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What are the Best Audiobook Apps in 2022?

If you have been to Lovely Audiobooks before, you might have seen my reviews and comparisons of the most popular audiobook services. And now it’s time to round them all up and find out which one is really the best audiobook app!

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 go 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.

This 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 / narration speed, sleep timer, offline listening, and bookmarks. This is stuff we just can’t do without, so I expect that from every audiobook player that wants to compete for the title of the best audiobooks 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 Playe 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 every purchase to the respective platform. Audible for iPhone has never offered in-app purchases and Audible for Android has recently removed this feature.

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 like 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.

Audible

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.

Pro:

  • 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 for $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 audiobook you pick)

Con:

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

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

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Audiobooks.com

Audiobooks.com uses a monthly credits model like Audible Premium Plus and with the monthly credit, you can either buy one audiobook from their entire catalog or buy unlimited access to one of their Audiobook Clubs. Audiobooks.com can’t quite keep up with the membership benefits of Audible but the Audiobook Clubs are quite an interesting and unique offer. They also have fantastic sales and deals that are open to non-members!

Pro:

  • Works with or without a membership
  • Regular sales and deals (don’t require membership)
  • Unlimited audiobooks from Audiobook Clubs catalog (with membership, uses up your Audiobooks.com 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)

Con:

  • 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)

Read more: Audiobooks Com vs Audible

LibroFM

LibroFM is an audiobook storefront for indie book shops. You can even choose your local book store and support them directly with your audiobook purchases. They are the biggest audiobook service that offers DRM-free versions of new and bestselling audiobooks! You can download audio files as MP3s and save them forever. They are truly yours!

Pro:

  • Supports indie bookstores
  • Membership model like Audible and Audiobooks.com with a monthly audiobook credit
  • Cheap deals through LibroFM Audiobook Clubs (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
  • Get 2 credits in your first month with code CHOOSEINDIE** (Keep both audiobooks you pick)

Con:

  • 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)

Read more: LibroFM vs Audible

Scribd

Scribd is a monthly subscription with a flat fee. They offer 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 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.

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

Scribd is the best audiobook app for (almost) unlimited listening

Pro:

  • Good alternative to public libraries for international listeners who can’t get Hoopla
  • Includes bestsellers and traditionally published audiobooks
  • Scribd Originals with exclusive audiobooks from popular authors
  • 30 Day Free Trial**

Con:

  • App is not always stable
  • Not transparent how many or which titles can be borrowed in a billing month

Free app
Subscription necessary, price: $9.99/month (cancel anytime)

Read more: Scribd vs Audible

Hoopla

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 that offer Hoopla. That is definitely something worth checking out!

Pro:

  • Free with a library card
  • Includes bestsellers and traditionally published audiobooks
  • No wait time

Con:

  • Limited number of downloads
  • Requires a library card of a participating library

Free app
Library card required

Chirp

Chirp is the audiobook store of 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 Audiobooks App

Pros:

Cons:

  • 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 getting?

LibriVox

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 for me one of the best audiobook app options.

Pros:

  • Free audio books
  • Huge selection of Classics
  • DRM-free audiobooks in the public domain
  • Download the audio files

Con:

  • No professional productions
  • Only Classics, no recent books

Free app

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 very unique feature that I have never seen in any other audiobook app. YOu set a time after which the player turns off, but if your device noticed 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.

Smart Audiobook Player: The best audiobook app for MP3s

Pros:

  • Stable app to play MP3 audiobooks
  • Unique sleep timer that resets when your device detects movement
  • A pure audiobook player app

Con:

  • The only paid app on this list

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 offer digital audiobooks and ebooks, for example, Overdrive Libby, Axis 360, and more. Whatever your library has, it’s worth checking out!

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 should have 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 them than on Audible (which is partly due to having an Amazon Fire tablet, the one device where the Audible app completely fails).

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 in 2022!

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6 thoughts on “What are the Best Audiobook Apps in 2022?”

  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 🙂

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