Main considerations for audiobook services:
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
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 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 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/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
|Our Review Score||4.5 out of 5||4.3 out of 5||4 out of 5||4.6 out of 5|
|Best Pick For||Unlimited audiobooks||Largest Selection||Switching ebook to audiobook||Library audiobooks|
|Summary||Scribd is our top pick for audiobook lovers because of their unlimited audiobook downloads without a monthly restriction||Uncontested 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.