the audio stopping after each chapter - meaning you need to press play again at the end of every chapter. One dissatisfied user noted that as their library grew to 100 titles, managing them became increasingly difficult: the website allows for creating collections, but the app does not allow for viewing them and instead requires scrolling through a large grid of books listed, somewhat inexplicably, by the author's first name, not last.

Customer service complaints

We also found a few reports from customers stating that Chirp support was unreachable. Some reported that their requests for help through the site's email contact form went unanswered for days or weeks.

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You can't buy new audiobooks in the app

We also aren't thrilled that you can't purchase books directly through the Chirp app. You have to buy through Chirp's website first, and then they'll appear in your library in-app.

Service has some drawbacks, but could still provide value

Since you don't need to pay for a membership to sign up for Chirp, there's really no risk involved. Chirp will probably work best for those who don't listen to audiobooks very frequently, or those who already use another audiobook service but would like to save some money when the service runs deals on titles in their Chirp wishlist. However, we do have some concerns: we aren't big fans of Digital Rights Management to begin with, but we'd at least expect that if Chirp is going to force users to use its app to listen to the audio files they've paid for, the app would at least function well. Chirp's app does not. For this failing, we have to dock them a few points.

Audiobooks Now Review 2.5 Star Rating

Audiobooks Now

2.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: pay $5.99 to be eligible for 50% off retail prices
  • Catalog size: 200,000
  • Subscribers receive discounts on purchases
  • Free audiobooks available without membership
  • Over 95% of titles are DRM-free

AudiobooksNow operates on both a subscription-based and individual purchase model. Subscribers benefit from discounts on purchases, while one-time buyers have the option to purchase audiobooks without a subscription at typical retail prices. We couldn't find much information about their background online. However, we did see that they have an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, and the BBB page says that they've been in business for over 20 years.

No gimmicky credits

For $5.99 a month with the Club Pricing Plan, you'll have access to discounts and exclusive offers, such as 50% off your first audiobook purchase each month. (If you don't use your 50% discount, it will roll over to the next month.) AudiobooksNow doesn't use a credit system, so what you see is what you pay. Non-members can buy audiobooks at full price, while members can take advantage of regular discounts of 35%-40%.

Free audiobooks available

You don't need to pay for a membership to take advantage of the titles in the "Free Audiobooks" category. Add as many as you like to your library, and check back monthly for new additions. However, you're not likely to find any award-winning performances here - many of these books are in the public domain and were recorded by novice narrators.

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Free premium

The "Free Premium" section is available only to subscribed members of AudiobooksNow. Here you'll find a few Bestsellers that are a few years old... and a plethora of duds. We also wouldn't recommend browsing this section with kids in the room: some of the covers are pretty racy.

95% of their titles are DRM-free

AudiobooksNow offers over 95% of their titles as DRM-free, meaning you can easily download and transfer MP3 files to your personal devices. However, keep in mind that copyright laws still apply, so you can't share these files with others. DRM-protected titles can be listened to within the AudiobooksNow app or streamed from their website.

Limited selection

We aren't terribly impressed with AudiobooksNow's catalog. Even in the Bestsellers category, some top titles were noticeably missing. This doesn't come as a huge surprise, given AudiobooksNow reports a catalog size of 200,000 audiobooks - about half the size of those of the leading platforms.

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App is intermittently buggy

Several users have reported issues with their audiobooks while using the app, including the audio continuing to play during phone calls, random stops, and inaccurate saving of the listener's place. Although glitches are fixed, new issues seem to arise with each release of the app. Other audiobook apps do not seem to have these problems.

Website has outdated feel

We noticed a couple of typos on the AudiobooksNow website, such as "you can always enjoy a great book, whether you're lying on a beach with your eye closed," and "Download or steam 200,000 amazing audiobooks on the go." We also felt that the website could use some updating to improve its overall user experience.

Doesn't stand out

AudiobooksNow sets itself apart from competitors by not using a credit system, but other than that, there isn't much to get excited about. However, it's worth noting that it's one of the few services that allows you to download files for playback independently of their app. Overall, we rate AudiobooksNow as below average for audiobook retailers due to limited selection, an intermittently buggy app, and an outdated website with typos.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

And, thanks to technological advancements, it's easier than ever to access audiobooks. It used to be that you had to confine yourself to a room with a CD player to listen to an audiobook, but now, anyone with a smartphone has thousands of audiobooks available at their fingertips. Plus, as audiobooks have grown in popularity, so has their production quality.

Audiobook narrators aren't merely reciting the words on the e-reader in front of them in the recording booth; they are acting out the story. Accomplished actors and seasoned voice artists can bring stories to life, adding an auditory dimension to characters and settings that can sometimes rival or surpass the imagination. Narrators are often chosen because the story resonates with them personally, adding an extra layer of emotion to the performance and making it feel more human.

