You came here looking for Audible alternatives, so you already know what Audible is and why it is useful. In case you don’t already know, Audible is owned by eCommerce behemoth, Amazon, and is one the biggest audiobooks platform in the world. Before we look at the 8 Audible alternatives that are good or better, I will quickly summarize what Audible has to offer for the price tag.
The most popular Audible subscription (Gold plan) cost $15/month for 1-credit/month. The 1 credit you get each month can be used to buy any 1 Audiobook. You also get membership benefits like 30% discounts on every audiobook. But even then, Audible is an expensive service, especially if you are from a developing country where purchasing parity is low compared to the west.
Audible alternatives that are cheaper
1. Audiobooks Now
Audiobooks is a strong audible alternative, with a collection of more than 85000 titles (Audible has more than 200,000 audiobooks) and have apps available for both iOS and Android platform. Another notable feature is that not all books are DRM protected, like in case of Audible.
Audible use DRM (digital rights management) to make sure that audiobooks brought through its service are only played through its official app.
Pricing: Audiobooks Now offer Club Pricing Plan for $4.99, which gives you 50% off your first audiobook each month and 35-40% off everything else. Membership is priced at $4.99 which is quite low when compared to Audible.
For the sake of comparison, the book ‘Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill’ is available on Audible for either 1 credit or $15. On Audiobook now, the same book is sold for $9.97 after you pay $4.99 for club pricing plan. Overall, the pricing is somewhat same on both Audible and Audiobooks now, if you buy one book per month.
However, if you add another book to the list (say Mastery by Robert Greene) then it’s going to cost $17 extra on Audible and just $12 extra on Audiobooks now. Meaning, Audiobooks now gets cheaper as you buy more books.
Bottomline: I liked the membership plan. The entry barrier is low and not all audiobooks are DRM protected. It works on a number of devices and browsers and features a collection of free titles as well.
2. Nook Audiobooks
Barnes and Nobles have long been a competitor of Kindle and to counter Audible, B&N designed Nook Audiobooks. Nook Audiobooks comes with a collection of over 60,000 titles available on all major platforms. There is no monthly subscription plan and you will have to pay for what you read. If you are not a prolific reader, Nook Audiobooks may suit you better. The UI is smooth and clean as you would expect from a company like B&N.
Pricing: Think and Grow Rich is available for $16.49 which is higher than Audiobooks Now and Audible in general.
Bottomline: When I visited the Play Store to try the app on my OnePlus 2, I found the app was incompatible! Nook Audiobooks has no membership but offers a pay-as-you-go model which is good if you read occasionally.
Downpour is popular among the fans for providing DRM free content, but that is not the only reason why Downpour made the Audible alternatives list. Downpour offers Audiobook rentals meaning you don’t own the Audiobook for the life time like you did with Audible, instead you just rent an Audiobook like you would rent a movie. This will also allow you to free space on your smartphone as you can “return” the Audiobook and download another one.
Pricing: Rental periods vary from Audiobook to Audiobook and can be anywhere between 30-60 days. Downpour claims that you will be able to save up to 70% on the retail price. The membership has been priced at $12.99.
Think and Grow Rich’s rental price is not mentioned but I dug a little and found that most books are available to rent between $2.95-$9.95.
Bottomline: I liked downpour for its rental feature which makes it an ideal choice for those who don’t repeat their audiobook after they done listening once.
Scribd is one of the best Audible alternatives out there. In fact, I feel it is better than Audible. Sure Amazon has a team of editors and directors in its studio, but so does Scribd. You will find a collection of 150,000 ebooks plus audiobooks, newspapers, magazines, and articles on the platform.
Pricing: Membership plan, priced at $8.99, gets you everything mentioned above plus every month, as a member, you get 3 book credits and 1 Audiobook credit. Why credits? Because audiobooks and some premium ebooks are not included in the plan. This brings Scribd on par with other services, but at a much lower rate. You also get access to renowned magazines and newspapers like Times, NYT, WSJ, and more.
Think and Grow Rich is available for free as you get 1 monthly credit free. You just have to subscribe.
Bottomline: I liked Scribd for its low price, extensive library, and additional media content like news, blogs, and magazines. Scribd is a true Audible alternative.
Audiobooks is a Canadian company that runs on a credit system, just like Audible.
