The Best Audiobook Service: 6 Top Options

If you want to find a way to access more books, then an audiobook service is the way to go.

If you want to find a way to access more books, then an audiobook service is the way to go. It is not always easy to sit down with an actual book or an ebook, but when you can download one to a mobile device and listen on the go, that’s a plus.

But how do you choose an Audiobook service that maximizes your experience? Firstly, there are free and paid to meet all listening needs.

Accessing your favorite audiobook for a good price is great, and there are lots of options out there, from an iOS or Android app, to unlimited audiobooks and audiobook deals right at your fingertips.

So, get your headphones and pick a book you have been waiting to listen to.

Choosing the Audiobook Service that’s Right for You

Choosing a service that offers digital audiobooks means getting the books you want for an affordable price. That often means paying for a single book, or getting a monthly subscription.

This will let you access a few books per month or unlimited audiobooks. Let’s break down each audiobook subscription service available:

1. Audible

Audible audiobook service
Audible is flexible as you can buy or lease books to stream or listen to when you are offline

Audible is an audiobook app owned by Amazon and is one of the best services around. It has hundreds of thousands of titles covering all genres. Audible is flexible as you can buy or lease books to stream or listen to when you are offline.

The Audible app works with Android, iOS, Windows, and Amazon devices. It also lets you listen to audiobooks on your Sonos speaker system as well as using either the Audible or Sonos app.

Audible will give you a free trial for 30 days along with one free audiobook. Once those 30 days are over, then the service will cost $15 for each credit.

One credit is good for one book. While that may seem expensive, you can keep any books purchased even if you stop using it.

There are also Audible subscription plans that go up to $230 per year.

If you start listening to a book on a mobile device and then later want to continue on the web, then Audible will store where you left off. There is no need to search to find the last spot listened to.

You don’t have to have an Audible subscription to purchase the audiobooks, but you get 30% off if you are. It integrates with an Amazon account, so discounts appear if you purchase.

Read our Audible review

  • Huge library to choose from
  • You get Audible Originals
  • Seamless device use
  • Able to return books
  • Pricey
  • Books can’t be shared without another Amazon account

2. Overdrive

Overdrive audiobook service
Overdrive is a free audiobook service and all that’s needed is a library card and a local library

Overdrive is a service that is interconnected with over 45,000 libraries. It lets a reader check out audiobooks and eBooks from a mobile device. It’s free, and all that’s needed is a library card and a local library that uses Overdrive.

They have a website that will help the reader find books at various locations.

Whether you are listening to audiobooks or reading eBooks, Overdrive will save your spot when you take a break and then pick up where you left off.

The position in the book is marked, as are any notes, and they are all synchronized, no matter which device is being used. There are limits to how many books can be checked out at one time but returns are easy so space can be found as needed.

  • No cost
  • Accessible on mobile devices
  • Easy synchronization
  • Only accessible with a library card
  • Often has a waiting list for certain books

3. Scribd

Scribd audiobook service
Scribd lets you listen to books, access magazines and other types of written work as well is a bonus

Scribd has always been known for its print material, especially documents such as court and research papers along with magazines. They also now have thousands of audiobooks.

They work on a monthly fee basis rather than per book. Scribd has a 30-day free trial then is $9 per month after that. It works on most mobile devices be it Android or iOS.

While its library is not as in-depth as other services, the price is reasonable, and you will find lots of great audiobooks to listen to. The fact that you don’t just have to listen to books but can access magazines and other types of written work as well is a bonus.

  • Inexpensive
  • Free trial
  • Access to material other than audiobooks
  • Limited library

4. Hoopla

Hoopla audiobook service
Hoopla audiobook service service is free and has a great online reader

Hoopla is similar to OverDrive, as you can look at different types of media from various libraries. All that’s needed is a library membership which is then authenticated and that allows you to access whatever digital items the library has.

Hoopla is flexible as you can look at it by website or mobile device. It works on most current systems including Android and iOS.

Hoopla is similar to a real library as there is a limit to the amount you can check out but it’s also easy to check things back in once they are finished or if borrowing time is up.

The service is free and has a great online reader. You may have to wait sometimes to get a book you want but there are lots of options that can be listened to in the meantime.

  • Free
  • Various types of media available
  • Easy to access
  • Limited library content
  • Limited book availability

5. Google Play

Google Play audiobook service
Google Play has books available in 9 different languages and can be integrated with Google Home as well

While Google Play is known for its large selection of games and apps, it also has audiobooks. It isn’t a subscription, so it pays by the book. There are often deals to be found depending on what you are looking for.

There are lots of titles that can be enjoyed with a children’s audiobook section as well. Google Play has books available in 9 different languages.

Syncing between devices is easy and you can start and stop without having to search for where you last listened. It can be integrated with Google Home as well.

  • Lots of genres to choose from
  • Good prices
  • Easy to access from Google devices
  • No subscription discounts
  • New releases can be pricey

6. Spotify

Spotify audiobook service
Spotify is another option if you already have it for music and podcasts

Spotify has made its name in the music and podcast world, but they have audiobooks as well. They have some interesting things that other sites may not have, such as celebrities reading books like Harry Potter.

Spotify works on a subscription basis, so you simply search and then download. It’s not the easiest of sites to use for audiobooks but it’s another option if you already have Spotify for music and podcasts.

  • An interesting variety of books
  • Included in your music/podcast subscription
  • Easy to download
  • Limited content
  • Hard to navigate the search for audiobooks

Our Testing Criteria

Over the past few years, I’ve bought dozens of books on Audible, Apple, and even Google Play. I bought these books via subscription and direct download. I also commissioned another writer to test some of the audiobooks services in this post and write up their personal impressions.

The Best Audiobook Service: Final Thoughts

The options for finding a good audiobook service is growing. There are now substantial online libraries of paid, free, and loaned audiobooks that are available.

No matter what genre you want or what budget you have, there are great audiobook services that will make listening easy and accessible.

That said, if you download and listen to audiobooks regularly, Audible is a great choice due to the combination of affordability and their great listens guarantee.

Further Reading

Our Always Up-to-Date List of Great Books to Read

Best Productivity and Time Management Books

Best Self-help Books

The Best Writing Books

Best Leadership Books

Best Grammar Books

Best Writing Books

Best Sci-Fi Books

Best Dystopian Novels

Audible: Is It Worth It?

Best Philosophy Books

Best Creativity Books

Best Business Audiobooks

Join over 15,000 writers today

Get a FREE book of writing prompts and learn how to make more money from your writing.

Powered by ConvertKit


  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.