Audible has a great selection of audiobooks, but it can be expensive. These alternatives might have more to offer you.
Audible.com is one of the most popular online portals for purchasing, downloading, and listening to audiobooks. They have a larger library than most of their competitors, allow you to listen to books that you purchase on the Audible website or your device of choice, and offer different subscription plans that help you save when you buy multiple books – and even get some free ones! However, Audible’s subscription packages are rather expensive, and the books that you buy can’t be downloaded or listened to on anything other than Audible-authorized apps.
If you’re interested in saving money, try free Audible alternatives like Overdrive.com, or the volunteer-run LibriVox.org. If you’re just looking for audiobook stores that offer less expensive subscription rates, then we would recommend AudiobooksNow.com or Downpour.com.
If you need more information, in this article, we’ll help answer all of your questions, by telling you about these things:
- Top 8 sites like Audible
- Services like Audible comparison table: cost, platforms, and more
- How do audiobooks work and how do you get them?
- Can I return an audiobook?
- Other helpful resources for finding great books online
Whether you’re just looking for free audiobooks or would like to pay a little bit less for today’s hottest titles, here are eight Audible competitors.
Top 8 sites like Audible
An Audible competitor from Canada, Audiobooks.com has a very similar structure. It requires you to sign up for a $15-per-month subscription, but once you do, you get one free book per month. After that, you can buy extra book credits at any time (unlike on Audible), and get any other books that you want for reduced prices.
2. Audiobooks Now
AudiobooksNow.com is very similar to Audible, but its major departure point is in its pricing structure. Whereas Audible’s lowest membership fee is $15 per month, the lowest membership fee for Audiobooks Now is $5 per month. In addition, Audiobooks Now offers up to 40% off of the regular price of its audiobooks with a membership fee, in contrast to Audible’s 30% off. However, you get fewer free books with an Audiobooks Now membership (but still get 50% off the first book that you buy each month. Audiobooks Now only has about 60,000 audiobooks for sale, as opposed to Audible’s 150,000.
Downpour.com works a little bit differently than some of the other alternatives to Audible here, in that it allows you to both purchase and rent audiobooks, depending on your needs. It is also a bit less expensive than Audible, with its membership fee costing $13 a month as opposed to $15 per month for Audible (though Downpour has no other options) and getting you one free book a month. Downpour also allows you to listen to any books that you purchase on any software that can play them, as opposed to having to use Audible-exclusive players for books purchased from Audible.
Playster.com is a unique Audible alternative in that it doesn’t follow a “buy, or subscribe to save” pricing model. Instead, you are required to sign up for a membership in order to use it, and its cost is almost twice as much as Audible per month. However, Playster operates on an “all-you-can-stream” system, so with your membership, you can watch as many movies, listen to as many audiobooks or music tracks, or play as many video games as are available in Playster’s library. You can also choose to only have access to one type of media in order to cut costs a bit, but Playster is still kind of expensive.
Overdrive.com is a free alternative to Audible that can be accessed with a valid student ID or a library card. Like Playster, it offers rental downloads of e-books, audiobooks, movies, music, and more that can be enjoyed on your desktop computer or your mobile device. However, you are limited to the selection that your local library has in stock, and the item that you download will stop working once your rental period is up.
If you’d like to know more about how Overdrive works, check out our Overdrive course.
LibriVox.org, like OverDrive, is a completely free place to download audiobooks. However, unlike OverDrive, there are no strings attached to listening to what you want to hear. All books on LibriVox are considered to be public domain works, so they’re read by ordinary people like you and distributed to the public for free, for anyone to download. If you think you have a good voice for reading books, you can even volunteer to help expand LibriVox’s collection!
Now owned by Japanese e-commerce group Rakuten, Kobo is a spin-off from Canadian book company Indigo. Instead of selling audiobooks, though, it sells a similar product called “e-books.” These are electronic books that you can read using special applications or devices (which Kobo provides or sells), similar to how you would listen to audiobooks from Audible.
Alibris.com is less of a bookstore than it is a book exchange. It runs by having independent sellers use the website to sell physical copies of books, movies, and music. This can even include rare copies of media that have gone out of production. You might even want to join as a seller yourself, if you have collectible books, movies, or music to pawn off!
Services like Audible comparison table: cost, platforms, and more
|Gift plans to give audiobooks to others|
|Subscription plan gets you up to 50% off the price of audiobooks|
|Digital rentals available for a reduced rate|
|$14.95/month for unlimited streaming||You can bundle books, audiobooks, music, movies, and games for only $34.95/month|
|A large catalogue of educational titles are also available|
|Free||Will always be free because its content is curated by volunteers|
|Student discounts available as well|
|Books: $1+||Physical books||Prices are unbelievably low because you can buy previously-listened-to books|
How do audiobooks work and how do you get them?
Audiobooks are digital recordings of a book, read by someone, so you can listen to the words of the book rather than needing to read them. They are available on various platforms, usually so you can take them with you on mobile devices, listen on your computer, or even on devices like the Amazon Echo.
When you sign up for an Audiobook service, you can typically download audiobooks to save to your other devices, or save them to your account and access them through the service’s website or apps when you want to listen to them. As you listen you can save your place to access it again later, choose where you want to listen from, and even take notes while you listen!
Can I return an audiobook?
In some cases, depending on which service you use, you can return an audiobook. However, you cannot simply listen to a book and then return it like a library. If you paid for an audiobook, you can return it if there is an issue with it, such as the track skipping or the audio quality being poor. In general, returns of audiobooks are made on the “honor system,” so if you request your money back 3 times or more, they may no longer accept returns from you.
Other helpful resources for finding great books online
These articles can help you get rid of your Audible account if it’s costing you too much money, and how to find other great books online.
- How to Cancel Audible – or How to Threaten It to Get Free Credits – This tutorial will show you how to cancel your Audible account, and how to get some free credits before you cancel.
- How to Borrow from Hoopla – This article teaches you how to borrow audiobooks from Hoopla if you’re interested in a long-term subscription.
- Best Amazon Alternatives to Buy Books Online – These online sites can help you buy cheap books online if you’re still interested in reading some.