Which Of These 7 Audiobook Services Is Right For You?

Which Of These 7 Audiobook Services Is Right For You?

Years ago, if you wanted to buy an audiobook, you had to purchase a bulky set of CDs from a store. Then you lugged them home or into your car and you had to painstakingly load them one at a time into the CD player. And if one had a scratch, you could miss a whole section of a book.

Now, it's all about downloading a file and being able to listen to it within seconds. The best audiobook services have the latest bestsellers, a collection of classics, and a lot of choices in between to keep you listening to book after book.

With the progression of this technology, many people have made the permanent switch to audiobooks over traditional ones. After all, who wouldn't want to listen to Stephen Fry read the Harry Potter series? Or Reese Witherspoon read Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman?

There are a lot of audiobook services out there, but we've narrowed the list down to the seven best: Audiobooks.com, Instaread, Audible By Amazon, Scribd, Hoopla, and Spotify. We've also compared and contrasted a number of their features so you know which service is best for you.

Table of Contents

Audiobooks.com

Audiobooks.com is our favorite audiobook service, because it offers a little more than just audiobooks. You can listen to podcasts and get access to an extra book each month with their VIP Rewards.

How Audiobooks.com Works

You'll get a free 30-day trial that will allow you to choose an audiobook from Audiobooks.com's library of over 150,000 titles.

In addition, you'll get your choice of one book from their VIP selection. Their VIP selection changes monthly so you'll always have access to something new. As an example, some of their recent VIP books include:

  • The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  • Glass by Ellen Hopkins
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

When your free trial ends, you’ll get the same choice of one free regular book and one free VIP book every month. Plus, you'll have access to Audiobook.com‘s monthly deals and discounts.

How Much Does It Cost

You'll get 30 days for free, and then you'll have to pay a monthly fee of $14.95 plus the purchase of any books you'd like to listen. You do get one free book per month with your subscription.

What Books Are Available

To give you a sense of some of the titles available with Audiobooks.com, here's a snapshot of their most popular content.

There are plenty of popular books you'll have access to, but also tons of lesser-known authors you shouldn't overlook.

What Devices Work With Audiobooks.com

Audiobooks.com is available for all iOS and Android devices.

Other Features That Set Audiobooks.com Apart

In addition to audiobooks, Audiobooks.com gives you access to over 700,000 podcasts, so you should never run out of things to listen to.

Audiobooks.com claims that their VIP Rewards system, which gives you an extra monthly credit, is a special perk they offer. However, as you'll see below, many audiobook services now offer the same deal.

Get started listening to Audiobooks.com here.

Instaread

If you used CliffsNotes in school to help you get through a test you forgot to read the book for, Instaread is your dream come true. They give you the most important info in the book–and all in just 15 minutes.

How Instaread Works

Instaread offers books summaries that you can listen to or read in just 15 minutes. You can get them in audiobook format or in e-book form.

With your subscription, you'll get unlimited access to all of Instaread's titles and the ability to download your books so you can listen/read offline.

How Much Does It Cost

Instaread is cheaper than many other audiobook services. It costs $7.49 per month if you go with a 12-month subscription, or $8.99 if you sign up for a month-to-month subscription. You'll get a seven-day free trial no matter which you choose.

What Books Are Available

Instaread offers more than 800 titles. They offer tons of genres, including:

  • Fiction
  • Business & economics
  • Politics
  • Social science
  • Self-help
  • History
  • Health & wellness

What Devices Work With Instaread

You can listen to Instaread on any Android device or any iOS app.

Other Features That Set Instaread Apart

Instaread is unique because of the service they offer. If you're looking to get the most out of a book but you just don't have the time to sit down and read every night, Instaread offers a solution. Their 15-minute snapshots can help you learn about a variety of subjects while you're on the go.

Start listening to Instaread today.

Audible by Amazon

Perhaps the best-known audiobook service, Audible has almost every book you might want since it's operated by Amazon. Plus, they offer tons of other features that many other audiobook services don't yet offer.

How Audible Works

I'll start by saying you do not need to be an Amazon Prime member to get Audible. That being said, Prime members do get access to more features than non-Prime members. If you're a Prime member, you'll get access to tons of Audible's original podcasts and access to newspapers like The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

Your free 30-day trial will include one audiobook and two Audible Originals, which can include anything ranging from theater to journalism to literature. After your trial ends, you'll get the same deal.

How Much Does It Cost

Without a Prime membership, Audible costs $14.95 per month (after your 30-day free trial), plus the cost of any books you'd like to listen to, so it's on par with Audiobooks.com. However, with Audible, you'll get two free books each month, rather than one.

