There are now more audio book apps than ever and they all have something special to add. Here are a few to consider.
When you’re a busy professional on the go, you probably want to have something to listen to on the way to work. While music is a great and perfect way to relax, sometimes you wish the novel would take you away or sharpen your skills with a business book or self-help book.
Audio books can help you with that, and they have never been easier to access. It’s past time to buy or rent a CD to get lost or scratched and try to remember where you last stopped. Smartphones bring the world of books at your fingertips.
There are many apps to choose from, so here are a few that might interest you.
The most popular and well known audio book app is Audible and I have used it many times. It is the largest seller and author of audio books in the United States. Founded in 1998 and bought by Amazon in 2008, Audible creates more than 10,000 audio books a year. In 2013, The New York Times said it may be the largest employer of actors in New York.
Audible Plus membership ($ 7.95) gives users free unlimited access to a selection of titles with the option to purchase other titles. Audible Premium Plus ($ 14.95) also includes one credit per month, which is usually equal to one book. There is also the Audible Premium Plus Annual ($ 229.50), which includes 24 credits per year.
Good: A seemingly unlimited number of titles to choose from, a simple and easy user interface, and supported by Amazon.
Bad: Monthly costs are high, especially if you don’t listen to audio books often. Buying a la carte books is also quite expensive.
Audio is available on iOS and Android.
The LibroFM application is very similar in structure to Audible. The main difference is that instead of buying books from Amazon, you need to support your local bookstore. Visit the website of your favorite independent bookstore and you’ll probably see the Libra logo. There you can create an account and get started.
Good: Large range of choices; support independent bookstores.
Bad: I struggled a bit with the app. When I searched for a book on the phone, I didn’t get results, even for the books and authors I found on the site. When I contacted the company, a representative told me that I had to order the books on the website and then download them to the app. She also said that a new edition of the iOS app will be released soon that will allow browsing in the app.
A monthly subscription to Libro ($ 14.99) includes one audiobook credit or you can join for free and purchase audio books to order.
It is available on iOS and Android.
Libby by Overdrive is the app you want if you love your library. With the library card, you can listen to audio books or read e-books for free. Download the app, find the local library on the list, and sign in with your card information. You can also borrow e-books and never have to leave your home. It also has a feature where you can tag books that interest you so you can return to them when you’re ready to borrow.
Good: Free books; simple interface.
Bad: You have a time limit. If the book does not have a waiting list, you can restore it and continue listening. If there is a waiting list, you have to go back and go back to the list to listen to the rest – it can be frustrating.
It is available on iOS and Android.
Let’s face it: Audio books are expensive. The reason is understandable – publishers have to pay for rights, readers, producers and more. But sometimes you just can’t afford all that scratch. Chirp, BookBub, is the answer.
Chirp sells audio books at a discount, up to 95% lower in retail. The parent company BookBub, founded in 2012, sells e-books at a deep discount. It launched Chirp, its audiobook department, in 2019.
Good: Very good prices, sometimes up to $ 1.99; simple interface; free membership.
Bad: Limited selection of books.
You can sign up for a daily newsletter that sends out offers for audio books, so you’ll never miss a good deal.
Chirp is available on iOS and Android.
Founded in 2007, Scribd is an audio and e-book subscription service that offers unlimited audio books, e-books, digital magazines, podcasts, sheet music and documents for a single monthly fee. The ability to read (and add your own) documents is an interesting feature and includes the Enterprise Applications theme. A brief scan of documents in this category revealed a 464-page list of information technology directors of major corporations.
Good: Many titles available in many formats; unlimited subscription use.
Bad: The selection of audio books is not as wide as I would like. I couldn’t find some titles that I searched quickly.
A monthly subscription costs $ 9.99 per month after a 30-day free trial. Available on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire.
LibriVox was founded in 2005 to enable the “Acoustic Release of Publicly Owned Books”. Translation: free audio books! Readers are all volunteers, and all books are in the public domain, meaning copyright has expired (mostly old books). The catalog contains 27,000 free audio books.
According to a blog post in 2020, the catalog included “1,922 projects in 43 languages other than English, and a total of 7,982 solo recordings of novels, poetry, and nonfiction.”
If you are learning a new language, you can listen to someone reading in that language, either a children’s book or a classic novel.
The app and books are free, but are supported by ads. The Pro version is a one-time purchase of $ 1.99.
Good: Free audio books; simple interface; non-profit; cheap pro version.
Bad: The books are in the public domain only; read by volunteers (reading may not be perfect).
LibriVox is available on iOS and Android.
Kobo is known for its e-readers, which compete with Amazon’s ubiquitous Kindle, but Kobo is also a seller of e-books and audio books. The audiobook business was originally founded as Shortcovers, but was bought by Rakuten Kobo in 2016. Users can now use the app to purchase ebooks and audiobooks or join a monthly subscription, which includes one audiobook download per month.
Good: Good selection of books; easy application interface; cheaper than Audible.
Bad: I wish the play / pause button was bigger while driving. I messed around a bit trying to get it started.
Buy audio books at full price or pay $ 9.99 per month for one book per month, in addition to a free month.
Image: Audio book headquarters
Image: Audio book headquarters
This app plays publicly owned audio books read by amateurs, and has more than 470,000 premium and 120,000 free audio books in its pile. Includes LibriVox and Podiobooks. Bonus: Also includes old-time radio shows.
Good: No subscription; only purchase by order.
Bad: Only available on iOS.
Founded in 2015, Serial Box started as an audio entertainment company that creates original fiction podcasts and audio book series. It focuses on comics, science fiction, fantasy, horror and similar genres. These are not your typical books read for sound – this is original content. NPR called it “HBO for Readers”.
Good: Quality content and low subscription price; fantastic if you are dealing with the mentioned genres; cheap subscription.
Bad: Content is limited to these genres and you will need another app for popular books from other publishers.
In April 2021, the Serial Box was renamed Realm and now has a subscription service ($ 3.99 per month) instead of a custom purchase, but that doesn’t include DC and Marvel titles. You can try some titles for free in other podcast apps, even though they are supported by ads.