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Libro Review

Saturday, March 2nd

2024 Audiobook Store Reviews

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.

Best Audiobook Stores

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.

Best Audiobook Stores

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.

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.

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!"
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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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