The Best Audible Alternatives for Audiobooks – 2019
Looking for a cheaper alternative to Audible? Want to try something else for a while? This page will introduce five Audible alternatives for listening to audiobooks in 2019.
Depending on where you live, reading is either increasing or decreasing. Audiobooks are just one of the many ways books remain in the mainstream and have been around for decades. Originally available on cassette tape, then CD, then DVD and now streamed, the audiobook has maintained pace with music and has more than kept up with the times.
I listen to audiobooks all the time. They are perfect for long journeys where music or radio quickly becomes boring. Ideal for subway or train journeys where WiFi may be weak or spotty and excellent as an alternative to music, TV or movies. I can think of few better ways to spend a journey than by listening to a book read by someone I recognize.
Audible is an Amazon service and very good at what it does. It uses a convoluted credit system to grant access to books. In return for $14.95 a month, you get access to 1 audiobook and 2 out of 6 Audible Originals each month. It’s a streaming service with no contract so you can cancel at any time. Once you buy the audiobook, it’s yours to keep even if you cancel your subscription.
It’s a decent service that works on most devices but if you don’t want to plug even more of your life into the Amazon ecosystem, might not work for your needs. Here are some alternatives to Audible.
I’m putting Audiobooks.com first because it works a lot like Audible but is a completely independent company. It charges the same $14.95 a month but doesn’t use those credits like Audible. It offers a subscription or the option just to buy audiobooks without a subscription at decent prices. The site has a similar lineup to Audible but not quite the depth and breadth. If you’re looking for a bestseller or new release, you will find it here but if you’re looking for something obscure, you might not.
Otherwise, this is a very viable alternative to Audible.
LibriVox is a phone app that allows access to free audiobooks. It won’t have new releases or any bestsellers but has over 24,000 titles in its archive. It works a bit like Project Gutenberg that offers access to many books out of copyright, classics, essays and texts not owned by a corporation. LibriVox is run and managed by a team of volunteers who give up their time to format and record the audiobooks. It is well worth supporting even if this doesn’t become your main source of books.
Downpour is another service that offers a subscription or direct purchase. The downside is that it uses the same strange credit system that Audible does. For $12.95 a month you get 1 credit which you can exchange for one book. You can also buy directly with a modest discount to own and keep. Downpour doesn’t use DRM so you really do own the copy of the book and can play it on any device you want.
While it uses credits, the lack of DRM and range of content is comparable to Audiobooks.com and is well worth checking out.
Overdrive is a little different. It doesn’t allow you to buy audiobooks but borrow them from your local library. This is a great idea as few people know you can borrow movies, audiobooks and music from a library as well as paper books. Overdrive covers over 40 countries and requires only your library card. You can then borrow audiobooks over the internet without leaving home. It’s free too!
Scribd is another Audible alternative that enables you to listen to audiobooks. It costs $8.99 a month and offers access to magazines, books, documents and audiobooks through its app. The downside here is that you cannot download most of the audiobooks and don’t end up owning them as far as I can tell. The decidedly unfriendly T&Cs tell you in no uncertain terms that your rights are limited even though the website uses the tagline ‘Read without limits’.
Other than that, the offer includes thousands of titles and has the added bonus of top magazines and newspapers too.
Project Gutenberg is a great Audible alternative if you’re into classics or old books. The project is amazing and ensures books from across the ages remain available to anyone who wants to read them. Most of the titles are in print but the project has an impressive number of audiobooks too. The website is a little old school but the search function works fine. If you like it, support it!