The Best Audiobook Apps to have on your Phone in 2023

If you have been to Lovely Audiobooks before, you might have seen my reviews and comparisons of the most popular audiobook services. Below you will find my favorites rounded up, and we will find out which one is really the best audiobook app in 2023!

Okay, I might have been overly excited there. All of us book lovers are different in our reading preferences. Be it the number of audiobooks we go through per month or the genres we enjoy. I may have to let you down before we even get into the details here, but I can’t give you the one and only best audiobook app. I just don’t believe that can exist!

But I will try to help you find the best audiobook app FOR YOU! For the way you listen, with the books you enjoy, and that best matches your monthly book budget.

**The marked links and book covers on this page are affiliate links. If you use them to purchase something, I earn a fee at no additional cost for you. Disclosure**

Below is an at-a-glance overview of free audiobook apps and apps requiring a subscription. There are, however, more nuances between the services. If you want more in-depth info, e.g., on the catalog of audiobooks a service offers, you can read more in the blog posts I have linked below each app.

By the way, all of the audiobook apps discussed here offer basic features like saving your current position, variable playback speed or narration speed, sleep timer, offline listening, and bookmarks.

This is stuff we just can’t do without, so I expect that from any audiobook player that wants to compete for the title of the best audiobooks app!

🎧 IF YOU ARE IN A HURRY, I recommend you grab a free trial for this popular audiobook subscription**!
It’s a great Audible alternative that offers a ton of listening for a flat monthly fee, and you can find all audiobooks directly in the app.

How do Audiobook Apps work?

This is important, so I want to address this first before we look at the best audiobook apps. You will not find a dedicated mobile app that is an audiobook service all by itself!

This is partly due to the terms of service of both the Apple app store and Google Play store. Both take a cut of each in-app purchase for all apps downloaded through their platforms.

So, audiobook services don’t like to sell audiobooks through their apps because they would have to pay a percentage of their earnings. Audible for iPhone has never offered in-app purchases, and Audible for Android removed this feature in 2022 as well.

Audiobook services mainly do their business on their own website, while you use their app only as an audiobook player.

So, what you can expect from audiobook apps is a system as you would find with Amazon Kindle ebooks or Netflix. You buy items or a subscription in a browser on your mobile device or laptop, then get to the content through the audiobooks app.

Screenshot of the Audible app audiobook player
Audible app audiobook player


Audible** is the biggest and most well-known audiobook subscription. They have been around for a long time and are part of Amazon. So they can afford to offer their members benefits that other audiobook apps can’t give you.

If you have a standard Audible membership plan, you can choose one premium audiobook a month from their entire catalog that is yours to keep, even if you cancel. You can also borrow as many audiobooks as you like from their limited Audible Plus catalog, which includes Audible Originals and Audible Studios productions.

You can also use the Audible app for audiobooks you borrow on Amazon through Kindle Unlimited or buy as an Amazon Whispersync deal which is a discounted offer to add the narration to an ebook.

  • Works with or without a membership
  • Premium membership offers one credit per month for any audiobook from their entire catalog
  • Can be used with free Kindle Unlimited audiobooks
  • Can be used as a free app with Audible audiobook review codes
  • Regular sales events (require active subscription)
  • Amazon Whispersync deals (audiobooks from $1.99, doesn’t require membership)
  • Unlimited access to Audible Originals through the Plus catalog (included for free in a Premium membership)
  • Easy returns/exchange (but see Cons below)
  • 🎧 30 Day Free Trial** (Keep the Premium audiobook)
Screenshot of the Audible app Home screen
Audible app Home screen
  • Amazon company has a lot of leverage over audiobook creators, royalty payments are low
  • Audible returns policy has big drawbacks
  • App unstable on Amazon Fire tablet
  • Audible Plus catalog doesn’t include traditionally published books like Book Club picks

Free app
Subscription not necessary to use the app. Membership plans start at $7.95/month (cancel anytime)
🎧 30 Day Free Trial**

Read more: How to get more out of your Audible membership

Screenshot of the Audiobooks com player player** uses a monthly credits model like Audible Premium Plus. But with the monthly credit, you can either buy one audiobook from their entire catalog or buy unlimited access to one of their Audiobook Clubs, which then offers “listen as much as you like” from a curated catalog. can’t quite keep up with the membership benefits of Audible, but the Audiobook Clubs are an interesting and unique offer. They also have fantastic sales and deals as well as a large selection of entirely free audiobooks that are open to non-members! was acquired by Storytel in 2022, which is a popular audiobook subscription in the EU.

  • Works with or without a membership
  • Regular sales and deals (don’t require membership)
  • Big selection of entirely free audiobooks, accessible to anyone with a free account
  • Unlimited audiobooks from Audiobook Clubs catalog (with membership, uses up your credit)
  • Audiobook Clubs include bestsellers and traditionally published books (higher quality but smaller selection than Audible Plus)
  • 🎧 30 Day Free Trial** (Keep the audiobook you pick)
Screenshot of free audiobook catalog
Overview of the free audiobooks catalog in the app
  • No returns or exchanges possible
  • Joining an Audiobook Club to borrow audiobooks uses up your monthly credit
  • Audiobook Club catalogs are very limited, always check them before signing up!

