Reading may be a costly pastime. Libraries do exist, but fewer people seem to utilize them. Instead, many people choose to download ebooks directly to their Kindles or iPads, or, as has become more popular in recent years, listen to an audiobook on Audible.
The problem is that Audible isn’t inexpensive. While $15 a month for an otherwise $20+ audiobook may seem to be a value, there are a plethora of alternative audiobook applications available that are either fully free or much less expensive than Audible.
So, in this post, we’ll check at six of these free or almost free audiobook applications.
The first is Libby, which uses your library card to connect to your local library’s digital collection of ebooks and audiobooks.
Libby has a lovely, user-friendly layout and an audiobook player that is similar to Audible’s. You may change the playing speed, set a sleep timer, skip a few seconds back and forth, add a bookmark, and see chapters. You may also download books for offline listening, like with Audible.
Libby comes with a handful of limitations. For starters, you can only listen to audiobooks from your local library.
Second, Libby handles audiobooks the same as any other library item in terms of borrowing, holding, and renewing. This means that if there is only one “copy” of Where the Crawdads Sing in the library and it is now being used by someone else, you may put the book on hold and Libby will estimate when it will be ready to borrow.
Even so, Libby is essentially free (you pay taxes for your library), so if you live in an area with a substantial local library and don’t mind waiting for books, it’s a terrific Audible option.
Download: Libby for iOS | Android (Free)
2. Chirp Audiobooks
Chirp Audiobooks offers daily discounts on popular audiobooks. These discounts aren’t simply 5-10% off the original price, but are often huge. It’s fairly unusual to discover bargains on Chirp for audiobooks that would normally cost $20 or more. In addition, the audiobooks are yours to keep.
When you buy a book from Chirp’s website, it is automatically downloaded to Chirp’s audiobook player app, which contains all of the essentials: a playback speed slider, bookmarks, a sleep timer, offline listening, and more.
Despite its allure, Chirp suffers from the same drawback as Libby. That is, since audiobook discounts vary on a daily basis, you may not always be able to listen to what you want to listen to. Chirp will, however, propose books in your favourite categories, so if you like finding new books at low costs, Chirp may be for you.
Chirp Audiobooks for iOS | Android are available for download (Free, with in-app purchases)
3. LibriVox Audio Books
Unlike Libby and Chirp, LibriVox has over 50,000 public domain audiobooks that have been entirely created by volunteers, from reading and recording to editing and disseminating. Of course, because to the tremendous benefit of volunteer creation, LibriVox is entirely free.
The LibriVox app is a simple audiobook player with rudimentary functionality. The collection may be searched by title, keyword, author, and even narrator. LibriVox adds new audiobooks to its massive library on a regular basis.
However, since the audiobooks are in the public domain, the majority of the accessible collection consists of older classics. However, if you like classics but don’t want to pay for audiobooks, LibriVox is an excellent Audible substitute.
Download: LibriVox Audio Books for iOS | Android (Free)
4. Loyal Books
Loyal Books is similar to LibriVox in that it has a library of free, public domain audiobooks. While Loyal Books’ audiobook selection is far less than LibriVox’s, it does provide hundreds of ebooks.
You may listen to or download audiobooks, set a sleep timer, go ahead and backward in time, and change the playing speed. Loyal Books also has book reviews, which might assist you decide which ones to listen to.
However, this software has the same drawback as LibriVox. Because the majority of the books are classics, don’t expect to discover contemporary adolescent fiction or trendy self-help books on Loyal Books.
Download: Loyal Books for iOS | Android (Free)
That’s right. You can listen to audiobooks on Spotify.
Finding audiobooks on Spotify might be difficult due to the lack of a specific audiobook area, like there is for podcasts and music. Even again, if you don’t mind doing some research, there are a few decent ones hidden in Spotify’s database. Spotify also has its own audiobook originals.
There are a few clear disadvantages to utilizing Spotify for audiobooks. To begin, unless you already pay for Spotify, you will hear advertisements throughout your listening experience.
Second, Spotify lacks a vast library. Most audiobooks on Spotify, like those on LibriVox and Loyal Books, are in the public domain and hence are frequently classics rather than current hits.
Still, if you already pay for Spotify, you may as well search for an audiobook to see whether it’s available there before paying for one from Audible or another premium service.
Spotify for iOS | Spotify for Android (Free, subscription available)
YouTube is the last on the list. Thousands of audiobooks have been posted as video files to YouTube, believe it or not. And, since YouTube allows you to control the playing speed, using it to listen to audiobooks is similar to using a specialized audiobook program.
YouTube, like many of the other applications on this list, mostly contains public domain audiobooks. So, once again, don’t expect to discover a lot of current audiobooks.
YouTube has another important disadvantage, in addition to the restricted variety of audiobooks. You can’t listen to audiobooks on the YouTube app when your phone is locked unless you pay for YouTube Premium.
YouTube for iOS | YouTube for Android (Free, subscription available)
Hoopla, like Libby, is fully free to everyone in the United States who attaches their library card to the app. You may borrow audiobooks online and listen to them in the app or download them for offline listening.
When listening to an audiobook, you may add a bookmark to immediately preserve your location, as well as a note if there is anything you want to remember. You may adjust the pace of playing, set a sleep timer, and there are even specific settings for working out or driving.
Libby is an excellent Audible substitute since, like Hoopla, you don’t have to pay a dime because it’s funded by your taxes. What is there not to like?
Download: Hoopla for iOS | Android (Free)
Should You Switch From Audible?
That’s all there is to it! Six Audible alternatives that are either free or almost free. Is it, however, worthwhile to move from Audible to one of these apps? Of course, it depends. If you simply listen to books from your reading list, Audible is a superior option due to its enormous library of readily accessible audiobooks.
However, if you don’t mind waiting for an audiobook or if you want to listen to largely older classics, give one of these applications a go. At the very least, they are far less expensive than Audible.
These applications aren’t the only places to get free or inexpensive audiobooks. For example, you may be able to use an Audible discount code or add-on narration for Kindle ebooks.
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