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Previously Emma shared her experience on the debate of listening to audio books vs reading books, and perhaps you came out of that thinking “yep, audio is definitely the way forward for me, but what is the best audio books app available for me to get going?”
We have reviewed apps to share with you in the hope that we can help answer that question for you.
Audio book apps are brilliant as it means that you can literally have any book on hand whereever you go! Gone are the days of having to choose between some of the books that you are excited to get reading because you can’t physcially take that many with you. It also means you are hands free, resulting in you being able to listen on the go or while working out for example.
The best audiobook apps for your iPhone or Android device range from full-featured players to more humble affairs that still bring you the classics of world literature in audiobook form. We will cover those that supports both devices.
So let’s take a look!
We will get started with the one that we find ourselves using the most often and really like.
You can trial it for 30 days first
You own the book
Subscription: £7.99 per month (after 30 days)
Our Rating: 9/10
We love that you can trial audible before you commit to anything for 30 days. After this your subscription is £7.99 per month. This provides you with 1 credit each month, of which you can usually purchase one book. If you would like to purchase further books they can work out really quite pricey unless you do it by purchasing extra credits, this is definitely what we would recommend. They do offer exclusive deals though throughout the month with up to 80% off selected audio books. However, they do offer different membership options, so if you find yourself regularly reading more than the 1 book included in your membership you can always upgrade to another plan. Once you have purchased the books the beauty is that your books are yours to keep even if you cancel, and if you don’t love a book that you’ve downloaded for any reason then you can swap it. We also love that you can literally take this anywhere, once the book is downloaded you don’t need to be online. The Audible app can be downloaded on iOS, Android, and Windows, and you can also download and listen on compatible Fire tablets, Kindles, Sonos devices, and more. Use an Amazon Alexa? You can even have your books read through an Echo, Echo Dot or Tap. You can also listen on various devices, and keep your place in your book whilst switching device.
The down-side of Audible that we have experienced is that you can’t download a book via the app. You have to go to the website to do this and then it will become available in your library in your app. This always feel a bit of a faff when getting a new book, but it hasn’t been enough to stop us using Audible, so we are guessing it can’t be that bad.
Key features: Rated 4.5 stars on Trustpilot
Over 4 million e-books
Trial it for 30 days
Subscription: £6.99 per month (after 30 days)
Our Rating: 8/10
You can listen to audiobooks with the free Kobo app on smartphones or tablets running Android version 4.4 or higher or iOS version 9.0 or higher. Like Audible you can also trial Kobo for 30 days, and after this it is £6.99 per month which gives you 1 credit. Should you choose to cancel, the books that you’ve purchased are yours to keep. But what we love is if you cancel your subscription, any unused credits stay active for 6 months for you to still be able to use. The feature that we find annoying about Audible with not being able to download books via the app and needing to go to the website also applies with Kobo, but this is only for iOS users due to an agreement between Kobo and Apple. You can adjust the listening speed, and set a sleep timer utilising the app. A feature that they have on the website that we love is that they list audiobooks for every mood: You can browse through their lists of popular recommendations such as audio books for driving, or for running, or audio books that will change your life. Kobo operates a Superpoints program, whereby every time you buy an ebook or audiobook you earn points which you can redeem for rewards from a catalogue of over 1.5 million titles. You can upgrade to a VIP membership that enables you to collect more points per purchase, take advantage of extra savings and exclusive offers for £6 per year.
Key features: Over 150,000 books
2 books every month (1 premium and 1 VIP)
Subscription: £7.99 per month
Our Rating: 6/10
Upon joining Audiobooks.com free trial you can choose your first book from the library of over 150,000 premium titles PLUS your choice of 2 books from their VIP selection. In addition to your monthly credit, you (including those in their free trial!) enjoy the benefits of their VIP Rewards program. This allows you to choose from an exclusive selection of books to download for FREE, every month. Once your subscription starts you will have access to 1 book from the preimium titles plus 1 VIP title. To further enhance your listening experience you have access to over 700,000 podcasts on Android and Apple devices. You can start a book on your smartphone, pick up where you left off on your laptop and even fall asleep while listening on your tablet and you’ll never lose your place.
Key features: 50% off your first audio book each month
Trial for free for 30 days
Over 120,000 titles
No subscription needed
Subscription: $4.99 per month (after 30 day)
Our Rating: 5/10
Audiobooksnow do not operate on a credit system, their pricing plan gives you 50% off your first audiobook each month and 35-40% off everything else. However, you do not need to be a Club member to purchase audiobooks, but if you listen to two or more audiobooks a month then the Club Pricing Plan will save you a lot of money. If you listen to audiobooks occasionally then you can purchase at their everyday sale price, no plan required, so this is a great one if you are an occasional reader who would like access to books as and when you feel like it. The app comes with bookmarking and playback controls, incoming call auto-pause and resume, and multi-device syncing
Key Features: No Subscription necessary
A substantial saving on books
Our Rating: 4/10
This is so simple to use, you create your free account and then choose from different titles for $1.99 to $4.99, which is a substantial saving from their regular price. This is almost like a discount site for audio books. They do not seem to have as much variety in their content, and fictional books seem to be favoured but there are all types of genres available. All of the books you purchase are yours to keep. Chirp offers limited-time deals on selected audio books which can be accessed via the website or personalised emails
So as you can see, there are various options depending on what you’d like to get from an audio book app. If you’re not a regular reader then there’s alot to be said for the low/no subscription options. That said, with the variety of content and the ease of use, the slightly more expensive ones may well pay off. The beauty is that you can give it a go for free for 30 days and then make your decision.
We hope that has been of some use to you and would love to hear any feedback you have on any of the apps mentioned or even some that you may be using that we have discussed.