The best audiobook services can provide you with hours of entertainment, allowing you to download and listen to the latest literary works from your favorite authors. Whether you’re planning for a road trip or need something for your commute into work, subscribing to one of these audiobook platforms can help you fill up those hours where you need something to pass the time.
We’ve tried and tested all of the best audiobook services currently available and our ranking is below. In general, we think that most people will prefer the content and titles you find on Audible. Although the platform only gives you one free download a month (you’ll have to pay for more) we did find that the highest concentration of popular new releases is available through this company. It also has great podcasts for you to enjoy, and while you might be able to find these elsewhere, it’s convenient to have all of your audio entertainment in one place.
1. Audible: Best audiobook service overall
Yes, this is the most expensive service, but it’s unparalleled when it comes to its choice of titles. When we were testing out the platform, we found pretty much all of the most in-demand, new release titles were available on this website (95%) so you’re getting the top-rated stuff here. It also has an easy-to-use app, which works across Android and iOs. Throw in the fact that you can get a huge range of podcasts through this website and it clearly comes out as the winner.
It’s not cheap, at $14.95 a month, but for that price, you get one free download every 30 days. There’s also usually a free trial period available, for the first month or so, and regular sales for members too. You can sometimes pick up classic titles for a couple of dollars, and Audible-exclusives are regularly advertised on the platform.
Unlike some other audiobook services, Audible lets you keep your downloads for good – even if you cancel your subscription. As such, you can quickly build up a nice library of recordings to return to. The company also has a fairly generous returns policy, which allows you to swap your choice of audiobook if you start listening to it and decide it’s not to your taste.
2. Audiobooks.com: A superb app, and a wide choice
Audiobooks.com has a very similar offering to Audible and will satisfy most users in exactly the same way. There are over 150,000 books on this service, and you get three free books for signing up. There’s a slight caveat to this offer, though, as you only get one free book from the Premium section, where all the big new releases are, and two free books from the VIP section, where the majority of the remainder of modern books are.
Much like Audible, once you’ve bought and downloaded books, you get to keep them even if you decide to stop subscribing. There are 8,000+ free books on there too (many of which are a little niche), for when you want to just try something new out at no cost, and there is also a massive number of podcasts too – the current count is 700,000+. However, it’s the app and extra features that make Audiobooks.com stand out – you’ll get reminders for new episodes of your favorite podcasts, recommendations, and there’s even a sleep timer for audiobooks, which means they’ll automatically cut out at a certain time. Handy if you fall asleep listening to books, as many people do.
Overall, it’s a great offering. If you’ve not bought into Amazon, which owns Audible, then this is a superb alternative. Sure, the selection isn’t quite as large, but there are so many podcasts on here – for free – that you get good value regardless.
3. Scribd: Best unlimited service
Scribd is an excellent all-round subscription service, that genuinely offers unlimited reading across a range of books, audiobooks, magazines, and papers. For an $8.99 monthly fee you have access to a good – but not market-leading – number of audiobooks, and you can consume as many as you like, at your own pace. The downside, however, is that you don’t get to keep them once your Scribd subscription expires, so you’re really only renting all the content on the site.
The app is easy to use too, and it’s available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, so should cover all the smartphones and tablets in your home. There is a 30 day trial, which gives you access to everything in the library, and you’ll get a warning email the first time you’re due to be charged the monthly fee. What’s more, you can even buy gift cards for Scribd, so you can give the gift of reading to someone for a special occasion, which is a nice touch.
The only real downside is the fact you can’t keep books after you’re finished subscribing to Scribd, and while there are loads of things to read and listen to here, you do sometimes lack extras like good literary podcasts. Overall, though, this very much feels like Netflix for books, so if you like the sound of that – and want to save a bit of money – this is a good one to sign up for.