If you have Amazon Prime, you'll also need to pay $119 per year or $12.99 per month for the monthly service fee.

What Books Are Available?

Audible has the most options by far when it comes to audiobooks. As you'll see below, they offer almost any genre.

In addition, for those who love romance novels, Audible is the best place for you! They offer Audible Escape, which features a ridiculous amount of romance audiobooks. However, you'll need to pay an additional price for Audible Escape.

The first month is free for new Audible Escape subscribers. If you don't have Audible, you'll pay $12.95/month after the free 30-day trial. If you are an Audible or Kindle Unlimited member, you can get Audible Escape for just $6.95/month.

What Devices Work With Audible 

You can use Audible on almost any device, including:

  • Windows and Mac computers
  • Kindle Paperwhite (10th Gen)
  • Fire Tablets
  • Kindle Oasis (9th Gen)
  • Kindle Oasis (8th Gen)
  • Garmin & TomTom GPS Devices
  • Kindle (8th Gen)
  • Sandisk MP3 Players
  • Creative MP3 Players

Other Features That Set Audible Apart

One nice thing about Audible is that it's always 100% ad-free. And if you find that you don't like an audiobook, you can swap it for another one for free.

One of the coolest additional features of Audible is the guided wellness programs they offer. You can do yoga, exercise, or go through a guided meditation.

Listen to your favorite with Audible right now.

Related: How To Make The Most Of Your Amazon Prime Membership

Scribd

How Scribd Works

Scribd is unique in that they offer an unlimited number of audiobooks, books, magazines, newspapers, and more at a much lower price than most audiobook subscriptions. You'll start off with the normal 30-day free trial, and you can cancel your service at any time.

How Much Does It Cost

Scribd is one of the cheapest audiobook services at just $8.99 per month after your free 30-day trial. This includes unlimited free reading.

What Books Are Available

Scribd offers many of the same popular titles that the other audiobook services do, but they also offer eBooks, magazines, and journalism sources.

College students may especially love Scribd because they offer “snapshots”, which are only 15 minutes long and give you key insights into certain books.

What Devices Work With Scribd

Scribd can be used on the following devices:

  • iOS devices
  • Android devices
  • Kindles with the Fire OS 4 system

Other Features That Sets Scribd Apart

The biggest feature that sets Scribd apart is the fact that you can listen to (or read) an unlimited number of books each month for free instead of being limited to one or two. This makes it the cheapest audiobook service around.

Listen for less at Scribd.

Blinkist

Blinkist

Blinkist is on a mission to bring some of the best nonfiction to minds of the busiest of us. If you really don’t have time to read a book from cover to cover, you may find Blinkist’s short summaries to be exactly what you need.

With a simple, no-fuss, user experience, you will be well on your way to soaking up all of the important information found inside of some of the best nonfiction books out there. All you need is 15 minutes (on average) to get all of the top points from a book. If you want to dive a little deeper, Blinkist offers many different titles as full audiobooks for you to listen to while you go about your busy life.

How Blinkist Works

Blinkist keeps things pretty simple. Their team reads some of the best nonfiction books, summarizes all of the important information within the pages, and gives you the option to read, or listen to, their abridged versions.

One of the best features of Blinkist is their audiobooks. They offer thousands of titles, with 40 more coming in each month. You can even access titles offline within the Blinkist app!

How Much Does It Cost

To get access to Blinkist’s vast array of nonfiction titles, you will pay $15.99 a month. If you end up getting hooked, which isn't hard, you can save yourself over $90 a year by purchasing a yearly subscription for only $99.99.

If you want to enjoy Blinkist without the cost, you can read one free, pre-selected title a day on the house!

What Books Are Available

Blinkist Titles

On Blinkist, you can access 3,000 titles. You’ll find genres that range from career & success to psychology to money and investments. Some titles include:

  • The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
  • Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
  • The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington
  • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  • A Monk’s Guide to Happiness by Gelong Thubten

What Devices Work With Blinkist

Blinkist is easy to use on the go or while at your desk. It is available for use on iOS and Android devices, as well as tablets, desktop computers, and Kindle.

Other Features That Set Blinkist Apart

Blinkist doesn’t just offer up summaries and audiobooks, they also host original shows and podcasts all within their app with the help of some of today’s most well-respected authors and innovators. With topics ranging from business to relationships and beyond, you are sure to be able to find something that piques your interest.

Blinkist opens up a whole world of nonfiction to people who otherwise wouldn’t have time. Because they offer all of their titles in condensed text versions and sound bites, not having time to read is no longer an excuse to not learn.

Get started reading more in less time with Blinkist.