Free app
Subscription not necessary. Membership plan is $14.95/month (cancel anytime)
🎧 30 Day Free Trial**

Read more: Audiobooks Com vs Audible

Screenshot of the LibroFM app audiobook player
LibroFM app audiobook player


LibroFM** is an audiobook storefront for indie bookshops. You can even choose your local bookstore and support them directly with your audiobook purchases!

They are the biggest audiobook service that offers DRM-free versions of new and bestselling audiobooks. That means you can download audio files as MP3s and save them forever. They are truly yours!

A LibroFM subscription costs as much as Audible’s standard plan. On one hand, they offer fewer perks. On the other hand, you actually own the audiobook as an MP3, which is a big deal for many listeners! DRM becomes an issue whenever something happens to your account, or the company closes the service. Then you lose access to all the books you “bought”.

With LibroFM’s audiobooks, you can be sure that they’ll be yours forever, no matter what happens!

  • Supports indie bookstores
  • Membership model like Audible and with a monthly audiobook credit
  • Very cheap deals through LibroFM Audiobook Clubs from $3.99 (doesn’t require membership)
  • Returns possible
  • DRM-free audiobooks (you can download audiobooks and save them as MP3s to be played in any app or device of your choice)
  • DRM-free also means you really own the audiobooks you have downloaded!
  • Well-designed, stable app
  • Great Library layout
  • 🎧 Get 2 credits in your first month with code CHOOSEINDIE** (Keep both audiobooks you pick)
Screenshot of the LibroFM app audiobook library
LibroFM app library
  • Only available in the United States and Canada
  • No additional membership perks

Free app
Subscription not necessary. Membership plan is $14.95/month (cancel anytime)
🎧 Get 2 credits in your first month with code CHOOSEINDIE**

Read more: LibroFM vs Audible

Screenshot of the Scribd audiobook player
Scribd app audiobook player


Scribd** is a monthly subscription with a flat fee. It lets you borrow audio and ebooks, similar to Kindle Unlimited, and they even have sheet music and comic books. Unlike Amazon’s subscription, it is not entirely unlimited.

It does, however, include access to many of the newest bestsellers, traditionally published audiobooks, and BookTok / TikTok favorites!

Members might be throttled after downloading a certain number of popular audiobooks, and their choices will be limited for the rest of the billing period. You do keep access to some audiobooks for the entire month, though!

Despite this drawback, it’s one of my favorite and most used subscriptions (I listen to a total of around 250 audiobooks every year).

I find it the best audiobook app for anyone who is happy to borrow audiobooks since their catalog is great, and you get a lot of listening for your money.

Scribd is a favorite of many Lovely Audiobooks readers because you can find so many fantastic audiobooks here that you would have to spend a credit on elsewhere!

This app requires a subscription, but it is one of the cheaper ones, especially considering the high number of books you can listen to.

  • Great alternative to Hoopla if you don’t have a library card or run out of Hoopla downloads
  • Includes bestsellers and traditionally published audiobooks
  • Scribd Originals with exclusive audiobooks from popular authors
  • 🎧 30 Day Free Trial**
Screenshot of the Scribd app Saved tab
Scribd app Saved tab with your books and audiobooks
  • App is not always stable
  • Not transparent how many or which titles can be borrowed per billing period

Free app
Subscription necessary, price: $11.99/month (cancel anytime)
🎧 30 Day Free Trial**

Read more: Scribd vs Audible

Screenshot of the Hoopla audiobook player


Hoopla is the best audiobook app for libraries! If you have a library card from a participating library, you can download free audiobooks through this app.

You might also be eligible for a library card from several public libraries in your state or out-of-state that offer Hoopla access. That is definitely something worth checking out!

  • Free with a library card
  • Includes bestsellers and traditionally published audiobooks
  • No wait time
  • Very stable, intuitive app
  • You can browse and borrow books directly in the app
Screenshot of the Hoopla audiobook app homescreen
Hoopla audiobooks app home screen
  • Limited number of downloads (usually around 10, depending on the library)
  • Requires a library card from a participating library (out-of-state or international library cards might be quite costly)

Free app
Library card required

Screenshot of the Chirp audiobooks player
Chirp app audiobook player


Chirp** is the audiobook store of the well-known author-promotion website Bookbub. Authors can offer their audiobooks at a highly discounted price here, and you don’t need to pay a monthly fee. There is no subscription!

Instead, you can pick as few or as many of the cheap audiobooks as you like.

Chirp is a wonderful addition to other services for anyone who listens to a lot of audiobooks every month. You can quickly build a big library here without having to spend much.

I also highly recommend the Chirp gift cards because the recipient can buy several audiobooks with these as opposed to gift cards from Audible that only give a credit that can be exchanged for only one audiobook.

Screenshot of the Chirp app Library
Chirp app Library
  • The number of available audiobooks in deals is always limited
  • Limited time on deals, easy to miss out
  • Only available in the United States

Free app

Related article: Is Chirp audiobooks worth it?


