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Audiobooks Now Review

Friday, March 1st

2024 Audiobook Store Reviews

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.

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.

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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!"
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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!

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