Hoopla

How Hoopla Works

Hoopla is unique in that it operates through your local public library. They partner with local libraries to offer movies, music, e-books, comics, TV shows, and of course, audiobooks.

You can simply check out an audiobook as you would at your local library; it just all happens online.

How Much Does It Cost

Hoopla runs through your local library, so it's free to sign up and use as long as you have a library card.

What Books Are Available

Hoopla says they have hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, and more are added every day. When I visited the audiobooks section, I found a large selection of books, with popular titles such as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

To give you a sense of the genres they offer, here's what their website features:

Hoopla

What Devices Work With Hoopla

Hoopla can be used on the following devices:

  • iOS devices
  • Androids
  • Apple TV
  • Android TV
  • Fire TV
  • Roku TV

Other Features That Set Hoopla Apart

Hoopla isn't complicated to use, but there are a couple of features that make Hoopla unique, including:

  • The ability to download audiobooks for offline listening
  • You can listen through most televisions
  • It's completely free to use (as long as you have a library card)

Get started with Hoopla here.

Related: 10 Things You Can Get For Free At Your Library

Spotify

How Spotify Works

Spotify audiobooks are built right into Spotify's whole library, so all you need to do is search for the audiobook you're looking for in your normal Spotify player.

How Much Does It Cost

There is a free version of Spotify and you can listen to audiobooks, but you'll be frequently interrupted by long ads.

You can get Spotify Premium for $9.99/month (or $4.99/month if you're a student and $14.99/month for a family, up to five people) and you won't have to listen to annoying ads, you can skip through audiobooks, and you can download audiobooks.

You'll get a 30-day free trial when you first sign up for Premium.

What Books Are Available

While there are plenty of books to listen to, Spotify's selection is limited compared to the other audiobook services.

Many of the books offered by Spotify are classics like The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, and Great Expectations.

What Devices Work With Spotify

You can use Spotify on pretty much any device, including:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Current desktop computers
  • Speakers
  • TVs
  • Cars
  • Games consoles
  • Smart watches
  • Smart displays
  • Voice assistants

Other Features That Set Spotify Apart

Spotify is primarily a music streaming service, so if you only listen to audiobooks every once in a while and want one of the best music services, Spotify is your best choice.

Start listening to Spotify today.

Audiobook Services Compared

For a side-by-side comparison of the best audiobook services, the table below should help you make the best decision for you.

 CostBook Credits OfferedDevicesUnique Features
Audiobooks.com$14.95 after a 30-day free trialOne regular book and one VIP book every monthiOS and Android devicesAccess to over 700,000 podcasts
Instaread$7.49/month for a 12-month subscription, or $8.99/per month if you pay month-by-monthUnlimited access to all Instaread titlesiOS and Android devices800+ titles
Audible$14.95 after a 30-day free trial or $12.99 per month if you're an Amazon Prime memberOne book of your choice, two Audible OriginalsWindows and Mac devices, most Kindles, Sandisks, Creative MP3 players, and Garmin and Tom Tom GPS devices100% ad-free, access to Audible Escape (romance novels)
Scribd$8.99 per month after your free 30-day trialUnlimited titlesiOS devices, Android devices, Kindles with the Fire OS 4 systemYou can read an unlimited number of titles each month
Blinkist$15.99 per month or $99.99 per year1 pre-selected title per dayiOS and Android devices, tablets, desktop computers, and KindleOffers summaries and audiobooks, original shows and podcasts all within their app
HooplaFreeUnlimited titlesiOS devices, Androids, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Roku TVThe ability to download audiobooks for offline listening
Spotify audiobooksFree with ads, $9.99 per month with Spotify PremiumUnlimited titlesMost listening devicesSpotify is a great way to pair music and audiobook listening

Summary

Audiobooks are becoming increasingly more popular. They're great for folks with long commutes, anyone who works from home, or parents looking to get their kids more engaged in literature. We know that one of these seven great audiobook services will fit your listening needs and have you cruising through book after book in no time!

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Which Of These 7 Audiobook Services Is Right For You?

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7 thoughts on “Which Of These 7 Audiobook Services Is Right For You?”

  1. I love using Libby app by Overdrive, which is also free at many libraries (USA and abroad). I have recently listened to several FI-related audiobooks there recently, including “Playing with FIRE” and Tanja Hester’s “Work Optional”. Highly recommend for free audiobooks!

  2. We love using Libby through our local library! Our library system has tons of great stuff. Popular titles can have a bit of a wait just like physical books at the library, but if you put plenty of titles you’re interested in on hold, you will almost always have something good to listen to. And it is all unlimited and free!

  3. I’m also a big fan of Libby from the library! The only downside is that they come due before I’ve finished listening. The books are not always available for a renewal right away…

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