For those apprehensive about putting on their headphones instead of picking up a book, it's worth addressing some common misconceptions about audiobooks. Contrary to the belief that listening to a book is "cheating" or less intellectually engaging than reading, many studies show that the comprehension levels between reading and listening are strikingly similar. What's more, audiobooks can be particularly beneficial for those with reading difficulties, allowing them to enjoy literature they might otherwise struggle with. They are not a replacement for traditional reading but rather a complementary medium, broadening the horizons of literary engagement.

When it comes to audiobook services, there are several types to choose from. First, there are library-based services which partner with local libraries to allow users to digitally borrow audiobooks. Much like a traditional library, you can "check out" titles for a specific time frame using your library card. However, be mindful that sought-after titles might have waiting lists. Another option is subscription-based services. With a recurring fee, usually monthly, users can access a broad range of audiobooks. Depending on the service, you might get a set number of credits to pick audiobooks each month or even enjoy unlimited listening. Lastly, there are pay-per-title services where, rather than a subscription, you buy each audiobook separately. While there's no monthly commitment, the upfront cost for each audiobook can be higher. The upside is that you typically get to keep the audiobook forever once you've bought it.

When deciding on the right audiobook service, several considerations can help guide your decision:

  • Cost: Determine your budget for audiobooks. Some services might have a higher monthly fee but offer more benefits, while others might be more cost-effective for infrequent listeners.
  • Subscription model: Evaluate if you'd prefer a monthly subscription, a pay-per-title approach, or a library-based system. Your listening habits (how many books you listen to each month) can help inform this choice.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM): DRM policies can restrict how you use, transfer, and download audiobooks. Make sure the platform gives you the necessary flexibility and control, as owning a title doesn't always guarantee freedom over it. A more restrictive DRM can limit your ability to move titles between devices or even result in losing access to your books if the service shuts down. Choose platforms that respect your rights as a user.
  • Selection: Check the variety and volume of titles available, especially in genres or topics you prefer. Some services might excel in fiction, while others might cater more to non-fiction or educational content.
  • Trial period: See if the service offers a free trial. This can be a risk-free way to gauge the platform's interface, selection, and overall experience.
  • Usability: The user interface and ease of navigation are essential. You want a service that's intuitive and doesn't frustrate you every time you want to find a new book or pick up where you left off.
  • Offline listening: Be sure the platform lets you download titles for offline access, vital for travel or areas with spotty internet.
  • Playback features: Look for features like bookmarking, sleep timers, chapter navigation, and personalized recommendations that can enhance your listening experience.

If you want a detailed overview of the best audiobook services out there, Top Consumer Reviews has your back. We trust our ranked evaluations will guide you to the audiobook platform that best matches your listening habits and lifestyle!

The Best Audiobook Stores Compare Audiobook Stores Compare Audiobook Store Reviews What are the best Audiobook Stores Best Audiobook Store Reviews

Audiobook Store FAQ

It's exactly what you'd think: an audio recording of a narrator reading a novel, biography, or any other printed work. Some audiobooks are strictly narration, while others incorporate sound effects and other engineering to enrich the listening experience.
It's hard to multitask with a printed book in your hand, but listening to an audiobook gives people more freedom. Driving while listening to a self-help book, enjoying a thriller while on the treadmill, or relaxing outdoors while having a favorite narrator read the latest bestseller are just a few ways book-lovers can essentially have their cake and eat it too. Plus, for anyone who struggles to read print - because of dyslexia, vision impairment, and so on - audiobooks are a must.
A better question might be "what titles can't you get" ! From classic stories like Pollyanna and Dracula to the top 10 books on the NYT Best Sellers list, the possibilities are nearly endless. History buffs, sci-fi fanatics, autobiography lovers, romance addicts, and every other type of reader can find what they're looking for when it comes to audiobooks.
You can do either one - or both! Some audiobook services are subscription-based, giving you access to a certain number of titles for your monthly fee. Others provide titles a la carte, so you buy only what you want, when you want. There are even audiobook providers that let you rent what you read!
Not really. You can expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $30 for a single title, comparable to what you'd pay for the book itself. If you choose a membership service, fees usually range from $10 to $30 per month, depending on how many titles you'd like to have at any given time.
Not usually. You can stream titles if you prefer, but most audiobook platforms allow you to download the title to your phone or computer for offline listening. Of course, you'll need to be connected to the internet to select your book and download it, but you're free to disconnect once you have the title saved to your device.
That depends, both on the audiobook service you select and the app or platform you use for listening (and sometimes those two aspects are integrated). Some listeners appreciate being able to listen to titles at twice the speed (even though it comes out a little like a chipmunk!). You can also find services that let you sync up an audiobook with the print title, letting you essentially follow along in the book while it's read to you.
This is a hotly-debated topic! Some people say that audiobooks are a "lazy" way of reading - or that they don't even count as "reading" a book because you don't use your eyes on a page. Others fiercely advocate for audiobooks as an effective method of letting all people love books, even if the actual act of reading the words isn't part of the process. At the end of the day, if you enjoy audiobooks as a part of your life, we say "keep listening!"

So You Want to Hear About Audiobooks

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!

The Best Reviews of Audiobook Stores