LibriVox is a project of volunteers who record books that are in the public domain. It is a great choice to listen to Classics for free! And since it really is entirely free, it’s one of the best audiobook app options.

  • Free audio books
  • Huge selection of Classics
  • DRM-free audiobooks in the public domain
  • Download the audio files
  • No professional productions
  • Only Classics, no recent books

Free app

Screenshot of Smart Audiobook Player
Smart Audiobook Player

Smart Audiobook Player

Smart Audiobook Player is the only app on this list that doesn’t offer content. This is purely an audiobook player for audiobooks you own as MP3s. But it is fantastic at it!

I love their sleep timer function. It’s a unique feature I have never seen in any other audiobook app. You set a time after which the player turns off, but if your device notices movement, the timer resets.

So, if you are still awake and want to continue listening, just give your phone a little shake. No need to look at the screen and reset the sleep timer manually!

Smart Audiobook Player is a great choice and, for me, the best audiobook app to play audiobooks you converted from CDs (if that is legal in your country), or LibroFM or LibriVox audio files.

  • Stable app to play MP3 audiobooks
  • Unique sleep timer that resets when your device detects movement
  • A pure audiobook player app
  • The only paid app on this list
  • Setting up the library can be confusing

App price: $1.99 (after 30 day free trial)

Other Audiobook Apps to Try

If you’re looking for other audiobook apps to try, Kobo Books is a good option. They have a lot of great offers to buy audiobooks cheaper than on Audible.

You can buy audiobooks from their store without a subscription and listen to them in the Kobo app, which is available in the Google Play Store and for iOS devices.

If you like the idea of DRM-free audiobooks but don’t want to listen only to Classics through LibriVox and find LibroFM too expensive, you can take a look at DownPour. They offer a variety of buying and borrowing options!

Also, whichever app your local library offers is a must-have, even if it’s not Hoopla digital! There are several different platforms public libraries can join to give you access to digital audiobooks and ebooks, for example, Overdrive Libby, Axis 360, and more.

Whatever your library has, it’s worth checking out! Ask your librarian.

So, what is the Best Audiobook App?

Okay, if you put me on the spot, I would say that Audible is probably the best audiobook app for iPhone and Android devices alike because it is so versatile.

Most audiobook listeners will be able to find something here. You can use it with or without a subscription, to borrow audiobooks, or for cheap deals without a subscription. The app is very stable and reliable, and the audiobook catalog is fantastic.

So, all things considered, I do believe that everyone who listens to a lot of audiobooks gets something out of having the Audible app installed.

That being said, it isn’t the only option, and you might find that you use another audiobook app just as much, if not more!

Personally, I use LibroFM, Scribd, and Smart Audiobook Player a lot, and I probably listen to more audiobooks on each of these than on Audible.

A lot of audiobook fans I talk to use Hoopla and Scribd exclusively!

If you are still new to audiobooks and enjoy Classics, you should give LibriVox a try since it’s completely free. And if you have a library card or can get one from a participating library, Hoopla is a must-have and the best free audiobook app you can get!

Even though there isn’t a clear-cut answer, I hope I could help you find the best audiobook app for you.

If you are looking for even more info, you can also check out my comparison of the best Audible alternatives.

Happy listening!

Audiobook Subscriptions / , ,

15 thoughts on “The Best Audiobook Apps to have on your Phone in 2023”

  1. It’s never occurred to me to look for apps other than audible, but some of these sound really interesting! Thanks for providing a run-down like this.

    1. So glad you find it useful! Yeah, there is really so much more out there than just Audible. Audible is kind of the jack of all trades, but if you like (or dislike) specific things, another audiobook app might be much better suited. E.g. for people who hate subscriptions, Chirp is absolutely perfect since they are specifically tailored to only buying cheap audiobooks. If you want DRM-free audiobooks, for example, to listen on an MP3 player, LibroFM is the perfect solution. If you listen to a lot of audiobooks but money is tight, Hoopla (if you have a library card) and/or Scribd are wonderful, since they have such a great selection of both indie and traditionally published audiobooks, including bestsellers and book club favorites.

  2. You forgot OverDrive
    It’s also a requires a library card but the cool thing is, you can add multiple cards because each library has different audiobook selections. I have some from OH, TX, NH, FL, etc. OH has the best audio selections. I love Overdrive. You can also DL ebooks, and magazines too. Much like Hoopla.

    1. Thank you for your comment! Many people seem to prefer Hoopla and think it’s the better audiobook app than Overdrive. But it’s not available with every library. It’s great to hear that Overdrive is working well for you 🙂

      1. When you search in your initial library, it will show you where it is, if not in their library. You go to that library and they give you the option to take out a library card. Sometimes you need to live in the state. Often they want your current library card. Your library will also send you to Universities where you can check out. Or they recommend other search sites that are global. You usually are limited on checkout time unless no wait list. Some of these search site are very large searchers that you, and it searches all over sometimes other countries, really amazing. If book all checked out you can go on wait list, they move fast, even it really long, people drop out.

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