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audiobooks

audiobooks button | www.thehairypotato.comFor those who love reading but are on the go, audiobooks are an excellent mechanism for listening to your favorite author’s works while driving in the car, cleaning the house, or doing other forms of multitasking. As commutes are getting worse by the minute, audiobooks offer a way to escape to another world and gain some relief getting through those tough drives. More and more audiobooks are being added every day, but we have a ways to go before all books have a voice option. Here again, the device you plan on primarily using for audiobook listening may sway your ultimate decision, but audiobooks are targeted more for devices such as Android/iOS apps rather than specific reading devices. You can use your eReader device if it has the option (see our review of eReaders for audiobook-ready devices) AND if you have an audiobook service that is compatible with your device.
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Main considerations for audiobook services:

  • Monthly Limits
  • Selection Size
  • Selection Quality
  • Total Download Limits
  • Ability to Keep Audiobooks when service is canceled
  • Compatible Devices
  • Here we have identified 4 Top Picks as the cream of the crop when it comes to audiobook service providers based on price, selection, and device flexibility.

    Top 4 Picks

    Our Pick
    scribd review | www.thehairypotato.com

    Scribd Monthly price $8.99

    Audible, Amazon’s audiobook subscription service, surprisingly does not come in with top billing in this category for one reason alone: a restrictive download policy that allots only one (or two if you are paying extra for this) Audible download per month. Scribd however, at almost half the price of Audible, allows as many downloads as you would like per month with a restriction only on keeping 20 titles in your downloads (this includes books, magazines, etc., as well) at any given time. Unfortunately, some ebook readers can’t connect to Scribd on the web or run the Scribd app, such as the Nook Simple Touch, Kobo, and most versions of the Kindle besides the Kindle Fire. Generally speaking, you won’t be able to use Scribd to its potential with these devices compared to the Kindle Fire, Nook HD, and the Kobo Arc line.
    Cons: You can’t keep any of the downloads when you cancel. Audiobook selection is less than Amazon. Some devices are not compatible.

    audible review | www.thehairypotato.com

    Audible Monthly price $14.95

    Audible is the audibook subscription brought to you by the behemoth bookseller Amazon, which means they hold the winning title for the most amount of audiobooks available – at last count this was over 180,000. The drawback is you only get 1 credit per month to rent an audiobook, restricting you to only 1 audiobook a month with this program. You MAY opt to increase this to 2 if you sign up for the Audible Platinum plan, which runs $22.95 per month. There is also a (2 month free) discount if you opt for the yearly plans instead of monthly, see the different plans by follow the link provided in the title above. You can also subscribe only to the Audible channel for $4.95 a month which gives you access to podcasts. One huge advantage to Audible is that you DO get to keep the audiobook, which is not true for all of the other services.
    Cons: Only one Audible book can be downloaded per month.

    Kindle Unlimited review | www.thehairypotato.com

    Kindle Unlimited Monthly price $9.99

    While Kindle Unlimited is better suited for those who are mostly interested in reading e-books, narration can be selected for many of the available books. For the monthly fee you are able to download as many books or audiobooks as you wish, as long as you only have 10 total titles in your library at any given time. You may switch out the 10 titles at any time though and there is no cap on how many you can switch per month. Currently, there are about 20,000 Kindle Unlimited books with narration available. One nice perk to this program is the ability to use WhisperSync to switch in/out of reading/voice reading modes to keep your reading continuity with both formats. This is also available for any Kindle books that have the narration & WhisperSync option, it’s not restricted to Kindle Unlimited.
    Cons: Limited amount of narrated books.

    OverDrive review | www.thehairypotato.com

    OverDrive/Libby Price: Free

    OverDrive and its newly developed counterpart app named Libby, offer free audiobooks available through your library access. While you may have to wait a bit to check out titles you are interested in, this function is just like normal library check-out and makes it quick and convenient to borrow audiobooks as you would a library book. You may also use these apps to read e-books. You can add more than one library to these apps, depending on how many you have access to. You will have to return these on the due-dates your library access dictates.
    Cons: You are at the mercy of each library’s inventory and policies.

     

    Top 4 Comparison Table

    ScribdAudibleKindle UnlimitedOverDrive/Libby
    Our Review Score 4.5 out of 54.3 out of 5 4 out of 54.6 out of 5
    Best Pick ForUnlimited audiobooks Largest Selection Switching ebook to audiobook Library audiobooks
    Average Price$8.99/month $14.95/month$9.99/month Free
    SummaryScribd is our top pick for audiobook lovers because of their unlimited audiobook downloads without a monthly restrictionUncontested best selection of audiobooks but limits on monthly download are restrictive. A smaller selection of audiobooks than what you will find on Audible but still some audiobook options. Best recommended for those who want primarily e-books. Free audiobooks from your libraries – Free… need I say more?
    Selection of audiobooks Undisclosed but their site claims “hundreds of thousands” of mixed media including audiobooks Over 180,000 Over 20,000 Depends on Library
    Monthly Download Limits Unlimited 1 Unlimited Depends on Library
    Storage Limits 20 titles N/A 10 titles N/A

    Other FREE audiobook sites include:

    Hoopla, Librivox, Lit2Go, Loyal Books, Mind Webs, Open Culture, Podiobooks, Project Gutenberg, Spotify, Storynory, SYNC

    Are there other audiobook services we should have included?

    Let us know by recommending your favorite one here.