Price: You pay $15 per month to receive 1 credit that will allow you to listen to one audiobook per month from a library of over 100,000 titles. You can buy additional credits if need be. Needless to say, this is expensive when compared with services like Scribd.
Think and Grow Rich will cost you $15 because 1 credit equals one book which makes it expensive, like Audible.
Bottomline: While the library is good enough, it is expensive when compared to other Audible alternatives due to the credit system.
Playster offers a lot of different types of media like audiobooks, movies, music, and ebooks. There is no limit to the number of audiobooks you can listen to, but when you cancel the membership, you no longer own the books. The collection is rather small when compared with others reviewed above, but it doesn’t run on a credit system. If you are a prolific audiobook listener then Playster will prove to be a cheaper option.
Price: There are different plans available based on what you are looking for. An all-access plan will cost you $24.99 and will include everything they have to offer. If you want only audiobooks, it will set you back by $14.99 which is the same as Audible.
There is no additional cost except for what you pay on a monthly basis
Bottomline: I liked Playster for the different types of media content they have to offer, and their all-access plan is a deal I would recommend you to consider.
LibriVox is a free public domain audiobook platform where you will find classics such as Sherlock Holmes. While LibriVox will never carry new titles from the current generation of authors, it is nonetheless a good option if you are into classics.
Price: All books are free
Bottomline: I liked LibriVox for its great collection of classics which are available for free.
8. Simply Audiobooks
Simply Audiobooks works on good old fashion renting model. Unlike buying a digital copy of the audiobook, Simply Audiobook will mail you an audiobook CD which you listen to and then mail back (free shipping both sides). Upon receipt, they will send you your next audiobook.
The key here is, this service charges flat monthly rates(plans start at $19.98 per month) and offers unlimited rentals. Meaning if you are able to read 1 book per week and mail it back to them, you can listen up to 4 books in a month for just $20. Bringing down the average cost of a book to $5. Of course, there is no late fees or anything.
The site seems fairly new and although they don’t mention the exact number of audiobooks they have in their library, I was able to find Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance there, but other books like Mastery by Robert Greene was missing.
Price: As of now, Simply Audiobook offers 3 pricing structure. For $19.98, you can read one book at a time, $29.98 gets you 2 book, and for $39.98 you get 3 books.
Bottom Line: Simply Audiobooks uses old-school Netflix model, which might not work for everyone and obviously not available in each part of the world. But if it works for you, you might be able to save quite a lot of cash on audiobooks.
Tales2go is differentiating itself from the crowd by focusing on K12 schools. Their mission is to help students learn spoken words. Their choice of weapon is of course audiobooks. With more than 7000 audiobooks in their library, Tales2go is helping teachers and parents teach their kids how to read and speak words properly.
They are actively working with district schools to help students learn the art of listening, reading, and pronunciation. They have developed special tools for vocabulary and comprehension.
Price: They have different pricing plans based on whether you are a school, library, classroom or an individual. You can find more details on this page.
Bottom Line: I like Tales2go because they are helping students, teachers, parents, and educators teach the next generation the vital art of communication bridging the gap in the education system.
eStories is another audiobook service provider with several popular titles like George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and The Whitler by John Grisham.
eStories claims to feature more than 120,000 audiobook titles in their library featuring some of the most popular and recent books as I shared above. While the price is slightly on the higher side, you may consider it if you are looking for a title that is not available on other platforms. You get 30 days to return a book and some extra credits upon joining.
Price: They have 3 different plans starting from $9.99 that offers you 1 book per month with 5 connected devices. The credits can be rolled over for up to 6 months. They have a promotion running where you get the first 3 months for $5.99.
Bottom Line: They have a good collection but the price is a bit higher than the competition. It all comes down to the title you are looking for.
Wrapping Up: Paid Audible Alternatives
While Audible is one of the best audiobook platforms available, I liked Scribd better simply because it offers more for less. The collection of audiobooks matches Audible, and it offers other forms of content like eBooks, magazines, and news as well. While other alternatives are good, Scribd’s pricing makes it a clear winner. If you have deeper pockets, Audible is still the best.
I liked Downpour for its large library and rent model which allows me to move slowly and listen to audiobooks at my own pace without having to think about monthly renewals.
I like Tales2go because they are the best resource when it comes to the education sector. A must have if your kid goes to K12 school.
LibriVox is the only free Audible alternative I reviewed because I found it to be the best.
Which one do you use and why?