5 Alternatives to Audible
In the PlayAway audio books aisle of my library, I overheard (aka eavesdropped) a woman tell her daughter, “I should start listening to these, it would save me a lot of money on Audible.” I had to interject. I’ve found that in such situations when I start with, “I’m a book blogger and…” people are generally more inclined to listen. It gives me more credibility than if I’m just a nosy lady who reads a lot, butting into others’ conversations!
Thankfully, this gal was interested in hearing how I listen to multiple audio books per week for free or close to it. I even took out my phone and showed her what the formats look like.
So yes, directing people away from Audible is something I’m passionate about. Not that I have a problem with Audible, I’ve used it. They have a great selection, the format is user friendly, they occasionally offer sales, and their Originals are fun. AND it’s expensive if you want to listen to a lot of books, and that’s what I’m always encouraging folks to do.
For the most part, the services I’m listing below are considerably cheaper than Audible, but not all. They’re all quite different though, so I’ll give you some pros and cons based on my own experiences trying them out.
5 Alternatives to Audible
*Note: I am using these apps on an iPhone8. Availability and appearance can vary on different devices.
Libby and Overdrive
These are free apps you install on your device. Log in with your library card and borrow electronic copies of audio books. (They offer e-books as well.)
These two are utilized by many public libraries, and are quite similar. Overdrive was around first, and is compatible with more devices, including Kindle Fire, Macs, PCs, and Windows mobile devices. Libby is a newer app released by OverDrive. It’s a bit more streamlined. Both have the same titles, just are different formats to access the same digital library collection.
- Pros: Free, user friendly, easy to move to different sections and chapters, you can recommend titles for library to add to their collection
- Cons: Limited availability of titles, long hold times, limited time frame to have content
*Pro-tip: The key here is to be strategic with your holds. (The number you have will vary with your library, mine is 10.) I usually have 6-8 books on hold at all times. Currently the shortest hold I’m waiting for is two weeks, the longest is 14. You can also create a Wish List of titles and see which of those are currently available for loan.
This one is similar to Libby and Overdrive in that you access the content with your library card. With my library you can borrow 5 items per month from a wide collection of audio books, e-books, music, and movies/shows. Check out time is 21 days, this varies by library as well. At the end of the check-out period, the book is automatically returned.
- Pros: Free, all titles are available all the time
- Cons: Limit to how many you can check out per month, not easy to skip to different parts/chapters
A subscription service that offers unlimited reading for audio books, ebooks, and magazines. At the time of this writing, they offer a 14 day Free Trial. After that, it’s $8.99 per month.
- Pros: Can listen to an unlimited number of titles, good selection including new releases
- Cons: Costs money, not easy to skip to different parts/chapters, book will stream over wi-fi unless you download it to your device
A website that offers limited time deals on audiobooks, with an app for listening on mobile devices. Many of their prices are screaming deals, some as low as 99 cents.
- Pros: Free to download app and peruse selections, no limit to how many you can buy, steep discounts
- Cons: Costs money per audio book, availability of titles varies
This service has same model as Audible, BUT you’re essentially buying the audiobooks from a local independent bookstore. When you create an account, you select your favorite indie bookstore, and that store receives revenue for your purchases. You can buy audiobooks a la carte or go with a monthly membership. As of this writing, Libro.fm offers your first month free, then it’s $14.95 per month which includes one audiobook. Additional books are 30% off. When you sign up, use code SWITCH to get 3 audiobooks for the price of one!
- Pros: Wide selection, support your local Indie bookstore without leaving home
- Cons: Costs money
I’m sure you’re wondering which I use. Overdrive is my preferred method by far. But since I can’t always access the title I want exactly when I want to, I also subscribe to Scribd, although I’m only in my second month and I’m finding it pretty glitchy so I might not continue for long.
How do you listen to audio books? Are you a die hard fan of Audible and not interested in going elsewhere?
I’d love to hear about your experiences with any of these services, or others I didn’t mention!